Canadian employers are no longer required to recognize women’s sexual and reproductive rights and access to abortion. This condition for benefiting from subsidies for hiring youth for summer jobs, created last year, caused an outcry from religious organisations, as well as from pro-choice groups who criticised the wording (see Canada: to benefit from summer job grants, “sexual and reproductive rights” must be recognised).
The Summer Jobs Canada programme provides annual, case-based funding to small businesses and non-profit associations to hire youth between the ages of 15 and 30. In 2018, in an attempt to remove anti-abortion associations from the programme, the Canadian government required employers to “promise that both the job and the organization’s core mandate respect constitutional rights, individual human rights and reproductive rights”. The objective had been largely achieved, with 62 of the 63 pro-life associations targeted deprived of subsidies.
However, for the summer of 2019, some changes have been made. They were presented to MPs yesterday: the new text only requires that the funds “will not be used to undermine or restrict the exercise of rights legally protected in Canada”. Canadian Labour Minister Patty Hajdu explained: “…[Faith groups] felt that it was targeting their values and beliefs, not the jobs and performance of students in particular roles, and we took that to heart.