In late December, the Canadian Federal Ministry for Employment and Workforce Development amended its criteria for financing the “Canada Summer Job” programme, which “allows non-profit-making organisations, small companies and public sector employers to access full-time summer recruitment grants for young people between 15 and 30 years of age”. Further to the media revelation that “pro-life” organisations had benefited from public funding through this programme, the new grant application process “requires recognition of the ‘sexual and reproductive rights of women’ and ‘access to safe and legal abortions’”. Unless “these particular boxes are ticked, the request will not even be considered”.
These new “requirements” have met “with outcry” from various Catholic organisations. The Canadian Bishops’ Conference considers this to be “an affront to freedom of conscience and religion”. It believes that the “obligation to support ‘women’s reproductive rights’ will deny grants to a host of non-profit-making organisations that provide services in the community”. A Toronto-based “pro-life” organisation, “Right to life Association of Toronto and Area“, has already brought the case before the court in order to “have the new grant allocation process introduced by Ottawa declared contrary to the Charter of Rights”.
Le Devoir, Isabelle Paré (12/01/2018)