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To whom it may concern,
As your Member of Parliament, I write to bring to your attention alarming changes the Liberal government has made to a federal program used by some faith-based organizations across the Waterloo Region.
In the days leading up to Christmas, the Liberals quietly changed the rules of the Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) program requiring applicants to sign an attestation agreeing with their government’s ideological positions or be rejected for government funding. For years, the CSJ program has provided funding to assist employers, including not-for-profit organizations like religious institutions, charities, day cares, and summer camps that create summer job opportunities for full-time students. It’s a win-win situation: students benefit from valuable employment and work experience and our communities benefit from the services these organizations provide.
Beginning this year, in order to be eligible for funding through the CSJ program, an applicant is required to agree that both the job and the organization’s core mandate agree with several ideological beliefs the Liberal government holds.
This is an extremely concerning development as it represents a marked departure from previous practice whereby Canadians were free to apply for funding without fear that they will be rejected simply for holding certain convictions of conscience or religious beliefs. As a pluralistic society, Canada allows for diverse opinions and protects those who may think differently than those in positions of power. In fact, the right to freedom of belief and opinion is guaranteed by the Charter.
If your organization shares these concerns, I would encourage everyone to contact Minister Hajdu and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Their contact information is as follows:
The Honourable Patricia Hajdu
Minister of Employment
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2
If you planned to use the CSJ program this year but are unable to sign the attestation, I encourage you to submit your application anyway with a brief note explaining that in good conscience you are unable to sign the attestation. The Canadian Council of Christian Charities has examples of alternate attestations that you can include with your written application on their website; I encourage you to consult these options (though it does not guarantee your acceptance).
If you haven’t applied for the Canada Summer Jobs program in the past I encourage you to consider applying – more information about how to apply can be found on my website: www.haroldalbrechtmp.ca
Please inform my office of your application and your inability to sign the attestation by emailing Harold.Albrecht@parl.gc.ca. Over the next several weeks I will be working hard to push the Liberal government to remove this requirement. No one should be punished for holding to different convictions than the current government.
Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter. Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact my office by phone at 519-578-3777 or by email at Harold.Albrecht@parl.gc.ca