Many Canadians are expressing concerns about the recent changes to the Canada summer jobs application process. It is in the crucible of controversy such as this that the church can exhibit the call of salt and light. Indeed, as Preston Manning once put it, the role of Christians in the public square needs to be formed by the quest to be "wise as serpents and innocent as doves, not vicious as snakes and stupid as pigeons."
In that spirit, we have a few suggestions for those with concerns about this issue:
First of all, for a helpful orientation to the issues, and for advocacy ideas, we encourage you to connect to the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (a CRCNA partner). Here is a link to their specific page on this issue: https://www.evangelicalfellowship.ca/SummerJobsGrants
For those churches and community groups who want to apply we suggest that you carefully consider the advice of the Canadian Council of Christian Charities (CCCC - again a CRCNA partner). Essentially, the CCCC encourages those who wish to apply to attach a respectful addendum to the application. It is difficult to predict how this approach might affect an application, but it is an important step for due diligence.
We respect the CCCC's instincts on this and encourage you to consider building an addendum on their foundation:
On the basis of religious conscience, we are not prepared to express the words that the Minister has required in the Applicant’s Guide. However, we can attest that we are committed to upholding our obligations under all Canadian law, including Charter and human rights law. We believe the Minister does not have the jurisdiction under law to compel someone to make a statement or adopt a belief, especially on that conflicts with our [religious] conscience under the Charter as a condition for receipt of funding. Nor does the Minister have the right to compel speech as a condition of receiving a financial benefit from the government of Canada. We respectfully decline to make a statement that is inconsistent with our fundamental constitutionally protected personal beliefs including those about the value of life and the right to life under section 7 of the Charter, and about the freedom of religion as guaranteed in s. 2(a). Please accept our application with the above-noted statement in substitution for the statement set forth in the online application process and in the Applicant’s Guide.
And lastly for some helpful further reading on this topic please see this excellent column by John Milloy.