Barry Bussey, director of legal affairs for the Canadian Council for Christian Charities (CCCC). Photo by Deborah Gyapong

Canada Summer Jobs funds flowing again

  • May 3, 2019

OTTAWA - After a year of controversy over the requirements for Canada Summer Jobs funding, the 2019 list of grants reveal many Catholic and evangelical parishes and charities have been successful in obtaining money.

“We’re certainly pleased that most of the groups that were expecting funds have received them,” said Neil MacCarthy, the director of communications for the Archdiocese of Toronto. “It’s certainly great news for those that want to move forward with their summer program.”

Many faith-based groups did not even apply for funding last year because the CSJ program required applicants to attest that the organizations’ core mandate supported abortion.

Groups receiving summer jobs grants this year include parishes, some pregnancy help centres, the refugee office and groups running summer camps, MacCarthy said.

“We haven’t gotten any complaints yet,” said Barry Bussey, director of legal affairs for the Canadian Council of Christian Charities (CCCC).  “Some contacted to say they had received grants.”

The CCCC is going to ask its members if any have been rejected CSJ funding, and whether they received any indication why, Bussey said. “Otherwise, there is nothing as of yet that would give us reason for concern.”

But Bussey, MacCarthy and others are keeping a watchful eye.

In a Facebook post April 29, Bussey noted that while the government had removed the offending attestation for this year, “many groups such as church camps and churches were required to file further information as their (2019) application was deemed ‘incomplete.’

“Now that the government has released its list of 2019 recipients, church groups will see whether their applications were accepted. If not, it is expected that government will be called upon to explain whether the denial was because of the religious views and practices of the organizations affected,” Bussey wrote.

Employment Canada modified the attestation for the 2019 summer jobs program by shifting the emphasis from the organization’s core mandate to the project being funded. This year the applicant had to attest the program funded would not “be used to undermine or restrict the exercise of rights legally protected in Canada.”

This means groups engaged in anti-abortion advocacy would be ineligible for grants, but charities that run summer camps or help the poor would be eligible.

About 40,000 groups applied for this year’s CSJ grants, requesting funding for about 150,000 jobs, according to Employment and Social Development Canada. In 2019, more than 85,000 summer jobs will be available to youth aged 15 to 30 under the CSJ program.

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