Canada Summer Jobs: Attestation Sparks Debate Over Government Overreach

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In December 2017, the Canadian government announced changes to its Canada Summer Jobs (“CSJ”) program that sparked debate over the program’s constitutionality. CSJ is a funding subsidy designed to provide students with summer work opportunities. Under the program’s new changes, organizations applying for the funding—small businesses, non-profits, and other community organizations—were required to check a box online that attested that both their core mandate and proposed summer job respected the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms [Charter] as well as “other rights.” These “other rights” explicitly included reproductive rights. Though the government emphasized that the attestation targeted organizations’ “actions” rather than their “beliefs,” it sparked pushback among religious groups in Canada, who offered to sign alternative, narrower attestations and argued that they would otherwise be excluded from the CSJ program.


This article is written by Julia Kalinina with commentary by Professor Jamie Cameron and Professor Adam Parachin.