Dear editor: I’m writing to set straight some of the misleading information that has been circulating recently, implying that religious or faith-based organizations are ineligible for Canada Summer Jobs funding.
Churches, religious and faith-based organizations are encouraged, welcome and eligible to apply. Contrary to what has been implied by some, applicants are not asked to provide their views, beliefs or values as these are not at all taken into consideration during the application process.
In 2017, our government heard concerns from Canadians about the Canada Summer Jobs program. We learned that taxpayer dollars were being used by groups to carry out activities that were violating the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
For instance, organizations receiving Canada Summer Jobs funding denied acceptance of LGBTQ2 young people to youth camps last year. Canada Summer Jobs funding was also used to fund student positions that were responsible for the distribution of brochures displaying graphic images of aborted fetuses.
These instances led to the creation of an attestation, which has become part of the 2018 Canada Summer Jobs application. The attestation asks groups who are applying to confirm that they are not carrying out any discriminatory activities, such as denying acceptance to an individual because of their sexuality, or distributing brochures to shame women into never choosing abortion.
I’m very proud of the opportunities being created each year in our communities in the Long Range Mountains through Canada Summer Jobs. This year, I’m even more proud to say that Newfoundland and Labrador has chosen to work toward prioritizing summer jobs for organizations serving youth with mental health challenges.
Being lost in the debate sparked by the attestation are those that are so important to our society and community: young people.
The Canada Summer Jobs program is an outstanding program, supporting our young people and the local economy. So many students in the Long Range Mountains rely on Canada Summer Jobs positions to earn money for the coming school year, to build their resumé and gain valuable work experiences.
A great deal of this valuable work experience comes from students doing such important work with faith-based groups.
Faith-based organizations are pillars in our communities, and provide tremendous value to community life. I encourage these groups, and all eligible employers, to apply for Canada Summer Jobs funding, helping to grow the local economy this summer and providing young Canadians with the experience they need to succeed in the job market.
I implore all organizations to remember the Canada Summer Jobs program’s true purpose: supporting local businesses and economies, and helping our most promising young citizens move forward on their chosen education and career path.
The deadline to apply for Canada Summer Jobs has been extended to Friday, Feb. 9. Please do apply, and create a promising opportunity for a young person in our area.
And do not hesitate to reach out to any of my constituency offices if you need help in applying.
Gudie Hutchings, Member of Parliament, Long Range Mountains