In response to the 2018 Canada Summer Jobs Program, Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights (Action Canada) and the National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL) shared an open letter supporting changes made to the Program. A copy of the open letter can be found here.
The framework for the 2019 Canada Summer Jobs Program is now available. Like all previous programs, it includes an attestation that applicants must sign as a condition of funding. The 2019 Program requires that “any funding under the Canada Summer Jobs program will not be used to undermine or restrict the exercise of rights legally protected in Canada.” The 2019 application also clarifies that projects and job activities that: “restrict access to program, services, employment or otherwise discriminate, contrary to applicable laws, on the basis of prohibited grounds, including sex, religion, race, national or ethnic origin, colour, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or genetic characteristics; advocate intolerance, discrimination and/or prejudice; or actively work to undermine or restrict a women’s access to sexual and reproductive health services” will not be eligible for grants from the 2019 Program.
Both Action Canada and NAWL support the attestation and eligibility criteria included in the 2019 Canada Summer Jobs Program.
The 2019 Program attestation and eligibility criteria will contribute to securing greater fulfillment of human rights in Canada in accordance with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The 2019 Program criteria are fully aligned with Canada’s existing domestic and international human rights obligations, including to protect and promote fundamental rights to security of the person, equality rights, the right to be free from discrimination, and the right to access accurate, evidence-based scientific and non-judgmental health information and services.
The provisions of the 2019 Program are not discriminatory; they are equality enhancing. As we have affirmed in the past, the Canada Summer Jobs funding conditions do not infringe freedom of religion, conscience, or any other rights that people in Canada enjoy. The safeguards put in place under the Program are designed to ensure that federal grant monies are not used to fund discriminatory activities that undermine women’s rights, or the human rights of any people in Canada, including as they relate to bodily autonomy, sexuality, gender identity and expression.
Action Canada and NAWL welcome the steps taken by the federal government to ensure that the rights of all people in Canada are respected, protected and fulfilled.