Applications are now open for employers looking to apply for federal cash to hire young workers for the summer and as Global News reported last week, groups applying will now be vetted to make sure they do not plan to use federal funds to discriminate or violate human rights in Canada.
The government is changing the rules around which employers can qualify for funding to hire students through the Canada Summer Jobs program to try and ensure that groups advocating against abortion rights or the equality of LGBTQ2 Canadians will not be able to get funding.
Federal opposition parties are demanding to know why the Liberal government created a $900-million program to help students find volunteer positions rather than putting the money into an existing summer jobs program.
The federal government says it received nearly 40,000 applications for the Canada Summer Jobs program this year. About 400 were ruled out under new rules that say the money cannot be used to undermine human rights.
Changes recently announced by the Liberal government have turned the program into a lightning rod over the debate around where the line lies in debates around freedom of expression, government overreach, and the reproductive rights of Canadian women.
Employment Minister Patty Hajdu says the decision to require that applicants to the Canada Summer Jobs program sign an attestation stating they respect the Charter, as well as LGBT and reproductive rights in Canada, came after her department received complaints from Canadians last year.
Human rights groups signed an open letter applauding the government's move to require all groups seeking funding through the Canada Summer Jobs program to sign an attestation stating they support Canadian constitutional rights as well as the right to reproductive choice.
Patty Hajdu was asked repeatedly this weekend by The West Block's Vassy Kapelos if the attestation box being added to the summer jobs application could be replicated on other applications in the future.