ROADBLOCKS AND THE WAY FORWARD: An Update on the Canada Summer Jobs Program

CBOQ Churches have been blessed by the Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) Program for many years.  The program has allowed many churches to provide communities with meaningful services, development and ministry. Seven churches in the Hamilton area alone have been able to support vibrant ministry through this program. Through a partnership of churches in Toronto, Dixon Ministries has worked faithfully to support low-income families and refugees, building community and helping newcomers develop their English skills. Yet another example is Talbot Creek Community Church in Brechin, Ontario. Through the CSJ program, Talbot Creek was able to host a full-day summer camp for local children.

“Not only did 65 students attend the day camp but another six students from local high schools volunteered to help. Parents were blown away that our church would provide something wholesome for their kids and everyone had the time of their lives.  Lifelong memories and friendships were created that week,” says Pastor Tim Nuttall. “Through this camp, Talbot Creek has been able to reconnect with our community and our church has experienced growth.”

For many of its campers, Talbot Creek Community Church was the first opportunity local kids had ever had to attend camp, with many of the young people coming from marginalized homes—an opportunity the church provided for free to those who needed it, thanks to the generosity of its members and the Canada Summer Jobs program.

“The church functions best when it is focused on serving others and the Canada Summer Jobs program allowed our church to do just that. One of the coolest moments this Christmas took place at our Christmas Eve service. One of the kids who attended our summer camp ran up to me and threw their arms around me…  As they went to find a seat, the mom looked back and said, ‘Thank you for giving our child a chance to go to camp.’”

We are blessed to have so many congregations in our family of churches who are dedicated to pouring in to the next generation, and we are grateful for the opportunities the CSJ program has provided.

Recently, however, the government added some requirements to the application process that have proven problematic for our churches as they prepare to apply for summer funding. Applicants must sign an attestation that says:

To be eligible, the core mandate of the organization must respect individual human rights in Canada, including the values underlying the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Charter) as well as other rights. These include reproductive rights and the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, race, national or ethnic origin, colour, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.

As published on canada.ca

This broad, mandatory attestation is required for the application to be eligible, making it difficult for our churches to apply. Our hope is that the attestation requirement will be removed and that our churches will be allowed to fully participate again in this important program.  If not, our churches will feel the loss of students serving this summer.


WHAT YOU CAN DO

We invite you to prayerfully consider how God is leading your church to respond. You can:

  • Pray
    Pray that God’s will be done in this circumstance and that wisdom and compassion will prevail. Pray also that God will provide the resources our churches need to serve their communities well, regardless of government funding.
  • Learn
    Find out more about these changes and what they mean for churches through our partner organizations, the Canadian Council of Christian Charities and the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada.
  • Apply
    Submit a paper copy application (digital copies will be automatically declined if/when you choose not to check attestation box) and make a note as to why you are not accepting the attestation.

Please note: If your application is denied based on your refusal to accept the attestation, please contact the Canadian Council for Christian charities.

We serve a great God who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. Join us in asking for the impossible and imagining infinite grace.

Our God can do anything.

 

 

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