Forget ideological purity tests — and scrap the Canada Summer Jobs Program

Ah, the summer job. Lifeguarding, camp counseling, ice cream scooping, lawn mowing — none of it funded by the taxpayer.

That was before the era of interventionist government, of course, and before the creation of federal summer job programs. Such programs have been around for decades in various incarnations, from the COSEP (Career Oriented Summer Employment Program) of the 1980s and 1990s to the Canada Summer Jobs Program today. And the goal was pretty consistent: to create jobs by providing a wage subsidy to employers willing to give a young person a temporary foot in the door.

That’s how it was until this year, when the Liberals decided to require an attestation from employers that they will abide by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The job and the employer’s core mandate must respect individual human rights, including reproductive rights and freedom from discrimination for, among others, gender-diverse and transgender Canadians.

The jobs program now supports “five national priorities”: hiring members of “underrepresented” groups, such as new immigrants or refugees, Indigenous youth, young people with disabilities or visible minorities; small businesses; and organizations that offer opportunities for official language minorities, the LGBTQ2 community, STEM and ICT careers — the latter in particular for women.

This is a far cry from the old program, which committed mainly to providing work experiences for students and supporting organizations that provide “important community services.” So why the change?

According to the government, the idea is “to prevent Government of Canada funding from flowing to organizations whose mandates or projects may not respect individual human rights, the values underlying the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and associated case law.”

“Last year,” said Employment Minister Patty Hajdu, “we heard a whole bunch of complaints from citizens across Canada and organizations about some of the organizations receiving funds that said some of the organizations receiving funds were actually working actively to undermine Canadians’ rights.

Read the full article on iPolitics.

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