According to the National Post, a Canadian federal judge has just ruled that though the federal government’s summer student job program violated an individual’s Charter rights that guarantee Freedom of Religion, the consequences were minimal and as a result dismissed the case.
In 2018, the Trudeau government changed the requirements for groups applying for grants under its summer student program, by requiring them to declare their support for abortion.
The change was made after complaints by pro-abortion groups.
As a result, when the organization, Right to Life Association of Toronto and Area (RLA), applied for funding in 2018, it was refused because of its refusal to support abortion.
The organization had previously received funding under the program.
As a result, Matthew Battista, the student who was unable to work for RLA in 2018 because of the lack of funding and the organization’s then president, sued the federal government stating that their religious freedom rights, guaranteed under the Charter, had been violated. They also argued that the Liberal government was compelling speech and support of its political agenda.
The loss suggests that some rights guaranteed under Canada’s Charter of Rights are less important than others.
Here are some of the freedoms guaranteed under Canada’s The Canadian Bill of Rights:
- b) The right of the individual to equality before the law and the protection of the law;
- c) Freedom of Religion;
- d) Freedom of Speech;”
After dozens of complaints, the federal government has slightly reworked the criteria under which organizations can receive funding under the program.
Groups are no longer required to declare their support for abortion, but in order to receive funding, students are not allowed to actively work on anti-abortion issues.
According to the National Post this change has still resulted in most pro-life groups not receiving funding under the program.
READ: Program that stripped summer job funding for groups opposed to abortion upheld by Federal Court