A Christian University lawyer who won the court challenge of the Summer Jobs program raises the issue of “concerns for everyone”



A lawyer representing Christian University in a lawsuit over Ottawa’s student recruitment program said everyone should be worried if government funding is conditional on adherence to state-imposed ideas.

Albertos Polyzogopros, a lawyer at Redeemer University based in Hamilton, told The Epoch Times: “Whether the government can decide what people believe, what beliefs are right, and which beliefs are not. About. “

“That’s something everyone should worry about.”

On June 29, Federal Court Judge Richard Mosley’s belief that Redeemer University applied for the Canadian Summer Jobs (CSJ) program in 2019 becomes a discriminatory practice.

The CSJ Program, run by the Canadian Ministry of Employment and Social Development (ESDC), provides wage subsidies to charities, nonprofits and small businesses to help young Canadians between the ages of 15 and 30 gain work experience. Create a summer job in Canada. Transition to the labor market.

Polizogopoulos said that when Redeemer applied for the 2019 CSJ program, he submitted evidence of a non-discriminatory workplace and a 35-page non-discrimination policy, but refused to fund it. The government “never gave the redeemer the opportunity to respond, alleviate concerns, or explain their position,” he said.

Judge Mosley said in his ruling that the Redeemer said, “Sexual ethical reformed Christ that sexual activity is only permitted in the context of exclusive and lifelong marital union between men and women. Retain and confirm the understanding of the teaching. “

He points out that the Redeemer requires that its faculty and other staff be Christian or follow certain religious beliefs, but the university does not set that requirement for the Canadian Summer Jobs position. did. He also said in the 2019 CSJ application that the university targeted young people in LGBTQ2.

The judge’s June 29 ruling was that the Redeemer University grant application was “searched the Internet for information on Redeemer’s policies and practices” by ESDC program personnel, not because of the university’s application. Concluded that it was rejected by. He also said the government did not give the university an opportunity to show that the beliefs that the university adhered to “did not lead to discriminatory practices.”

“If there is a decision maker’s concern [ESDC] It was said that the Redeemer was discriminated against based on sexual orientation, but there was no evidence in the file to show it at the same time, “Mosley wrote.

Mosley also ordered the government to pay the full legal costs of the redeemer for a total of $ 102,000.

The judge ruled on procedural fairness rather than assessing the relevant charter issues, but government ministries “should not be comforted by this conclusion.”

“For a limited record of the decision-making process, [ministry] The Redeemer’s right to freedom of religion, freedom of expression, and freedom of association was openly attempted to be considered when considering its application, “Mosley wrote.

“Such institutions must be treated with respect not only for procedural justice, but also for the rights protected by the Charter.”

The Epoch Times asked ESDC for comment, but did not respond.

history

Redeemer University successfully applied for and received CSJ funding from 2006 to 2017. The program then became central to the religious freedom debate in 2018, after the Liberal government effectively excluded anti-abortion groups from access to funds.

In late 2017, the government will need to provide a “compulsory proof” that all organizations applying for the 2018 CSJ grant will “respect the human rights of individuals in Canada,” including “rights of reproduction.” Was announced. ..

“It’s a big controversy, especially for religious groups, many of which [previously] They got such money because they kept saying we couldn’t and didn’t prove that we supported the right to abortion, “said Polizogopoulos.

When the Redeemer applied for the 2018 CSJ grant, the court said the application was rejected because he omitted the signing of the certificate.

The Redeemer, along with many religious and professional life groups, challenged the new certification policy in court. This 2018 proceeding is another proceeding that has not yet been heard by the federal court.

confronting Several other proceedings across Canada have also challenged the proof, tThe government abandoned the policy at the end of 2018. However, with the release of the 2019 CSJ program, new mandatory questions will be added, and applicants will need to specify how an organization provides a safe, inclusive and healthy work environment. Harassment and discrimination. “

“Strong message”

The Redeemer’s interim president, David Jietzma, told The Epoch Times in an email that the agency was pleased with the outcome of the court’s ruling.

“The court did not have to decide on the charter issues raised here, but the decision sends a strong message to the government about remembering the rights of the charter of faith-based institutions,” he said. It was.

“This is very important in the context of religious freedom. Canadian citizens and organizations have different religious views. As long as they are legal, the government should remain neutral and their The view must not disqualify them from the program or interests. “

Zietsma said Redeemer applied for CSJ funding in the summer of 2020, but was found to be eligible only in December of that year, by which time “summer had passed and there was no funding left in the program.” Said.

The 2021 CSJ redemption application was not approved until June 17, about two months after the college student’s summer. Zietsma said the university expects only one position to be filled this summer.

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