A Clash of Values: Counting the Cost of the Government’s Summer Job Grant Policy
InterVarsity is one of the many diverse groups in Canada (those of faith and secular perspectives) counting the cost of not submitting to the federal Liberal government’s new policy on eligibility for summer student job grants.
In the past, we have gratefully received more than $100,000 in summer job grants for our camps. This funding has enabled us to hire life guards and waterfront instructors, program leaders, wranglers and many other gifted young people. As they work with us, they grow in leadership, develop skills and make a significant difference in the lives of the campers they care for and serve.
But this year, we cannot, in good conscience, tick the required box that affirms we agree with the government’s stated values. To do so would be contrary with our convictions about the sanctity of life and marriage. To do so would also be contrary to Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Canadian Human Rights Code, both of which enshrine our country’s long-held values for the freedom of religion, conscience, belief, opinion, thought, expression and equality rights.
It is important to note that our camp and campus programs are open to everyone, regardless of beliefs or lifestyle. We train our staff and design our programs so that every child, teen and youth in our care knows they are valued and loved by God and by us. We do not require or expect that anyone participating in our programs agrees with our values or Biblical convictions.
But when it comes to our staff and volunteers, we must hire people who hold our Biblical convictions. We are a fellowship, a community of Christians committed to working together out of shared beliefs and values. We do not want to put those we hire in a position of denying their own beliefs and values in order to work for us.
In January we joined 80 inter-faith groups in writing a letter to the federal government expressing our concerns. We applied for summer job grants, noting on the application form that we could not, in good conscience, tick the box requiring our submission to the government’s new policy.
Recently we began receiving notification that our applications are being denied.
We are doing everything possible to ensure our camps are well staffed – we need about 1,200 staff to care for nearly 10,000 campers every summer. Our early registration is stronger than ever. We are excited about the thousands of children and teens who are already planning to come to camp this summer!
Please pray for us and the hundreds of other faith organizations in Canada who are bearing the cost of this government policy.
Would you make a donation to STAFF OUR CAMPS today so we can hire all the staff we need to give campers the best summer of their lives?
Thank you. We are so grateful for your partnership,
12 comments on “A Clash of Values: Counting the Cost of the Government’s Summer Job Grant Policy”
Thanks for maintaining your standards. Very challenging in many respects. It’s an outward example of the societal shift underway to a post-Christian era that we’re going to have to work out how to live within where the costs of belief and adherence to values will have a negative effect on our lives. I’ve always admired IVCF for the good work you do, now all the more for taking the harder path.
Thanks so much for your encouragement and taking the time to post your note.
I’m pleased to see that InterVarsity has cooperated with other interfaith groups in its response to the Federal gov’t. This is an opportunity to work together with other impacted groups. I often find mutual respect in working with those of other faiths. That is the Canada I want to see more of.
Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment of encouragement.
I disagree. When church needs to interact with government, it is fair to accept government standards for grant allocation (as long as gov’t standards are equitable and transparent). It is up to us as the church to figure out how we respond to government policy. This is part of democracy.
Thanks so much for taking the time to share your perspective with us.
You are to be complemented on maintaining your stand and defence of Biblical teaching. The Lord honours those who honour Him.
Thanks so much for taking the time to send us a line of encouragement.
May be better off without government money. Some say the only sure things in life are death and taxes… but Christians can also be sure of the faithfulness of God. Persecuted Christians around the world have set an example for us and their issues are much more severe than government money for summer jobs. This situation is a wake up call. A previous comment mentioned democracy… at least for now we still have the vote. Good decision IVCF; am donating online.
Garth, Thanks so much for sharing your perspective and for supporting the work we do among youth in Canada.
My husband and I are proud to be staff alumni of an organization that refuses to compromise Biblical principles. Our experiences as camp staff continue to shape our faith – even a decade later. We support and applaud IVCF’s decision to stand firm, and will most certainly be contributing to the staff fund this year.
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