Canadians oppose abortion requirement for summer job grants, poll finds

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A recent survey indicates that a majority of Canadians disapprove of a new provision in the Canada Summer Job Grants program which requires organizations to support the government’s pro-choice view to receive public funding.

The CSJ grant helps fund summer programs overseen by small businesses, non-profit organizations, and faith-based employers. To date, the program has funded an estimated 70,000 summer jobs for students in college or secondary school.

Under new requirements, announced earlier this year, organizations must check a box professing their alignment with Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, case law, and other government commitments – including “reproductive rights, and the rights of gender-diverse and transgender Canadians.”

The recent Canadian poll was commissioned by the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal and charitable organization with nearly 2 million members worldwide.

It was conducted by StrategyOne, and included responses from 1,837 Canadians via a 15-minute online survey.

The Knights of Columbus released the results of the survey May 9, one day before thousands of pro-life advocates were expected to attend Ottawa’s March for Life.

“A majority (51 percent) of Canadians think requiring support for abortion in order to participate in the Summer Jobs Program is unfair – nearly twice the number that see the requirement as fair (27 percent),” the Knights of Columbus stated in a May 9 statement alongside the release of the survey.

The statement further noted, “A plurality of those who identify as pro-choice (44 percent) also think that the abortion requirement in the jobs program is unfair, as opposed to 36 percent who judge it is fair.”

However, the survey also showed that only 26 percent of the respondents had previously known of the new grant requirements, compared to 66 percent who said they did not know.

The survey found that 62 percent of Canadians identify as “pro-choice”; however, a greater percentage – 65 percent – believe that abortion should be limited to the first three months of pregnancy. “This includes a majority (52 percent) of those who identify as pro-choice,” the press release said.

A majority – 60 percent – said that abortion should be covered under the Canada Health Act, while 20 percent said that it should not be covered, and another 20 percent were unsure. A plurality – 43 percent – said that medical personnel and organizations with moral objections should not be required to perform abortions.

In January, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated that pro-life groups which explicitly oppose abortion are “not in line with where we are as a government and, quite frankly, where we are at as a society.”

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops released a statement in January, strongly objecting to the new grant rules.

“This new policy conflicts directly with the right to freedom of religion and conscience which too are enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as in associated case law,” they said.

“It seriously undermines the right to religious freedom since the Government of Canada is directly limiting the right of religious traditions to hold, teach and practise their principles and values in public.”

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