Canada Summer Jobs Limits Opportunities
for Students Like Me

 by Crossroads

Carolyn Innis, our Communications Director at Crossroads, weighs in on the Canada Summer Jobs controversy with her unique perspective, having been a recipient of a government funded student position at Crossroads over a decade ago.

The ambiguous and poorly defined values test on the Liberal government’s Canada Summer Jobs attestation isn’t just limiting funding opportunities for faith-based organizations, it’s limiting opportunities for students who are like me.  Smart, ambitious… and Christian.

As a Christian and a broadcast journalism student in my early twenties, I wondered how my religious convictions and values could work harmoniously in the context of a Canadian newsroom.

Reporting on current events void of personal bias was the expectation, this I understood well. I graduated at the top of my class and had the support of networks and professors cheering me on as I looked for a place to apply my skills.

I pursued a government funded internship at Crossroads Christian Communications, working alongside a team of talented journalists and media professionals whose values looked like mine.  There, I gained valuable workplace experience, I was given the opportunity to write and produce a story for its national television program, I honed my skills in communications and felt like I was contributing to something meaningful. It was the perfect place for me to work – combining my professional aspirations with my personal passions. Choosing to work for a faith-based organization was my choice, a choice that was only available to me because Crossroads qualified for government funding.

Carolyn Innis (second from left) pictured in 2007 during her government funded summer job at Crossroads Christian Communications. She now serves as the Director of Communications at Crossroads and is the editor of Reach Magazine.

Carolyn at Crossroads

Considering the values litmus-test that the Liberal government has introduced on the Canada Summer Jobs application, which forces organizations to agree to confusing language around sexuality and abortion, students will no longer have the experience at Crossroads that I had.  Crossroads, like many other faith-based charitable organizations, was denied government funding for summer students this year because they could not agree to these government-imposed terms.

This is deeply troubling to me.

Not just for the obvious reason that it infringes on freedoms surrounding belief and expression, but that it limits students who are like me, wanting to apply their talents to these faith-based organizations, but now can’t because there are no opportunities being funded.

Should organizations like Crossroads simply “check the box” and get the funding? That sure would be easier, and really, who would know? But how can they, in good faith, go against their religious (albeit, unpopular) convictions?  I keep wondering how our politicians are so out-of-touch with the reality of what they are asking organizations to do. The government has tried to clarify the language, saying it relates to an organization’s actions not beliefs about abortion. But they haven’t changed the language in the attestation to support this. On March 19th, 2018, a motion from the Official Opposition that would have allowed religious organizations to qualify for funding without having to agree to the language in the attestation was voted down in the House of Commons.

The same passion and conviction that made me want to work at an effective media organization like Crossroads is the same passion and conviction that informs every aspect of my life.  I don’t just pick and choose to follow Jesus’ teachings when it’s convenient or easy or beneficial.  Neither does Crossroads. The government doesn’t understand this. Sadly, students will suffer the consequence.

 

Christian voices in Canadian media are few and far between and need support. Lorna Dueck, Crossroads CEO is among one of the last major Christian voices with a place in mainstream news.  Time will only tell for how long.  Read her article in the Globe and Mail about Canada Summer Jobs here.

Christian voices in Canadian media are few and far between and need support. Lorna Dueck, Crossroads CEO is among one of the last major Christian voices with a place in mainstream news. Read her article on this topic in the Globe and Mail here:

Christian voices in Canadian media are few and far between and need support. Lorna Dueck, Crossroads CEO is among one of the last major Christian voices with a place in mainstream news.  Time will only tell for how long.  Read her article in the Globe and Mail about Canada Summer Jobs here.