Is the Canadian Government’s new Mandate for its Summer Job Program Grants Respectful of Religious Rights and Freedom of Conscience?


March 1, 2018 :: Dr. Katharina Stevens
Moderated by Knud Petersen

The Canada Summer Jobs Program now states that In order to receive federal Canada job grants, employers must attest that both the job and the organization’s core mandate respect Canada’s individual human rights, including the values underlying the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as other rights. These include reproductive rights and the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, race, national or ethnic origin, colour, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression.

This formulation raises worries: If the Canadian government requires organizations to attest in such way, does it thereby require them to make a declaration that goes against their deeply felt beliefs in order to obtain funding for activities meant to help the community? If it does, then that seems to go directly against some of the very values underlying the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms that it cites in the attestation: the protection of religious rights and freedom of conscience.

In this talk, the speaker will attempt to disentangle some of the possible misunderstandings surrounding the question whether the mandate for the summer job program is respectful of religious rights and freedom of conscience. She will not provide a definite answer, but will try to surround the question with clarifications and background considerations that can help with creating an informed and thoughtful opinion.  The speaker will then hand the whole package back to the audience for the Q & A, looking forward to their engagement.

Speaker: Dr. Katharina Stevens

Kat Stevens is an assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Lethbridge, where she teaches legal philosophy and argumentation theory. She arrived in Southern Alberta last summer and is enjoying the city very much. Being both a young woman and a person with a conscience, she has a horse in the race on both sides of the topic, so she is excited to hear thoughts and questions that the audience will have to offer.

Moderator: Knud Petersen

Date: Thursday, March 1, 2018
Time: Noon - 1:30 pm
Location: Country Kitchen Catering (below The Keg restaurant) 1715 Mayor Magrath Drive South
Cost: $11 lunch (hearty soup & bun, desert & coffee/tea) or $2 coffee/tea. RSVP not required


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