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Canadians split on summer jobs attestation requirement

Pro-choice versus pro-life viewpoints heavily influence opinion on contentious issue

Canadians are acutely divided over the Trudeau government’s controversial attestation requirement for organizations applying for federal funding under the Canada Summer Jobs program.

In the wake of heated debates in policy circles, a new study from the Angus Reid Institute finds Canadians split evenly in their views of whether the obligation for organizations to verify that their core mandate respects the underlying values of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms – specifically reproductive rights – is fair. Fifty per cent say it is, while 50 per cent say it is not.

There is however, considerable difference of opinion over the requirement based on how the grant money might theoretically be spent.

In a hypothetical scenario where a pro-life organization applies for the Summer Jobs Grant program to subsidize activities unrelated to abortion advocacy, three-quarters of Canadians (73%) say they should be eligible for federal funding.

In another hypothetical scenario, where a pro-life group spent its grants on anti-abortion advocacy, support for funding drops to under four-in-ten (37%). Notably, while Canadians from different political perspectives largely agree about the first scenario, they differ widely in opinion on the second.

More Key Findings: 

  • Opinions regarding abortion play a significant factor in a person’s opinion about the fairness of attestation. Those who say abortion should be severely restricted are substantially more likely to say that attestation is unfair (86%) than those who take a staunchly pro-choice stance (36%)
  • Once taken through specific scenarios where government funding to organizations might be withheld, a majority of Canadians say they support the government’s decision to require employers to confirm that they accept a woman’s right to have an abortion
  • Seven-in-ten past Conservative voters (68%) say that the attestation policy is unfair and over-reaching, while majorities of 2015 Liberal (59%) and NDP (56%) voters say that the requirement is fair
  • While those over 55 are divided (51% support, 49% oppose), six-in-ten younger than that age demographic support the Trudeau government’s decision

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