Court refuses injunction on Canada Summer Jobs attestation

31 January 2018

Appears in: Archdiocesan News

A Toronto pro-life group has failed to get an injunction against the pro-abortion attestation required in the Canada Summer Jobs application.

On Jan. 30, only days before the Feb. 2 deadline for applications for the program, Federal Court Justice Martine St-Louis ruled the Toronto Right to Life Association (TRTL), did not meet two parts of required three-part legal test to stay the attestation.

The attestation requires all groups to attest their core mandate respects “reproductive rights” which the website explains includes support for legal abortion.

“The applicant seeking the stay must thus establish that there is a serious issue to be tried, that it will suffer irreparable harm if the relief is not granted, and that the balance of convenience lies in his favour,” the judge wrote. “The Courts have confirmed that the injunction is an exceptional remedy.”

They failed to provide evidence to prove irreparable harm or that the injunction favored the public interest, she said.

On the first part of the test, that the matter before the court was a “serious issue,”Judge St. Louis ruled: “However, given the conclusion on the two other parts of the three-part conjunctive test, the Court need not resolve this situation and will assume, without deciding, that a serious issue exists.”

Blaise Alleyne, President of Toronto Right to Life

“We are disappointed with the ruling, but the constitutional questions have not yet come before the court,” says Blaise Alleyne, president of Toronto Right to Life, in a Jan. 30 release.

“We look forward to an expedited hearing of the merits so we can argue that compelling Canadians to agree with the government’s social beliefs is a violation of sections 2(a), (b), and 15 of the Charter.”

TRTL had applied for the injunction Jan. 4 when filing for the judicial review on religious freedom and freedom of conscience grounds, as well as the equality provision.

“In a free and democratic society, the government should not be able to punish groups for simply holding and expressing a particular belief,” said Alleyne.

“A person’s core beliefs—their conscience—is at the heart of their personal identity; a person should not have to choose between his or her core beliefs and obtaining a government program or service,” the TRTL judicial review application said.

The application also stressed “it is not illegal to advocate for social and legal change, in fact, it is crucial to a functioning democracy.”

“Toronto Right to Life looks forward to the hearing on the merits, on which the Ministry confirmed to the Court its willingness to expedite well before July 22, 2018, which is the final start date for summer jobs this year,” said the news release.