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Anti-choice groups cut from public jobs fund.

The Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada (ARCC) is claiming victory now that the federal government will no longer allow Canada summer jobs funding to flow to anti-abortion advocacy organizations, including so-called "crisis pregnancy services."

The Liberal government announcement came after ARCC revealed in April that 58 anti-choice groups had received Canada summer jobs funding in several ridings since 2011. According to ARCC, the Canada summer job grants amounted to $3.5 million between 2011 and 2015.

"The inherent anti-abortion bias of crisis pregnancy centres means they can't be objective or professional, because their main goal is to dissuade women from having an abortion. But abortion is a common and essential health care service, and access to it is a hard-fought constitutional right," said ARCC executive director Joyce Arthur.

Employment Minister Patty Hajdu has vowed to find ways to ensure that all funding decisions made by MPs through the program reflect the views of a pro-choice government. While it was too late to retract funds for the current summer jobs program, the restrictions will come into effect next summer.

Kathy Dawson, an ARCC board member and a member of the Alberta Pro-Choice Coalition said, "We will be monitoring the development of new policy to ensure that [so-called] 'crisis pregnancy centres,' anti-choice political groups, and other antiabortion organizations do not receive further funding from this or other government programs."

The pro-choice coalition reviewed the Canada Revenue Agency charity tax returns for all crisis pregnancy centres--anti-abortion groups known to provide misinformation on abortion and biased counselling--that received Canada summer jobs grants between 2011 and 2015.

According to the coalition's assessment, 93.75 percent of the organizations reported that funding incorrectly in one or more years, including 25 percent that failed to report any Canada summer jobs funding in one or more years.

As a result, ARCC is calling for an audit on how public funds were spent in past years to ensure that students in the program were paid with the funds received under the program. ARCC revealed that five additional anti-choice political groups received funding from the Canada summer jobs program, including Priests for Life, Campaign Life Coalition, LifeSiteNews, the Wilberforce Project and the Canadian Centre for Bio-ethical Reform (CCBR), an organization that publishes and distributes graphic anti-abortion material.

The CCBR was recently awarded a summer job grant of $56,000. But the group's website indicated that the "total salary for the summer will be $7,000" and that the student intern is "responsible to fundraise $3,000 of that amount before the internship begins." MPs assess applications for Canada summer jobs funding from groups in their ridings and decide which ones will receive grants. Dawson believes that, "publicly-funded money should be going toward the betterment of society and human rights."

The Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, a national pro-choice advocacy group, has called on Employment and Social Development Canada to protect vulnerable students by auditing the grants provided to anti-abortion agencies.

Caption: Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada executive director Joyce Arthur called on the federal government to end job grants to anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centres.
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Title Annotation:Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada
Author:Mitchell, Penni
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Jun 22, 2017
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