Pro-choice Group Calls for Audit of Government Funding Given to Anti-abortion Groups

Friday, April 21 2017

NATIONAL – The Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada (ARCC) welcomes the news that the Canadian federal government will take steps to prohibit future Canada Summer Jobs funding for anti-choice groups. [i]  However, ARCC is now calling for an audit of how these funds were spent to ensure that students in the program were paid honestly, and as agreed to.

The Liberal government’s announcement came after ARCC revealed on April 10 that four anti-choice political groups had received Canada Summer Jobs funding from various ridings since 2011. [ii]

“Our pro-choice Liberal government will be protecting the rights of women, trans men, and non-binary people when it implements changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program that will make anti-choice organizations ineligible,” said Kathy Dawson, a Board member with Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada and Alberta Prochoice Coalition. “We will be monitoring the development of new policy to ensure that ‘crisis pregnancy centres’, anti-choice political groups, and other anti-abortion organizations do not receive further funding from this or other government programs.” [iii]

Canadians expect that organizations will be honest and transparent in their reporting and use of government funding. ARCC reviewed the Canada Revenue Agency charity tax returns for all “crisis pregnancy centre” charities (anti-choice groups that provide misinformation on abortion and biased counselling), which had received Canada Summer Jobs grants over 2011-2015. [iv]

• Canada Summer Job grants provided $646,604 to 32 crisis pregnancy centre charities
• Canada Revenue Agency charity returns indicate that for federal government funding: 2 (6.25%) reported funding correctly; 30 (93.75%) reported funding incorrectly in one or more years; 8 (25%) failed to report Canada Summer Job funding at all in one or more years; 10 (31.25%) failed to report Canada Summer Job funding in any year.

In addition, ARCC discovered that five anti-choice political groups (one with charitable status) also 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).

The CCBR was recently given a large grant of $56K from Liberal MP Iqra Khalid’s riding. [v] Given the dishonesty of many anti-abortion groups, the Abortion Rights Coalition checked the CCBR’s website and found a statement 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”. However, Maggie McAuley, a CCBR student intern commented on the iPolitics news article [iv], stating: “We fundraise most of our own salaries actually.”

“Canada Summer Jobs students must be paid honestly, and as agreed to,” said Dawson. “If Maggie McAuley fundraised most of her salary, how did CCBR spend its summer job grant money?”

The Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada calls on Employment and Social Development Canada to protect vulnerable students by auditing the amounts provided to anti-abortion agencies. The ESDC should ensure that these Canada Summer Jobs students are paid honestly, and as agreed to.

Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada
Canada’s only national political pro-choice advocacy group
POB 2663, Station Main, Vancouver, BC, V6B 3W3  •  mailto:info@arcc-cdac.ca 
•  http://www.arcc-cdac.ca

________________________________________
i    iPolitics, April 13, 2017. Amanda Connolly. “Government looking to shut down summer job grants for anti-abortion groups”.
https://ipolitics.ca/2017/04/13/government-shutting-down-summer-job-grants-for-anti-abortion-groups-source/

ii   Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, April 10, 2017. “Grants from Canada Summer Jobs Program Support Political Attacks on Human Rights.” http://www.arcc-cdac.ca/press/ARCC-CDAC-release-apr-10-17-english.pdf

iii   ARCC has been investigating all government funding of anti-choice organizations. See our January 11, 2017 press release: “Anti-Abortion Agencies Get Millions in Government Funding.” http://www.arcc-cdac.ca/press/ARCC-CDAC-release-jan-11-17-english.pdf

iv   Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, January 11, 2017. “Anti-Abortion Agencies Get Millions in Government Funding”. http://www.arcc-cdac.ca/press/ARCC-CDAC-release-jan-11-17-english.pdf

v    iPolitics, April 12, 2017. Amanda Connolly. “Anti-abortion group got $56K federal grant from Liberal MP”. http://ipolitics.ca/2017/04/12/anti-abortion-group-got-56k-federal-grant-from-liberal-mp/

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