Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) applications for 2024 are open. Applications are due January 10, 2024. As always, charity leaders will need to make up their own minds as to whether they are comfortable with the terms and conditions attached to CSJ funding. To help you decide, we’ll look at the requirements for 2024 as set out in the Applicant Guide and the Articles of Agreement.
- January 10 – deadline to apply
- April 22 – earliest job start date
- July 22 – latest job start date
- August 31 – latest job end date
Funding confirmation will be sent to employers starting in April 2024 and will continue into the summer months.
Understanding & Navigating the CSJ Application
The first place to go to understand what the CSJ program requires is the CSJ Applicant materials, including:
- 2023 Applicant Guide
- Articles of Agreement
- Application Form
- Employee Consent Form
- Employer and Employee Declaration
If you’re looking for more and want some practical help understanding and navigating the 2024 CSJ Application from a Christian perspective, we’ve got resources for you! CCCC resources supplement, but do not replace the CSJ Applicant Guide and source documents. Each of these has been updated to reflect 2024 information:
If you’re not yet a CCCC member, you can receive a complimentary checklist for helping with your grant proposal applications and tutorials for applying for CSJ. Access it here: CSJ Applicant Resources.
Most of the program requirements are the same as the 2023 CSJ Program requirements, but there are a few notable changes.
Ineligible Employers *NEW*
A new category of “ineligible employers” has been added for 2024:
- Organizations that engage in activities that directly or indirectly infringe, undermine, weaken, or restrict the exercise of human rights legally protected in Canada
Ineligible Projects & Activities *UNCHANGED*
The list of ineligible projects and activities remains the same. Ineligible projects and activities includes: activities outside of Canada, that are of personal service to an employer, are partisan political activities, that are fundraising activities to cover the youth’s salary and, project or job activities that:
- Restrict access to programs, or services, or employment, or otherwise discriminate, contrary to applicable laws, on the basis of prohibited grounds, including sex, genetic characteristics, religion, race, national or ethnic origin, colour, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation or gender identity or expression;
- Advocate intolerance, discrimination, and/or prejudice; or
- Actively work to undermine or restrict a woman’s access to sexual and reproductive health services
The Attestation *MODIFIED*
The Attestation has changed for 2024. The first three requirements remain the same – that the applicant:
- Has read, understood and will comply with the CSJ Articles of Agreement;
- Has the necessary authority, permission and approvals to submit the CSJ application;
- Certifies that the application information is true, accurate and complete;
The fourth criteria has changed from:
- Any funding under the Canada Summer Jobs program will not be used to undermine or restrict the exercise of rights legally protected in Canada.
- I confirm that neither the job activities nor any of the activities of my organization which are directly or indirectly supported by the job activities in any way infringe, undermine, weaken, or restrict the exercise of rights legally protected in Canada.
Summary of Assessment Criteria
Applications are assessed against three main criteria (the bold criteria have changed):
- Provide quality work experiences for youth (30 points)
- Provide a salary above minimum wage (10)
- Retain the youth as an employee after the CSJ agreement (5)
- Youth receives supervision (15)
- Provide youth with opportunity to develop and improve their skills (45 points)
- Youth receives mentoring (15)
- Skills acquisition and development (30)
- Respond to national and local priorities to improve access to the labour market for youth who face unique barriers (35 points)
- National priorities (25)
- Local priorities (10)
New Skills *MODIFIED*
The skills listed on the application form have changed quite a bit. It is a positive indicator that Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) recognizes the value of a broader scope of skills, and it creates more potential opportunities for both applicants and CSJ employees.
|Creativity and Innovation
National Priorities *MODIFIED*
Three of the five national priorities for 2024 are similar to 2023:
- Opportunities for youth with disabilities or with organizations that provide services to persons with disabilities (2023: Youth with disabilities)
- Opportunities for youth that are underrepresented in the labour market, including Black and other racialized youth, Indigenous youth, 2SLGBTQI+ youth (2023: Black and other racialized youth)
- Opportunities related to sustainable jobs that support the protection of the environment or delivering positive environmental outcomes (2023: Small business and not-for-profit organizations in environmental sectors)
The new 2024 priorities are:
- Opportunities for youth in rural areas, remote communities, or Official Language Minority Communities
- Opportunities that provide exposure or experience related to the skilled trades, which may include opportunities in the residential construction sector
These replace the 2023 priorities small business and not-for-profit organizations that self-report as having leadership from groups that are underrepresented in the labour market, and the standalone priority of hiring Indigenous youth.
Local priorities continue to be used to assess applications. Those vary from constituency to constituency.
We trust that the new category of ineligible applicants will not be used so as to exclude more faith-based organizations; however, it does beg the question, what purpose will it serve? It seems that it may be used to justify an expanded ability for ESDC staff to look beyond the job or job activities: does the organization engage in activities that “directly or indirectly infringe, undermine, weaken, or restrict the exercise of human rights legally protected in Canada,” regardless of the job role and activities?
Immediate questions arise:
- What does “infringe” mean?
- What does “indirectly” mean?
- What does “weaken” mean?
- How will protected rights of expression, association, and conscience be addressed in the assessment process?
- What standard is applied for each of these?
Standards and objective criteria are necessary to ensure transparent, consistent and non-arbitrary. Without any standards or objective criteria, it raises concerns about subjective, inconsistent and unpredictable grant decisions.
Similar to the new category of ineligible organizations, the modified Attestation clause also seems an attempt to expand the reach for ESDC staff into the activities “of [the] organization” that are “directly or indirectly supported by the job activities in any way.” It could mean that not just the job and job activities will be scrutinized, but that the organization could also be examined, to see if any direct or indirect support from the job activities “infringe, undermine, weaken, or restrict” legally protected rights, as determined by ESDC.
The Federal Court’s warning that faith-based institutions “must be treated not just with procedural fairness but also with respect for their Charter-protected rights” is worth repeating (BCM).
For our part, CCCC will closely monitor whether and how these new and modified clauses impact faith-based organizations’ CSJ Applications. To that end, please keep in touch and share your application experience with us! As always, we are interested in your experience with the overall CSJ program. This year, we’re particularly interested in learning whether the modified Attestation or new category of ineligible applicants creates more (or new) barriers that you have not experienced in previous application years.
What Will Happen this Year?
Each year we consider this question, and each year we recognize it’s not a question we can really answer. It does appear the ESDC is trying to expand its reach into weighing broader organizational activities. At the same time, we have no indication as to the standards that will be applied to that process.
What we have seen is that results can be unpredictable. Applicants with similar statements of faith will see vastly different outcomes. Perhaps this is a result of objective application assessments, or perhaps it is a result of subjective perceptions. When the criteria moves from an external Attestation (like in 2018) to internally applied considerations, unpredictability ensues.
As with every year since the 2018 Attestation controversy, we know that faith-based organizations’ applications have been rejected for a variety of reasons, including statements of faith that adhere to a biblical definition of marriage, where all staff agree to sign statements of faith, and other similar reasons. We also know that many religious organizations successfully apply for CSJ funding.
Presumably we will continue to see a variety of outcomes. Perhaps even to a greater degree as it seems more subjective elements have been introduced into the 2024 Application requirements.
What to do?
As always, charity leaders need to make up their own minds as to whether they are comfortable with the terms and conditions attached to CSJ funding. From a CCCC perspective, we’re still of the view that the phrasing of the Attestation ought not deny the right of religious organizations to speak or teach or live their religious views, even if that doesn’t line up with the government’s worldview. And therefore, as the Guide notes, not-for-profit employers, including “faith-based organizations (for example, churches, synagogues, temples, mosques)” are eligible to apply for CSJ 2024.
If your charity is interested in CSJ 2024, ensure your application is complete, that it meets as many of the listed priorities as possible, and that your charity is prepared for the possibility of additional scrutiny and questions. And if you’re looking for more and want some practical help understanding and navigating the 2024 CSJ Application from a Christian perspective, we’ve got resources for you in our Member Knowledge Base.
The content provided in this blog is for general information purposes and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Every organization’s circumstances are unique. Before acting on the basis of information contained in this blog, readers should consult with a qualified lawyer for advice specific to their situation.