Posted at 18:38h
in Fundamental Freedoms
The following article by ARPA's Legal Counsel André Schutten was published in the Ottawa Citizen on August 23, 2013: For a democracy to flourish, governments must respect the fundamental freedoms of its citizens, four of which are outlined in section 2 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The first one, freedom of religion, and the fourth one, freedom of association, are especially important in the discussion surrounding the recent decision by Christian Horizons to open its employment to any and all. Christian Horizons is a Christian charity that provides assistance to people living with special needs, especially those with complex developmental disabilities and challenges. It is the largest of hundreds of different organizations that contract with the Ontario government to provide these types of specialized care services. Christian Horizons, until this week, limited its hiring to Christian employees as defined by a statement of faith. It should be noted that Christian Horizons actually eliminated their morality and lifestyle code already a few years ago - the decision this week was to remove the statement of faith requirement for front line workers. The Citizen, in an editorial published earlier this week, suggested that "under no circumstances should a charity that is largely funded by taxpayers be allowed to impose its moral values on everyone else." I agree with this statement. The question then is this: was Christian Horizons imposing its moral values on everyone else? In my view, it wasn't. It was only imposing its moral values on itself.