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Canadians Oppose Abortion Requirement


About two-thirds would also limit abortion to – at most – first 3 months of pregnancy

Canadians are strongly opposed to the new abortion requirement in the Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) Program and two-thirds would also limit abortion to – at most – the first trimester of a woman’s pregnancy, according to a new Knights of Columbus survey released today.

The results come as thousands get ready to gather in Ottawa on Thursday to demand that Canadian laws uphold the right to life. This comes just months after the government announced that CSJ subsidies will only be granted to organizations that attest to their pro-choice position as part of their application.

The Canadian government describes the CSJ program as providing wage subsidies to employers to create employment for secondary school and post-secondary school students. The CSJ program accepts applications from small businesses, not-for-profit employers, public sector and faith-based organizations that provide quality summer jobs for students.

A majority (51 percent) of Canadians think requiring support for abortion in order to participate in the CSJ program is unfair – nearly twice the number that see the requirement as fair (27 percent).

Almost half (47 percent) say such a requirement is discriminatory, while only about a quarter (26 percent) disagree. Also, by a double digit margin, a plurality believes that abortion should not be a precondition for the CSJ program (48 percent to 32 percent).

By similarly wide margins, Canadians also oppose expanding the requirement to other federal jobs programs (50 percent to 29 percent) or forcing religious groups to comply with such a requirement (47 percent to 31 percent).

More than four in 10 (43 percent) say the requirement violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Fewer than three in 10 (28 percent) disagree.

At the same time, few Canadians know that this requirement had been implemented. Approximately one quarter (26 percent) said they knew of it, while two-thirds (66 percent) said they did not.

On the issue of abortion itself, most Canadians identify as “pro-choice” (62 percent), but an even greater percentage — almost two-thirds (65 percent) — would like to see abortion limited to the first three months of pregnancy. This includes a majority (52 percent) of those who identify as pro-choice.

A plurality of those who identify as pro-choice (44 percent) also think that the abortion requirement in the jobs program is unfair, as opposed to 36 percent who judge it is fair.

More than half of Canadians (54 percent) also say that abortion is a factor in their support for candidates when voting for a political party in federal elections.

The poll was commissioned by the Knights of Columbus through a 15-minute online survey conducted by StrategyOne in English and French, among 1,837 Canadian respondents. Respondents were nationally representative based on age, gender, ethnicity, income and region, and all participants were eligible to vote in Canada.