the EFC has spoken out this spring after Ontario and Quebec proposed new anti-bullying laws. The EFC research report By the Numbers: Rates
and Risk Factors for Bullying in Canada, released in April,
provides an overview of bullying trends, the reported frequencies of bullying behaviours, risk factors for bullying
and perspectives on criminalization of the behaviour. This
30-page document is free online.
A major concern in current public policy discussions is
Ontario’s Bill 13, the Accepting Schools Act. EFC legal counsel Faye Sonier and Don Hutchinson contend the wording of the proposed bill is problematic and fraught with
interpretational difficulties. In an open letter to Ontario
Premier Dalton McGuinty sent April 2, they recommended
three specific amendments: the definition of “bullying” be
amended so as not to capture innocent behaviour or speech
protected by the rights to religious freedom and expression; the provision that mandates gay-straight alliances be
broadened to permit more diverse and inclusive groups;
and the provision that may restrict the ability of churches
to use school space for worship or meetings be removed.
These and other anti-bullying resources are free at
Abortion and Being “human”
Laws related to the beginning of human life are also prominent in the public eye this spring. You’ll find related new
resources at theEFC.ca/human, including the EFC’s new
Abortion Polls in Canada: A Compilation by Topic of Opinion
Polling in Canada from 2007-2012. It sums up what Canadians say about their beliefs on when life starts and when
it should be protected by law (see also p. 17 of this issue of
The webpage also includes updates on M-312, the parliamentary motion to review the outdated definition of
“human being” in Canada’s Criminal Code. The EFC supports this motion.
talking Adoption with a Cabinet Minister
EFC President Bruce J. Clemenger and his wife, researcher
Tracy Clemenger, met with Diane Finley, minister of human resources and skills development Canada, in February to talk about adoption and the role of churches in
contributing to the well-being of children in Canada.
They discussed legal changes to employment insurance
to assist couples fostering with a view to adoption, changes
the minister had announced in January. They also looked
ahead to a report on adoption by the standing House of
Commons committee on human resources, which will
soon be tabled in Parliament.
The EFC is also launching a new initiative on adoption
religious Persecution and Children
Public policy issues that impact children remain an important focus at the EFC. In March the EFC’s Religious
Liberty Commission released a 23-page report entitled
The Overlooked Demographic: A Report on the Impact of
Religious Persecution on Children.
The document, available at theEFC.ca/overlooked-demographic, considers various ways in which children
worldwide are affected by religious discrimination and
persecution. It also summarizes the biblical mandate
to protect children and makes recommendations to the
Canadian government on foreign and domestic policy
Prayer Breakfast draws Politicians
Canada’s 47th annual National Prayer Breakfast, an event
for federal government leaders and others in Ottawa, was
held May 1, with the EFC’s Don Hutchinson as the closing
speaker of the three-day student forum that accompan-ies the main event. Other activities included dinner with
speaker Nazanin Afshin-Jam, co-founder of Stop Child
Executions; panel discussions with Members of Parliament; and breakfast speaker Father Raymond J. de Souza
of the National Post.
Suicide Prevention Initiative
The EFC supports a private member’s bill requiring the
federal government to take the lead in working with
non-governmental organizations and provincial and territorial bodies to develop a national suicide prevention
Bill C-300 is put forward by MP Harold Albrecht (
Conservative, Kitchener-Conestoga) to implement a key recommendation of a recent all-party parliamentary committee
on palliative and compassionate care (which he co-chaired
with NDP MP Joe Comartin).
The EFC’s Faye Sonier expressed support at theEFC.
ca/activateCFPL on March 9, noting the EFC has a long
history of supporting initiatives to protect Canada’s most
Understanding Prostitution Law
In March the Ontario Court of Appeal released a decision
that could strike down some of Canada’s prostitution laws.
The decision in Bedford v. Canada (Attorney General) not
only fails to protect women from exploitation, but could
lead to a situation where Canada’s most vulnerable are
put at greater risk of violence, exploitation and trafficking. The Canadian government says it intends to appeal
the decision. The EFC offers insights and suggested action in recent blog postings and news releases at theEFC.
ca/prostitution. There’s also a link there to some moving
and insightful reading from the Mar/Apr 2011 Faith Today
cover story. Ft