June 26, 2018
SMALL BUSINESSES OWNERS TO TAKE GOVERNMENT TO COURT OVER INTERFERENCE IN BUSINESS PRACTICES
OTTAWA, ON—Free To Do Business Canada (FTDBC) announced its support today for Sarnia Concrete business owner, Roy Botma, and four other small businesses fighting back against the government’s anti-business imposition of a values attestation in the Canada Summer Jobs program. “Any government that determines what values we must hold or what positions we must express in order to access government programs is one that is involved in shocking overreach. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms was specifically created to protect Canadians from such violations.” said FTDBC spokesperson, Tamara Jansen.
Jansen also noted, “the clear hypocrisy of the situation is most obvious when you consider what would happen to a business owner who had this exact same Values Attestation as part of their hiring protocol. If we compelled our employees to hold to any sort of ideology in order to keep their job, the Human Rights Commission would be all over us.” As a result, FTDBC is standing with small business owners to send the message that this type of coercion is unacceptable, and we will not take it lightly.
Jansen emphasized that this legal challenge has nothing to do with WHAT the government is compelling us to say. It is, however, about the simple fact THAT we are being compelled to say something. Canadians need to be aware that if this case of compelled speech goes unchallenged, this practice will expand to other areas and government programs. If a government has no qualms about forcing farmers, builders, and general contractors to parrot a political ideology for access to funds, then soon, many others will be in the same boat.
Albertos Polizogopoulos (with Vincent Dagenais Gibson LLP) will serve as legal counsel for these cases. He commented, “that unlike other court challenges of the values test that have been based on freedom of religion, the arguments in these cases will focus on the businesses’ freedoms of conscience, thought and belief protected under the Charter.”
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Free To Do Business Canada champions the democratic rights of business owners and businesses to serve their customers free from governments dictating what business owners must think and believe. We seek to protect these democratic rights found in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms by supporting legal action and raising public awareness.
Free To Do Business Canada is a registered non-profit society and represents Canadian businesses working in a variety of industries from across Canada.