The church is called to witness and to be the body of Christ in the world. All the church says, does, and is silent on stands as a public witness to how the body of Christ lives and acts, and what it desires for the world. Part of this public witness involves formally speaking to those with authority in the world, such as government officials. The church properly uses its voice to call on such authorities to help shape the kind of world that allows all creation, including humans, to flourish.

Living Faith reminds us that “God is always calling the church to seek that justice in the world which reflects the divine righteousness revealed in the Bible.” (8.4.1) It goes on to explain that seeking justice in the world entails things such as dealing fairly, changing customs that oppress, protecting the rights of others, care for the poor, and concern regarding matters such as employment, education, health, and the courts or penal system. This page contains letters to government which the church has written on issues that speak to concerns the church has as part of its public witness.

We encourage you to explore the letters and issues below to learn more about this important aspect of witnessing as the body of Christ. Congregations and members of the church are also encouraged to write their elected officials on matters of concern that the church and moderator have written about. The letters posted below may be used as a resource or template if desired. For more information on any of these issues, please contact Justice Ministries.

Guaranteed Basic Income

2020 – PM Trudeau – Guaranteed Basic Income
This 2020 letter to the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance was written during the COVID-19 pandemic and expresses concern for the impact of the pandemic on the lives and livelihoods of people in Canada. The letter advocates that a guaranteed basic income would increase social and economic equity while ensuring critical assistance is provided for vulnerable people.

Israel-Palestine

Letter to Minister of Foreign Affairs re. Israel’s Annexation Plans, May 2020

Image of arrow pointing downLetter to Minister of Foreign Affairs re. Israel’s Annexation Plans, May 2020 – English

Letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs re. concern about Canada's silence regarding the plans of the current coalition government of Israel to propose a vote in the Knesset on annexing a significant part of the occupied Palestinian territories.

Image of arrow pointing downLetter to Minister of Foreign Affairs re. Israel’s Annexation Plans, May 2020 – French

Jason Kenney, January 2015
The moderator wrote to the federal minister of Employment and Social Development outlining concerns with the number of Canadians in precarious housing situations and highlighting the need for a long-term affordable housing strategy. The moderator wrote, also, to ministers in provincial and territorial governments, though these letters are not posted here.

Bernard Valcourt, Housing in First Nations Communities, January 2015
This letter is written to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada regarding the housing crisis in First Nations communities. An important dimension of the journey to reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people is the provision of clean and safe housing for Indigenous communities. The letter asks about the federal government’s plans to cooperate with the Canadian Housing and Mortgage Corporation to improve the quality and quantity of housing in Indigenous communities.

Bernard Valcourt Response, February 2015
A response from Indian and Northern Affairs outlines areas of responsibility of different governing bodies for on-reserve and off-reserve housing. It sites a then forthcoming report by the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal People and states it will work to address report recommendations.

Synthetic biology,2019
The moderator wrote to the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change addressing synthetic biology – an interdisciplinary arena that combines engineering, technology and biology and augments organisms for human use. Concerns may arise, for example, when such technology has military applications.

Direct to Consumer Genetic Testing, 2013The moderator wrote to the Minister of Health outlining questions pertaining genetic tests that have become available directly to consumers. Typically these tests are done under the supervision of a doctor and administered under ethical guidelines. The letter questions what regulations are in place for tests that are available directly to consumers.

Genetic Discrimination, 2013
The moderator wrote to the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of Canada raising questions about protecting a person’s genetic privacy and prohibiting genetic discrimination. These questions are raised in the context of technology that maps and stores information about the human genome.

2017 to Minister Freeland
The moderator wrote to the Minister of Foreign Affairs to advocate that Canada meet its commitments in support of countries in the global south that disproportionately experience the impacts of climate change.

2017 to Minister McKenna
The moderator wrote to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change expressing support that Canada take a global leadership role to address climate change, and advocating for policies that will cap global warming at 2 degrees Celsius, and a plan to reduce Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions accordingly.

2020 letter to Prime Minister Trudeau
The moderator wrote to the Prime Minister regarding Canada’s plans to address climate change through reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The moderator acknowledged that while Canada’s per capita emissions have dropped, more work is needed to achieve the greenhouse gas reduction targets Canada committed to meeting under the Paris Agreement (a global agreement to address climate change signed in 2016).

2020 – Trudeau – climate change
This 2020 letter to the Prime Minister encourages that Canada take steps to meet its commitments under the Paris Agreement (a global agreement to mitigate the effects of climate change) through lowering Canadian carbon emissions.

Robert Nicholson, 2012
This letter from the moderator was sent to the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General in 2012. The letter affirms the federal government’s responsibility to ensure public safety but raises concerns that building more prisons will not address underlying issues in the justice and correctional system, including insufficient mental health resources. Finally, the letter advocates measures that reflect restorative justice principles.
2020 – PM Trudeau – Guaranteed Basic Income
This 2020 letter to the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance was written during the COVID-19 pandemic and expresses concern for the impact of the pandemic on the lives and livelihoods of people in Canada. The letter advocates that a guaranteed basic income would increase social and economic equity while ensuring critical assistance is provided for vulnerable people.

Leona Aglukkaq, 2010
This 2010 letter is written to the Minister of Health and addressing government funding allocated to assist the provinces and territories to help meet their commitments under the 2004 Accord (an agreement between federal and provincial bodies outlining health care objectives and funding that included increased home care and pharmaceuticals).

Letter to Minister of Health
Ginette Petitpas Taylor, November 2018

Michelle Boudreau Response, February 2019
The Director General of Controlled Substances Directorate replied to the moderator’s letter. The letter assures that the opioid crisis remains a top priority for Health Canada. They provide information about funding allocation to address the crisis and note that more supervised consumption sites (SCS) are being established. The letters states that Health Canada is working with provinces and territories to collect data on the opioid crisis and a dedicated marketing compliance and enforcement team has been created which will monitor opioid marketing to enforce rules and take action when necessary.

The moderator wrote a series of letters to provincial, territorial and federal medical regulatory authorities (e.g. the Canadian Medical Association and provincial physicians colleges). The letters highlighted a General Assembly report on the opioid crisis and how churches are responding. The moderator affirms Health Canada’s decision for mandatory warning stickers on prescription opioids and asks how medical regulatory authorities monitor and assess their policies regarding the interactions of physicians and the pharmaceutical industry.

Laurent Marcoux, November 2018
In 2018 the moderator wrote to provincial, territorial and federal Ministers responsible for health. The letters address the church’s concern regarding the opioid crisis and describes the ways that churches are responding. These letters asked for more supports for people struggling with addiction and how governments will provide long term treatment and recovery programs. This is the letter that was sent to the federal Minister of Health.

Letter to the Canadian Medical Association, 2019
This letter was written to the Canadian Medical Association asking how it assesses the impact of its Guidelines for Physicians in Interaction with Industry.

Laurent Marcoux Response, January 2019
The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) replied to the moderator’s letter that CMA does not is exercise regulatory or educational functions related to medical practice and that it is therefore difficult to assess the impact of its guidelines on physician practice (oversight lies with provincial medical colleges).

2020 – PM Trudeau – Development Assistance
This 2020 letter was written to the Prime Minister and Minister of International Development urging that Canada’s official development assistance levels be raised to meet the international benchmark of 0.7% of national GDP. ODA levels were 0.28% at the time the letter was written.

Chrystia Freeland, re. Gaza, 2018
This 2018 letter was written to the Minister of Foreign Affairs expressing concern over allegations of the disproportionate use of force by Israeli military toward civilians near Gaza borders. The moderator encouraged the Government of Canada to encourage the Government of Israel to cooperate with a UN Commission of Inquiry regarding the allegations.

Chrystia Freeland, re. Yemen, 2017
This 2017 letter was written to the Minister of Foreign Affairs expressing concern regarding the humanitarian crisis and war in Yemen. Saudi Arabia imposed blockades and hindered the distribution of humanitarian aid in Yemen. The moderator encouraged the Government of Canada to advocate with Saudi Arabia to end blockades hindering humanitarian aid.

PM Trudeau, Bill C-262, 2018
PM Trudeau, Bill C-262 FR, 2018
This letter was written to the Prime Minister by several churches, including The Presbyterian Church in Canada, responding to the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and seeking that the federal government and all political parties affirm a commitment to a just relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada. The letter advocated for the passage of Bill C-262, an act to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. While Bill C-262 passed in the House of Commons it died on the order paper when the parliamentary session ended and did not pass into law.

Rec. No 3 – re water, 2017
The moderator wrote to the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs drawing attention to the dire circumstances of the 87 Indigenous communities under Drinking Water Advisories.

Response to Rec No 3 re clean water from Minister Bennett, 2017
The response from Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada provides details regarding a $1.8 billion investment to improve water and waste infrastructure on reserves, and outlining details to address drinking water advisories, particularly in communities where advisories have been in effect for years.

2019 – Freeland/Sajjan – Mali
This 2019 letter to the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defence expresses prayers for the safety of people involved in the conflict in Mali and for the Canadians involved in the UN peacekeeping efforts in Mali.

2020 – Champagne – Cameroon
This 2020 letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs expressing concern regarding the conflict between anglophone and francophone Cameroonians. The moderator asks the Government of Canada to express Canada’s dismay at the human rights abuses suffered by Cameroonian civilians and to urge the Government of Cameroon to engage all parties in dialogue with a third-party mediator.

2020 – Champagne – military detention of Palestinian children
This 2020 letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs expresses concern with the treatment of Palestinian children who come into Israeli military detention and requesting that the Government of Canada appoint a special envoy to promote, monitor and report on the human rights situation of Palestinian children in the Occupied Territories.

2020 – Sajjan/Champagne – arms trade treaty
This 2020 letter to the Ministers of National Defence and Foreign Affairs commends the Government of Canada for acceding to the UN Arms Trade Treaty and expresses concern that some of Canada’s export regulations for military exports to the United States do not meet the thresholds set by the Arms Trade Treaty.

2020 – Champagne – Rohingya and Myanmar
This 2020 letter to the Prime Minister commends Canada’s aid pledge in support of Rohingya refugees and asks for additional funding to address this humanitarian crisis.

2016 – Bibeau – re UNRWA
This 2016 letter to the Minister of International Development was written by several church leaders encouraging the Government of Canada to restore Canada’s financial contributions to the UN Relief and Works Agency that supports Palestinian refugees in the Middle East with medical, education and food assistance.

2020 – Mendicino – migrant workers
This 2020 letter to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship expressed concern about the vulnerability of foreign temporary workers (migrant workers) and the lack of consistent and fair access to pathways for permanent residence across of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program, and urging the Government of Canada to ensure that appropriate and adequate protections are in place to ensure the safety of migrant workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

2020 – PM Trudeau – Guaranteed Basic Income
This 2020 letter to the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance was written during the COVID-19 pandemic and expresses concern for the impact of the pandemic on the lives and livelihoods of people in Canada. The letter advocates that a guaranteed basic income would increase social and economic equity while ensuring critical assistance is provided for vulnerable people.

2019 – Duclos – poverty reduction
This 2019 letter to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development commends the development of a national poverty reduction strategy and urged the Government of Canada to establish a National Advisory Council, as noted in the strategy, and asks for information detailing progress and encouraging regular reporting to the public.