IssuesYouth

Youth

First Published: Sep 18, 2019
Last Updated: Sep 18, 2019
Monitored by: Naomi Shuman

Background

In Canada, there are almost 10 million youth across the country, aged 15 to 34.  They currently represent and will continue to represent about one-quarter of the country’s population. Similar to other countries, youth in Canada today represent a smaller share of the population than in the past (more than one-third of the population in the 1970s). Western Canada and the North have the highest share of young people in their communities. In Indigenous communities, the number of First Nations, Métis and Inuit youth aged 15 to 34 has increased at a much higher rate than non-Indigenous youth, 39 percent from 2006 to 2016 compared to just over 6 percent. However, it is important to note that only 15 percent of youth live in rural communities.  

Young Canadians, today are more diverse, connected, socially engaged and educated. In 2016, 27 percent of youth identified themselves as a member of a visible minority, compared with 13 percent in 1996. Nearly 100 percent of Canadians aged 15 to 24 and 87 percent of Canadians 25 to 34 use the internet daily or own their own smartphone. The higher rate of technology use and connectedness also led to 15 percent of youth aged 15 to 34 saying they were cyberbullied or cyberstalked in the past 5 years. Youth are less likely to vote but are still socially and civically engaged. In 2017, almost 52 percent of men and almost 70 per cent of women aged 25-34 had a college certificate/diploma or a Bachelor’s degree or higher, while in 1997, 39 percent of men and 48 percent of women had the same education.

Many young Canadians are still facing challenges related to finding a full-time job, social exclusion, mental health challenges and addiction and higher risk of being obese.

Prime Minister Trudeau, when elected in 2015 chose to be Minister of Youth to show his commitment to young Canadians and ensure that their concerns were at the centre of the Government. His government created Canada’s first Prime Minister’s Youth Council to bring a diverse group of young leaders from across Canada together to provide non-partisan advice to the Prime Minister and Government on issues important to them. Young Canadians are concerned with issues that affect them like developing their careers, investing in a hope and building their future. They are also concerned with protecting democracy, fighting climate change, reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, multiculturalism and combatting gun violence.

Current Status

The Government has made steps to deliver on the issues of concern to young Canadians through investment, policy changes and programs. Specifically, Budget 2019 made a lot of commitments to address these issues. Budget 2019 will support more education, more affordable and accessible for students by lowering the interest rates of Canada Student Loans and investing in more post-graduate scholarships and fellowships through Canada Graduate Scholarships program (invest $114 million over five years, starting in 2019-20, and $26.5 million per year ongoing). It helps young Canadians gain work experience by creating up to 84,000 new work placements per year by 2023-24 (an investment of $798.2 million over five years) and growing opportunities through programs like Canada Service Corps (invest up to an additional $314.8 million over five years, starting in 2019-20, and $83.8 million per year ongoing) and Youth Employment Strategy (invest $49.5 million over the next five years, starting in 2019-20). Government also took action through Budget 2019 to help make housing more affordable for young people by creating the new First Time Home Buyer Incentive, modernizing the home Buyer’s plan (increase the withdrawal limit to $35,00 from $25,000) expanding Rental Construction Financing Initiative (invest an additional $10 billion over nine years, extending the program until 2027-28) and creating the Housing Supply Challenge (invest $300 million to launch).

The Liberal government has also made climate change its signature issue and it is one that is of particular importance to young Canadians.

Liberal

As outlined above.

Conservatives

Not yet released.

NDP

A New Democrat government will create 500,000 units of quality affordable housing in the next ten years, with half of it complete over the next five years. This plan will start with a federal investment of $5 billion in additional funding in the first year and a half. In addition, it will create fast-start funds to start construction of co-ops, social and non-profit housing. It will also remove the federal portion of the GST/HST on the construction of new affordable rental units. It will assist young families by doubling the Home Buyer’s Tax credit to $1,500 for closing costs and re-introduce the 30-year terms to CMHC insured mortgages on entry-level homes for first time home buyers. To make post-secondary education more affordable for young Canadians it will work with the provinces and territories to cap and reduce tuition, and work towards making post-secondary education part of the public education system. In addition, it will increase Canada Student Grants. The Party will work to improve working conditions for young Canadians by putting in place rules to require that part-time and contract workers be compensated equally to full-time workers. An NDP government will immediately ban unpaid internships outside of education programs. In addition, it will lower the voting age to 16 because young people are increasing engaged in the world and governments are making decisions which will impact their future.

Green Party

People's Party

Bloc Quebecois

September 18, 2019
Naomi Shuman

A Green government will create a Community and Environment Service Corps as part of the federal Youth Employment and Skills Strategy. It would provide $1 billion to municipalities to hire Canadian youth, annually.

A Green government will invest $10 billion in post-secondary and trade school supports. This will make college and university tuition free for all Canadian students. It will tie federal-provincial transfers to universities to student-professor contact and other measurable indicators. It will increase access to post-secondary education for Indigenous youth by removing the two per cent funding cap.

September 18, 2019
Roberto Chavez

If elected, Trudeau said a Liberal government would create up to 250,000 more before- and after-school spaces for kids under the age of 10, and lower fees by ten per cent across the country.

The plan also would set aside a portion of the new spaces to provide more child care options for parents who work overtime, late shifts or multiple jobs, the Liberal leader added.

Trudeau also said a re-elected Liberal government would establish a secretariat to "work with the provinces" to "lay the groundwork for a pan-Canadian child care system."

September 5, 2019
Roberto Chavez

A nationwide get-out-the-vote campaign targeting postsecondary students launches today, aiming to maintain gains in turnout at the polls among the nation’s youngest voters.

The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations, in concert with three dozen student associations, will hold events and all-party debates and hit the streets with teams to make sure students are engaged during the campaign and plan to vote on Oct. 21.

CASA ran a similar campaign during the 2015 campaign, but this time around it has expanded efforts to include digital voting reminders through emails and text messages to students who ask for the alerts.

In its first effort, some 42,000 students told the association that they planned to vote – a number the group hopes to improve upon this time with the help of 36 campus associations.

Statistics Canada said in a 2016 report that the voting rates of Canadian aged 18 to 24 years old increased by 12 percentage points between the 2011 and 2015 elections – a bigger bump than that among older voters.

The message of this campaign is that the millennial generation can have significant sway in the outcome of the election and ensure parties don’t ignore their problems and needs, if only they get involved.

August 26, 2019
Naomi Shuman

Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, announced 900 internship opportunities through the Science Horizons Youth Internship Program. Science Horizons offers internships to recent post-secondary graduates, in science, technology, engineering and mathematics to work in the clean-technology sector. These internships are part of the 2019-20 program which is now open for applications. The funding is part of a $600 million investment over three years under the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy.

August 26, 2019
Naomi Shuman

Minister of International Development and Minister for Women and Gender Equality, Maryam Monsef, on behalf of Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, announced the Government of Canada is investing more than $8.4 million over the next eight years in three projects from S.U.C.C.E.S.S. (United Chinese Community Enrichment Services Society) to support internationally trained newcomer Canadians to get their credentials recognized and young Canadians seeking to develop their skills to enter the Canadian workforce. The investment is being made through two Employment and Social Development programs: the foreign credential recognition programs and the Canada Service Corps.

August 26, 2019
Naomi Shuman

Gary Anandasangaree, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism (Multiculturalism) announced that the Government of Canada is providing $25 million to 21 youth service organizations through the Exchanges Canada Program over the next three years (2019–2022). The Exchanges Canada Program supports not-for-profit organizations that provide Canadian youth (about 13,900 annually) with a range of exchange and forum activities to strengthen their appreciation of Canada’s diverse culture, history and heritage.

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