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A Message on International Youth Day

A message from Emily Lints, Executive Director, in response to the Government of Canada's funding commitments on International Youth Day:

International Youth Day has seen the commitment by the Government of Canada of millions of dollars towards youth-serving organizations with zero commitment to youth leaders. While each of these organizations are deserving of funding, we once again see a lack of youth-led organizations as well as organizations outside of Ontario. Youth-serving organizations have a history of prescribing solutions to problems that they, themselves, are not experiencing, while youth-driven organizations are left with micro-grant scraps. Youth want to aid in solving their own issues. Youth want to be at the forefront of change. Youth want to be taken seriously and have a commitment from their own government that they are worthy.

The very fact that there is no “Minister of Youth'' is a concern in itself. Instead, the responsibility of youth falls from person to person with no prioritization. Currently, Marci Ien is a representative of youth. However, she is the Minister of Women and Gender Equality AND Youth. Previously, it was Bardish Chagger, Minister of Diversity, Inclusion AND Youth. If youth are a priority, then why is the title tossed around and added to developed positions with no explanation?

Top-down funding is one of the least effective ways to help those in need. When the Government of Canada provides funding to large organizations, it goes to one of two things: a specific program or initiative that they are running, or a trickle of money down to other organizations. Until Bill S-216 is voted into legislation, only eligible charities are able to receive this trickle. Once this amendment is made, non-qualified donees, such as many grassroots organizations, will be eligible. However, the amount of funding that is left for these organizations to fight for is miniscule. The dissemination of billions of dollars towards “youth” is only to fund well-oiled machines that can access many other streams of funding. As already limited funding for youth projects is cut, such as the #RisingYouth micro-grant program, youth are more disheartened than ever.

The Canadian Government says that these funds will be allocated towards youth, but they battle other issues. In their very own State of Youth report, youth declared their own recommendations on allocation and program development, including but not limited to, youth mental healthcare, lack of employment, and climate change. If this funding is “youth focused,” then why are none of these concerns addressed, nor addressed outside of a singular province.

Systemic issues are still impacting youth in more ways than just gender-equity. Before funding optional opportunities for youth to explore their “Canadian identity,” the government should work to make sure that that identity is something to be proud of.

The Non-Profit Youth Leadership Network vows to take action and organize a Youth Funding Advocacy Initiative in early 2023. This project will bring together youth-led organizations from across the country to demand a commitment to youth-identity and youth initiatives from the Government of Canada.


Emily Lints


Executive Director

Non-Profit Youth Leadership Network

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