Youth programs

Learn how the Government of Canada is responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Call to Action 66.

Based on data provided December 2022.

66. We call upon the federal government to establish multi-year funding for community-based youth organizations to deliver programs on reconciliation, and establish a national network to share information and best practices.

What's happening?

The Government of Canada launched a 3-year Indigenous youth-led pilot program in 2019 in partnership with Canadian Roots Exchange to support the government's commitment to advancing the related goals of reconciliation, self-determination, co-development and strengthening and rebuilding the Crown-Indigenous relationship with Indigenous youth, in efforts to support their leadership development.

The pilot program was informed by engagements in 2017 undertaken from 3 independent youth advisors and their report, Indigenous Youth Voices, A Roadmap to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Call to Action 66, June 4, 2018.

The pilot program is establishing strong pathways for Indigenous youth from across the country to come together, support each other and engage with federal departments on key policy initiatives that impact Indigenous youth and their communities.

Sustained support for these relationships and networks will be important to advance co-development involving Indigenous youth, capacity building, the integration of Indigenous youth voices and Indigenous recruitment strategies.

Recent budget investments

In spring 2020, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs provided Canadian Roots Exchange with funding to support a shared space to house an Indigenous Youth-led Policy and Research Innovation Hub in Ottawa. The hub supports:

  • an innovative neutral shared space for Indigenous youth and partners to work alongside each other
  • knowledge translation and safe open discussions
  • the hosting of speakers and panels on policy topics
  • positioning and empowering Indigenous youth as agents of change through active co-development, consultation and engagement, creating lasting partnerships between the Crown, Public Service and Indigenous communities

Recent progress

In the second year of the pilot program, Canadian Roots Exchange implemented ambitious and innovative Indigenous youth-led activities designed to inform recommendations on the full implementation of Call to Action 66. Examples of initiatives include:

In response to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadian Roots Exchange developed and implemented new innovative programming that empowered youth-led projects on COVID-19 response efforts aimed at community wellness and resiliency.

Since August 2021, the Canadian Roots Exchange continued the implementation of ambitious and innovative Indigenous youth-led activities designed to inform recommendations on the full implementation of Call to Action 66. Engagements are projected to further enhance evidence-based initiatives that ensure the perspectives of Indigenous youth contribute to decision-making and advance youth priorities.

Next steps

The pilot program is moving into its final year. In addition to continued support from Canadian Roots Exchange, the pilot will initiate targeted engagements with Indigenous youth. These engagements aim to enhance the evidence and inform recommendations to the Government of Canada for more permanent funding and a longer-term approach to Call to Action 66 that amplifies the perspectives of Indigenous youth in decision-making and advances youth priorities.

To advance the Government of Canada's priorities to build capacity and increase the representation of Indigenous Peoples at all levels within the public service, the department continues to work with Canadian Roots Exchange's Indigenous Youth Policy School and other federal partners to explore options to support Indigenous youth mentoring and employment opportunities.

Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs has put in place an Indigenous Youth Liaison function to work part-time with Canadian Roots Exchange and part-time with the department to advance pilot priorities and to build trust among Indigenous youth. The Indigenous Youth Liaison is responsible for maximizing collaboration and advancing co-development approaches with the Government of Canada in efforts to create sustainable and reciprocal partnerships that last beyond the life of the pilot.

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