Civic Engagement & Youth Leadership

Photo of two youth, one male and one female, working on sidings of building.

Young people have innovative ideas and diverse perspectives. When they are given the right tools and opportunities to lead, they are well positioned to make positive changes in their communities. Ontario is committed to engaging young people in decision making on policies that impact them and creating opportunities for their voices to be heard.

Outcomes #16, 17, 18

Ontario wants youth to:

This year, Ontario encouraged civic engagement and leadership in young people. It supported them to get involved and created opportunities for their voices to be heard and reflected in policy-making. Its programs and policies have made progress in the following areas:

New in 2014–2015

Supporting Young People to be Heard

Photo of young girl talking on cell phone.

This year, Ontario enhanced opportunities to engage youth in the decisions that impact them and supported youth to be involved in their communities.

Data from the 2015 Profile

  • 38.2% of youth voted in the last (2011) federal election.

New in 2014–2015

Providing Opportunities for Youth to be Involved and Lead: TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games

This year, Ontario supported opportunities for youth to volunteer at the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games and participate in cultural events. As part of the games, programs across Ontario provided youth with occasions to connect, meet new people, develop skills, and gain experiences that will enrich their lives.

Graphic illustration of PAACHI for the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games.

What the Data Says

Data from the 2015 Profile

  • The youth volunteer rate in Ontario is 69.3%.

New in 2014–2015

Addressing Social Issues through Youth Innovations

Photo of a woman and girl sitting at a table

Investing in youth-led innovation creates real benefits for young people and their communities. Supporting youth-led innovation is an important way to build an innovation-based economy, address social problems and empower young people to act as agents of social change.

Data from the 2015 Profile

  • 16.7% of youth volunteered to support a group or organization.
  • 10.4% of youth volunteered in activities to protect the environment.
  • 3.3% of youth participated in activities to support a political party or group.

Case Study

The London Youth Advisory Council

The London Youth Advisory Council (LYAC) is an elected youth government that represents London youth aged 15 to 25 and amplifies their voices to local politicians and civic leaders. The LYAC ensures that young people are recognized as active participants in community decision-making processes.

Youth councillors build on their existing skills by starting community development projects, opening up conversations, conducting research and advocating on behalf of their constituents. They have authored budget submissions and policy papers and have conducted public engagement sessions that have brought young voices into the policy process. The LYAC is an opportunity for young people to participate in the political process at an early age: about 100 young people in London have run for election in the last three years.

"Being involved in the LYAC has been a very empowering and humbling experience. Empowering, because it has given me a space to express my opinions and ideas as well as a confidence to do things I wouldn’t normally feel I have the capacity to do. Humbling, because of the knowledge and wisdom that is shared in each of our focus groups and because of the relationships that I have built with many inspiring constituents and dedicated peers." —Nicole Worozbyt, Ward 4 Youth Councillor, the LYAC (2014–present)

LYAC Councillors design, analyze and advocate for policies, projects and processes that reflect varying youth perspectives.

LYAC Councillors design, analyze and advocate for policies, projects and processes that reflect varying youth perspectives.