Coordinated & Youth-Friendly Communities

Outcomes 19, 20

Ontario wants youth to:

A youth-friendly community supports young people in many ways. It gives them opportunities to participate in cultural and recreational activities and to volunteer and develop leadership skills. It also engages them with their friends, families and others in fun and meaningful ways. A youth-friendly community benefits the entire community, not just youth.20

This year, Ontario continued to invest in strategies that support outcomes of coordinated and youth-friendly communities, including:

Strategies and Programs Supporting Outcomes

Youth Opportunities, Ontario’s Youth Action Plan and the Enhanced Youth Action Plan

Lead: Ministry of Children and Youth Services

Ontario is among the best places in the world for youth to grow up and become successful adults. However, being a young person today is not always easy. Many young people need help to grow up healthy, happy, safe and engaged. Ontario supports youth through the evolving Youth Opportunities Strategy (2006), Ontario’s Youth Action Plan (2012), Enhanced Youth Action Plan (2015), and their related programs and services. These initiatives aim to support at-risk youth, address youth violence and improve community services. They also focus government funding on those youth and communities most in need of support.

New in this report:

The following programs were launched through the Enhanced Youth Action Plan:

Programs that were enhanced or expanded include:

To support a new Middle Years Strategy for children aged 6 to 12 and their families, the following program was also enhanced:


Special Needs Support

Lead: Ministry of Children and Youth Services

Some children and youth may need extra support because they have challenges or delays in their physical, intellectual, emotional, social, language or behavioural development. Ontario provides services so they can participate fully at home, at school, in the community and as they prepare to achieve their goals for adulthood.

New in this report:

Biodiversity: It’s in Our Nature

Lead: Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

Ontario is improving the protection of its forests, lakes, animals, plants and citizens through implementation of its biodiversity plan, Biodiversity: It’s in Our Nature. The plan includes a number of youth and family initiatives.

New in this report:


Game ON: The Ontario Government’s Sport Plan

Lead: Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport

New! Building on the success of the Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, the province launched Game ON, its new sport plan. The plan will help more Ontarians participate and excel in sport through its three pillars of participation, development and excellence.

Initiatives included:

#CycleON: Ontario’s Cycling Strategy

Lead: Ministry of Transportation

#CycleON is Ontario’s 20-year vision for cycling in the province. The strategy’s goal is to help make Ontario the number one province for cycling in Canada.

New in this report:

Community Hubs

Lead: Ministry of Infrastructure

Community hubs are being created to bring services together and use spaces to better serve Ontarians. A community hub can be a school, neighbourhood centre or other public space that offers coordinated services such as education, health care and social services. Many existing community hubs have been created and managed by local organizations and champions. Ontario’s nearly 5,000 schools are ideal locations for community hubs, as many of them are the heart of their community and are accessible.

New in this report:

Building Ontario: Our Infrastructure Plan

Lead: Ministry of Infrastructure

Ontario is making one of the largest infrastructure investments in the province’s history—more than $160 billion over 12 years, starting in 2014–15. Planned infrastructure investments are improving public spaces such as schools, hospitals and community centres, while supporting more than 110,000 jobs on average each year.

New in this report:

What the Data Says

Data from the Profile of Youth Wellbeing

  • 75.7% of youth feel there are good places in their community to spend their free time.

Case Study: A Way Home Ottawa

Through A Way Home Ottawa, youth help youth get the basic necessities: food and shelter.

Preventing and ending youth homelessness is urgent work. A Way Home Ottawa is an initiative of local agencies and young people working together to prevent and end youth homelessness in Ottawa.

The coalition is organized by the Alliance to End Homelessness Ottawa, and supported by United Way Ottawa and the Catherine Donnelly Foundation. This year, work focused on two major elements: (1) engaging young people who have been homeless in order to identify strategies for prevention, and (2) listening.

A Way Home Ottawa started by hiring seven young people, most of whom have experienced homelessness, to act as youth liaisons. With their help, A Way Home Ottawa listened widely to the community, hearing from over 50 agencies, and engaged with 70 young people in order to learn how to make services better.

The goal of engaging youth in meaningful ways throughout the process has strengthened the solutions that are being identified. Perhaps most important, youth liaisons have driven the momentum of this work.

We cannot wait 10 years to end youth homelessness. We need to end it now, because in 10 years it will be too late for my friends.—Youth Liaison Co-chair