Diversity, Social Inclusion & Safety

Outcomes 13, 14, 15

Ontario wants youth to:

"Canadians embrace multiculturalism, human rights and diversity as fundamental values. However, there are ongoing incidents of discrimination in our society that require our continuing attention. Bullying, hate propaganda and cyberbullying are major concerns for parents and students. Racism, religious intolerance, homophobia and gender-based violence are still evident in our communities and, unfortunately, in our schools...

Ontario is Canada’s most diverse province, and we must find solutions to these concerns. We must address the needs of a rapidly changing and increasingly complex society by ensuring that our policies evolve with changing societal needs." Ministry of Education, “Quick Facts: Ontario’s Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy” (2013)

This year, Ontario launched strategies that focus on improving youth outcomes related to diversity, social inclusion and safety. In addition, the province announced new, enhanced or expanded “whole of population” strategies that will have a significant impact on youth. These strategies and programs include:

Strategies and Programs Supporting Outcomes

The Journey Together: Ontario’s Commitment to Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples

Lead: Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation

New! On May 30, 2016, the Premier made a historic statement of commitment to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and a formal apology for the policies and practices supported by past Ontario governments, and the harm they caused.

At the same time, the province released The Journey Together: Ontario’s Commitment to Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. This report sets out actions towards reconciliation. It is supported by an investment of $250 million over three years. Working with Indigenous partners, the province is taking action in five areas:


Ontario Indigenous Children and Youth Strategy

Lead: Ministry of Children and Youth Services

Ontario is working with First Nations, Métis, Inuit and urban Indigenous partners to implement the Ontario Indigenous Children and Youth Strategy together.

Through the strategy, Indigenous communities and the government are building stronger bonds and improving services to meet the needs of Indigenous children and youth. This will enable the Indigenous community to have a holistic, culturally based and community-driven approach to children and youth services.

The vision of the strategy is for First Nations, Métis, Inuit and urban Indigenous children and youth to be healthy, happy, resilient, grounded in their cultures and languages, and thriving as individuals and as members of their families and Nations or communities.

Once the strategy is implemented, Indigenous communities and service providers in Ontario will have greater authority over child and family services. The strategy will also build Indigenous perspectives and cultures into all programs and policies.

The strategy is based on the following five pillars:


It’s Never Okay: An Action Plan to Stop Sexual Violence and Harassment

Leads: Ministries of the Status of Women, Community Safety and Correctional Services

Sexual assault can and does happen to anyone. It’s Never Okay is the government’s groundbreaking action plan to stop sexual violence and harassment. The government has committed $41 million over three years to support its implementation.

New in this report:

Ontario’s Culture Strategy

Lead: Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport

New! Engagement in arts and culture is a catalyst for creative thinking and innovation. This year, Ontario launched its first Culture Strategy, which embraces our diversity and builds on initiatives already taking place. Initiatives include those meant to inspire the next generation and help youth build careers in the culture sector by:


Immigration and Settlement

Lead: Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration

Ontario continued to collaborate with the federal and municipal governments and community partners to support settlement and integration of newcomers to Ontario. This year, efforts included taking action to welcome resettled refugees from Syria and other parts of the world.

New in this report:

Youth Justice Services

Lead: Ministry of Children and Youth Services

Youth justice services have transformed from a custody-focused system to a continuum of community-based and custodial programs. These services are designed to improve outcomes, create opportunities, meet diverse needs and successfully transition youth out of custody and into the community. Nine out of ten youth now receive service in the community.

New in this report:



Ontario Provincial Police Youth Initiatives

The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Northern Community Youth Initiatives are youth programming and community wellness initiatives provided to remote First Nations communities. Through consultation with Chief, Council and school staff, programming needs are assessed and themes developed. During 2015–16, activities took place in:

The OPP’s Aboriginal Policing Bureau supports Indigenous youth through:

A partnership with the Aboriginal Sport and Wellness Council of Ontario (ASWCO) is directly linked to Game ON: The Ontario Government’s Sport Plan and the 2017 North American Indigenous games.

What the Data Says

Data from the Profile of Youth Wellbeing

Case Study


CANVAS is working to create a culture that is free from sexual violence, homophobia and transphobia.

CANVAS Arts Action Programs (CANVAS) is a youth-led non-profit organization that runs customized arts programming using spoken word poetry, photography and drama for trans and queer youth, youth with disabilities, and youth from low-income communities.

CANVAS facilitators give unique interactive workshops that combine art with education and social action. Participants gain a critical understanding of consent, sexual pressures, rape culture, gender identity, sexual orientation, and LGBTQ+ inclusion. They also learn how to be advocates for change and support their peers.

Since August 2014, CANVAS has reached over 2,000 students and more than 1,000 youth workers, camp staff members, and lawyers. CANVAS has partnered with community organizations across Toronto and has received funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Toronto Arts Council, ArtReach, Laidlaw Foundation and the Canadian Women’s Foundation.

“I now know that we are the solution and the change.”Middle School Student, Voice Integrative School