In the past decade, there have been a several fledgling government and private efforts to adapt and implement YouthBuild in Canada in Toronto, Halifax, Saskatoon, and Regina.  Most of these efforts never came to fruition due to lack of funding, lack of local capacity, and the inability to couple federal and provincial funding for skills training and education into a comprehensive, integrated approach.  However, in Winnipeg, a small and persistent initiative has been experimenting with the YouthBuild approach.  Now, with the support of the Manitoba Institute for Trade and Technology (MITT), the Department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada), and the Manitoba Ministry of Children and Youth Opportunities, a site is operating at MITT.  Meanwhile, Les YMCA du Québec in Montréal and Atoskiwin Training & Employment Center in Nelson House are readying pilot programs.

Canada’s high rate of youth employment compared to the OECD average, coupled with the country’s decades-long increase in high school completion, belies a grim reality for immigrant, minority, Aboriginal, and disabled youth.  These young Canadians—outside the mainstream, victims of discrimination, poor, and often in rural communities—are leaving school and not joining the labour market at a troublingly high rate.  They are unemployed at more than three times the rate for adults, and nearly double the rate for mainstream youth.  The country’s overall youth unemployment rate is 13% but for young people on the margins of society, it is 23%. Fifty percent of First Nations children, living on-reserve, start each day in an overcrowded, inadequate home that likely is in need of repairs, has asbestos, mold, and may not have drinking water. Given that First Nations people are now recognized as the youngest and fastest growing segment of the Canadian population and that 94% of First Nations have waiting lists for housing, the ever-growing demand for better housing could best be met by investing in human capital to address this demand.

YBC’s long-term goal is to establish a national network of 30 local YouthBuild programs engaging 2000 young people each year in the 13 provinces and territories to increase economic security while improving communities, and building the 21st Century workforce.

  • Les YMCA du Québec
  • Manitoba Institute for Trade and Technology
  • YMCA Canada
  • Colleges and Institutes Canada (CiCAN)   
  • Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation
  • Manitoba Ministry of Children and Youth
  • Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
  •  Atoskiwin Training & Employment Center
  • Castle Construction (Pending)
  • Assembly of First Nations