Editors note: Alfred Burgesson, a member of the Prime Minister’s Youth Council, was asked to be on an advisory board for the Canada Student Service Grant Program after the program was launched.
While he declined to participate then due to reservations about the WE Charity, he has specific recommendations for how the government program should be unrolled now.
Be Sure To Add Your Name To Our Call To Action Below The Story
We know that the $912 million Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG) was deemed a program that would allow students across the country to acquire skills and experience while contributing to their community.
- This was important as young Canadians faced depressed earnings potential and a 29.4% youth unemployment rate due to the economic impacts of COVID-19.
While thankful for the CSSG, I wasn’t overly excited about it. This is because Canada has more than 700,000 people aged 15-29 that are not engaged in employment, education, or training (NEET) who were therefore excluded from participating in the CSSG program.
Did this COVID-19 response program consider marginalized and underserved NEET youth?
- These young Canadians are capable of developing skills and contributing to their communities and broader society.
- They, too, deserve to be empowered as young leaders today.
That is why I support the Collective Action campaign below and its 5 guiding principles:
- Young people across Canada should help shape how we spend nearly one billion dollars – the CSSG should not be created by the government alone.
- We need to centre equity with this investment: prioritize organizations led by Black and Indigenous people and invite them to work with youth in their communities.
- We need to expand the funds to non-students to make this spending for youth more equitable, and perhaps develop pathways for education.
- We need to extend the program timeline past the summer to December 2020 or March 2021. The youth need more time.
- Include youth in “building back better” and launch national challenges that allow youth-led organizations to build capacity, and co-create solutions.
If we want to make this right, elected officials need to hear from as many people as possible – they need to hear from you!
Add your voice to ours by sending a message to your local elected official.
- Sign our collective action petition below.
- How Youth Can Infiltrate & Influence Systems of Power | In Conversation With Alfred Burgesson
- Trudeau & the WE Charity | Anatomy of a Scandal