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Lockdown Generation report

August 12, 2021

TORONTO, August 12, 2021 - On International Youth Day, two of Canada’s largest youth-serving organizations, YMCA Canada and YWCA Canada are launching a youth-focused recovery plan to address the dire circumstances young people are facing in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report, titled Preventing a Lockdown Generation - A plan to support Canada’s youth in post-pandemic recovery features a 6-pronged roadmap that offers a range of actions the Federal government and others can take to support young people in post-pandemic recovery and prevent what the International Labour Organization has called a ‘lockdown generation’. This includes prioritizing meaningful employment for young people, supporting their mental health, and ensuring safe and secure housing for all through measures that combat homelessness and the housing affordability crisis.

Peter Dinsdale, President and CEO of YMCA Canada highlighted why this focus is essential, “Young people today are navigating a complex set of challenges that have only heightened during the pandemic. Whether it’s securing meaningful employment, accessing mental health services that meet their needs, or entering the housing market, the challenges have never been greater.” Dinsdale shared, “To build toward the Canada we want, we must recognize our economic recovery will be incomplete without addressing the needs of young people. That means investing in young people and the organizations that support them.”

According to Statistics Canada, during the pandemic, Canada reached the highest rate of youth not in employment, education, or training (NEET) in nearly two decades and the NEET rate was more pronounced for youth from diverse equity-deserving communities.

Maya Roy, CEO of YWCA Canada and Member of Canada’s Taskforce on Women in the Economy outlined, “Young people are not just the leaders of tomorrow, they are leading right now. But they need our support urgently to ensure they don’t experience the ‘economic scarring’ of this time for decades to come.” Roy emphasized, “The situation is even more challenging for young people experiencing multiple forms of marginalization such as young women and gender diverse youth, Black, Indigenous, and racialized youth, 2SLGBTQIAA+ youth, newcomer youth, and youth with disabilities.”

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To unpack the issues further, YMCA Canada and YWCA Canada are hosting a public event on Wednesday, August 18 from 12 noon to 1 pm ET. The event will feature opening remarks by Anjum Sultana, National Director of Public Policy & Strategic Communications at YWCA Canada, and a pan-Canadian panel discussion moderated by Jessica Stepic Lue, Vice President of Government Relations and Advocacy at YMCA Canada.

About YWCA Canada:
YWCA Canada is a leading voice for women, girls, Two-Spirit, and gender diverse people. For 150 years, we’ve been at the forefront of a movement: to fight gender-based violence, build affordable housing and advocate for workplace equity. We work to advance gender equity by responding to urgent needs in communities, through national advocacy and grassroots initiatives. YWCA Canada is the oldest and largest gender equity organization in Canada operating in 300 communities in nine provinces and two territories. Local YWCAs invest over $258 million annually to support over 330,000 individuals across the nation. Today, we engage young leaders, diverse communities, and corporate partners to achieve our vision of a safe and equitable Canada for all.

About YMCA Canada:
The YMCA is a powerful association of people joined together by a shared passion to foster a sense of belonging for all. In an age of complex social challenges, the YMCA is steadfastly dedicated to building healthy communities by inviting and encouraging Canadians to join in, give back, and gain the connections, skills, and confidence they need to thrive. As one of Canada’s largest and longest-standing charities, the YMCA is at the heart of communities serving over 2.39 million people, including over 716,000 young people, through 39 Member Associations across the country. Together, we are unwavering in our dedication to achieving meaningful outcomes that matter to the communities we serve.

For media inquiries, please contact:
Anjum Sultana - National Director of Public Policy & Strategic Communications, YWCA Canada
Email: [email protected] | Phone Number: 647 205 3079

Denise Gho - Manager, Marketing and Communications, YMCA Canada
Email: [email protected] | Phone Number: 416 846 5576