Prime Minister’s Youth Council seeking members

Photo via Thinkstock
Photo via Thinkstock

Council to advise PM on youth issues

By Mercedes Deutscher, News Editor

On July 19, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, within his position as Minister of Youth, announced the details of the Prime Minister’s Youth Council, via an open discussion on Twitter.

The council is to be made up of 30 individuals, aged 16–24, selected from areas all over the country and coming from varying social communities. Their goal will be to advise the Prime Minister and other members of Parliament on issues regarding young Canadians, such as employment and education. The input received from the council can affect future policy and budgets.

Applications have been open since July 22.There will be two waves of selections: the first closing applications on August 12, and the second closing on October 7. There will be two stages in the application process for each wave. Of all who apply, 300 youth will advance to the next stage. Those 300 youth will be divided into 3 groups of 100, based on highest community engagement, applicants with diverse backgrounds, and a random selection. These categories are designed to create a set of finalists who are well-versed in their communities, diverse, and representative of all youths in Canada. All 300 will be interviewed and be asked to send in additional material on why they should be selected. The final committee will then be selected from the two waves combined.

The councillors can serve a single term of up to two years. They are expected to meet with each other both offline and online throughout the year. Additionally, they will meet with the Prime Minister four times per year.

Ideally, while the opportunity is open to all Canadian youth, there has been some concern shared by youth living in Northern Canada—especially from those living in Nunavut, where bandwidth is too limited to host online meetings, and offline meetings require travelling.

“There are so many Inuit youth across Canada who have lived experiences, who contribute to their respective communities in a very meaningful way, and who deserve a place at that table,” said Maatalii Okalik, President of the National Inuit Youth Council, to CBC.

The concept of the council was first introduced during the 2015 federal election. It later received a formal announcement during the release of the Federal Budget back in April. This council will be unprecedented, as no previous prime minister has ever created a youth council. Ideally, it will lead to more influence from younger Canadians, some of whom aren’t even old enough to vote. It may also lead to better employment opportunities, especially in politics, to those who serve on the council.