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Ontario launches advisory council to help vulnerable, marginalized youth

Jamil Jivani, Ontario’s Advocate for Community Opportunities, MPP Todd Smith, Premier Ford and Christine Elliott, Minister of Health, at today’s briefing.

Meanwhile, Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, joined Premier Doug Ford today to announce the launch of the Premier’s Council on Equality of Opportunity, a new advisory group to help young people “overcome social and economicgg barriers and achieve success”.

Details were provided during the province’s daily briefing Thursday.

“At a time when the world is facing some of its most difficult challenges, we have to do everything we can to help our next generation of leaders overcome the social and economic barriers before them,” said Premier Ford. “Our young people are the future of this province and I truly believe this council will be a strong advocate that will set them down the path to even greater success.”

The council will have up to 20 members, including a chair and a vice-chair. Membership will be intergenerational and cross-sector, and will include youth between the ages of 18 to 29 and adults with expertise from community organizations, not-for-profit businesses, education, and government services.

The council will focus on the challenges facing young people today, such as completing an education, skills training, and employment. As an immediate priority, the council will identify strategies to support vulnerable and marginalized youth to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“The Premier’s Council on Equality of Opportunity will allow our government to hear directly from those who have faced economic challenges in our province,” said Smith. “The council’s knowledge, combined with the insight gained from engaging with communities and youth across Ontario, will help our government as we work to remove the key barriers that prevent young people from achieving their economic goals.”

Those interested in joining the council are invited to apply to the Public Appointments Secretariat by Thursday, June 18, 2020. Eligible candidates should have expertise in areas such as community service, business, education, and government services such as youth justice and child welfare.

Jamil Jivani, Ontario’s Advocate for Community Opportunities, will serve as chair of the council for the first year.

“For decades, youth from disadvantaged communities have faced barriers to succeeding in our economy. COVID-19 has made these issues worse,” he said.

Jivani noted communities across the province are saddened and outraged by recent events in the United States, specifically the death of George Floyd who died May 25 in police custody.

“We understand our responsibility as more than just to talk, but to act,” he said.

Those interested in joining the council are invited to apply to the Public Appointments Secretariat by Thursday, June 18, 2020. Eligible candidates should have expertise in areas such as community service, business, education, and government services such as youth justice and child welfare.

The Ontario government is further supporting Black communities to address the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 by allocating $1.5 million in funding to organizations that support Black families and youth. This funding is to be used to provide urgent COVID-19 supports and address the immediate needs of children, youth and families.

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