New council to advise government on challenges facing youth amid COVID-19 pandemic


Published June 4, 2020 at 6:00 pm


At a June 4 press conference, Ontario Premier Doug Ford discussed additional measures to help cope with the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and announced the Premier’s Council on Equality of Opportunity, a new advisory group that will provide advice to young people on how to overcome social and economic barriers and achieve success.

The council will also advise the government on long-term actions that can be taken to support youth amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Today’s announcement was made by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, and Jamil Jivani, Ontario’s Advocate for Community Opportunities.

“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 and will include a chair and a vice-chair.

Membership will be intergenerational and cross-sector as well as include youth between the ages of 18 to 29 adults experienced in community organizations, not-for-profit businesses, education, and government services.

The council will focus on the challenges that young people are facing in present day, including completing an education, skills training and employment.

The council will identify strategies to support vulnerable and marginalized youth as an immediate priority to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Jamil Jivani, Ontario’s Advocate for Community Opportunities, will serve as chair of the council for the first year and will work to engage directly with young people and communities across Ontario.

He will also help to identify strategies which will remove barriers for youth at risk to ensure they are not left behind.

“For decades, youth from disadvantaged communities have faced barriers to succeeding in our economy. COVID-19 has made these issues worse. As the first chair of the Premier’s Council on Equality of Opportunity, I will work with a diverse group of leaders to help the government give young workers, especially disadvantaged youth, a fair chance to succeed in Ontario’s workforce,” said Jamil Jivani.

To further support Black communities, the Ontario government will address the impacts of COVID-19 by allocating $1.5 million in funding to organizations that support Black families and youth.

The funding will be used to provide urgent COVID-19 supports as well as address the immediate needs of children, youth and families.

“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 Minister 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 who are interested in joining the council are invited to apply to the Public Appointments Secretariat by Thursday, June 18, 2020.

Eligible candidates should have experience in areas such as community service, business, education and government services such as youth justice and child welfare.


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