Harper Government Invests in Encounters with Canada

OTTAWA, April 2, 2012 /CNW/ - Young people will continue to have the opportunity to come to Ottawa and gain a better understanding of their country, thanks to an investment from the Government of Canada. The Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, today announced funding for an additional three years to Encounters with Canada. Minister Moore made the announcement as he met with participants of the program during their visit to Parliament Hill.

Encounters with Canada is a week-long bilingual program that gives youth aged 14 to 17 from different backgrounds and regions the opportunity to come to Ottawa and get to know one another, discover their country, and gain a better understanding of Canada's institutions. Approximately 3,000 students participate in this program every year during the 26 weeks it runs from September to May. This year marks the program's 30th anniversary.

"By participating in Encounters with Canada, young Canadians are given an invaluable opportunity to come to our nation's capital to discover Canada, learn about its institutions, develop leadership skills, and have an extraordinary experience," said Minister Moore. "We are pleased to invest in the future leaders of this great country, and I hope their experience in the program deepens their knowledge of Canada, our history, and our key institutions."

"This contribution will enable Encounters with Canada, a program of the Historica-Dominion Institute—the largest independent organization dedicated to Canadian history, identity, and citizenship—to continue promoting this message, along with youth leadership and assisting our young people in making more informed career choices," said Linda Brunet, Director General, Encounters with Canada. "The support of the Government of Canada has been invaluable, and we look forward to a continued association for many years to come."

The week-long Encounters with Canada experience is divided into two parts. The first part focuses on Canadian institutions, such as the House of Commons and the Senate, and includes a guided tour of the National Capital Region. The second part of the week is organized around different themes; the theme for the week of April 2 is the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

During his time with the participants, Minister Moore spoke about the importance for young Canadians to learn more about Canada's history. He also encouraged them to share what they experienced during the week with their friends and family to inspire them to increase their knowledge of our country's history.

The Government of Canada has provided funding of $10,275,000 over three years through the Exchanges Canada program of the Department of Canadian Heritage. This initiative helps Canadian youth connect with one another, experience the diversity of Canada's communities, languages and cultures, and get involved in the future of the country.

(This news release is available on the Internet at www.canadianheritage.gc.ca under Newsroom.)


For further information:

For more information (media only), please contact:

Sébastien Gariépy
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage
and Official Languages
819-997-7788

Media Relations
Canadian Heritage
819-994-9101
1-866-569-6155
media@pch.gc.ca