Breaking down job barriers: Expert panel on youth established

Supporting youth employment part of Government's support to middle class and those seeking to join it

GATINEAU, QC, Oct. 17, 2016 /CNW/ - As a part of its plan to grow the middle class and help those working hard to join it, the Government of Canada is establishing an Expert Panel on Youth Employment. Today, the new Panel kicked off its work with an inaugural meeting with the Honourable MaryAnn Mihychuk, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour. The Panel will aid the Government in fulfilling its commitment not only to create more job opportunities for youth, but to give young Canadians the skills and experience they need to secure and maintain good-well-paying jobs.

First announced in Budget 2016, the Expert Panel on Youth Employment will assess the barriers faced by young people in Canada, including vulnerable youth, in finding and keeping jobs. The Panel will look at innovative practices used by other governments, non‑governmental organizations and employers, at home and abroad, to improve job opportunities for youth.

The Panel will invite young people from across the country, as well as representatives from provincial and territorial governments, rural and remote communities, Indigenous groups, businesses/employers, labour unions, not‑for‑profits, think tanks and the academic community, to share their perspectives.

Chaired by Vasiliki Bednar, the Associate Director, Cities, at the Martin Prosperity Institute, the Panel will report back with recommendations to the Government of Canada by March 15, 2017. Panel members include: Maria Eugenia Longo (Institut national de la recherche scientifique), Paulina Cameron (Regional Director for BC & Yukon at Futurpreneur Canada), Adrianna Mackenzie (Pathways to Education), Sonya Gulati (Manager with KPMG's Public Sector Advisory Practice), Michael Champagne (community leader and Indigenous-rights activist, Aboriginal Youth Opportunities), Gabriel Bran Lopez (President of the Jeune Chambre de commerce de Montréal and founding President, Youth Fusion), as well as Robyn Bews (Executive Director, WORKShift Canada).

Each year, the Government of Canada invests more than $300 million in Canada's young people through the Youth Employment Strategy (YES). As announced in Budget 2016, total funding for YES is increasing by some $278 million in 2016–17, representing the largest investment in YES since its launch in 1997.


"Investing in jobs for young people is an investment in Canada's future. We're going to help young Canadians find jobs and get the best start possible to their careers. The Expert Panel on Youth Employment will look at innovative ways, both at home and abroad, to improve job opportunities for all youth – including Indigenous Canadians, differently-abled Canadians, and vulnerable youth."
– The Honourable MaryAnn Mihychuk, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour 

"Better appreciating the unique labour market challenges that Canadian youth face is critical for the nation's future prosperity. I am honoured to chair this important policy work and look forward to presenting Canadians with our findings and recommendations."
Vasiliki Bednar, Chair of the Expert Panel on Youth Employment

Quick Facts

  • Between 1990 and 2015, the average rate of unemployment for all youth (15 to 29 years old) has been 11.8%, nearly 4 percentage points higher than the general population (15 years and older) (8.1%).
  • Canada's current youth unemployment rate (15 to 24 year olds) is 13.2 % (Statistics Canada, 2016).
  • Today's youth are more educated than previous generations and are staying in school longer. In 2014, 58% of 25 to 34 year olds held a post-secondary degree, the third-highest percentage among Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries.
  • According to a Statistics Canada study, in 2012, more than one-quarter of unemployed young people (15 to 24 years old) had never worked, far more than workers between 25 and 54 years old (only 5.4%) (Statistics Canada, 2013).
  • In 2015, youth (15 to 29 years old) with less than a high school diploma had an employment rate of 53.9%, compared to youth who completed post-secondary education (86.2%).
  • According to the 2011 National Household Survey, Indigenous youth (15 to 29 years old) had poorer employment rates than their non-Indigenous peers (43.6% versus 60.5%) and are much less likely to participate in the labour market altogether. Indigenous youth living on-reserve fare even worse, with an employment rate of 21.7%, compared to 50.3% off-reserve.

Associated Links

Expert Panel on Youth Employment 
Budget 2016 
Youth Employment Strategy






Expert Panel on Youth Employment

The Expert Panel on Youth Employment is a key part of the Government's focus on Canada's youth. The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister, who is also Minister of Youth, has stated that youth issues are Canada's issues. There is no separating the two, as youth represent a critical segment of the labour force and make an important contribution to Canada's economy.

The Panel's focus will be on the issue of youth employment for individuals between the ages of 15 and 29, including vulnerable populations, in the context of the changing nature of work and the fourth industrial revolution. The Panel will examine barriers faced by young people in Canada, including Indigenous youth and youth who are not in employment, education or training (NEET) in finding and keeping employment and consider the long-term impacts of poor labour market integration and the potential for long-term negative effects.

In addition, the Panel will explore both the factors that prevent employers from hiring youth as well as best practices in the recruitment and retention of youth. It will identify and examine innovative and promising practices used by governments, employers, service providers and youth themselves, both domestically and internationally, to facilitate transitions into the labour market for youth and ensure quality employment (for example, examining the role labour market information plays in supporting youth employment). 

The Panel will also advise on enhancements to the Youth Employment Strategy (YES) in keeping with the Budget 2016 commitment to make additional investments in YES in 2017–18 and 2018–19.

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SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada

For further information: Carlene Variyan, Director of Communications, Office of the Hon. MaryAnn Mihychuk, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour,, 819-654-5611; Media Relations Office, Employment and Social Development Canada, 819-994-5559,

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