DELEGATION REPORT: 2016 Youth 7 Summit

Youth 7 2016 | Tokyo, Japan (30 April – 4 May 2016)

The Youth 7 Summit (Y7) 2016 was held in Tokyo, Japan, from April 30-May 3, 2016. In order to promote the inclusion of the youth voice in the G7 process, the organizers had to ensure there was a successful recruitment and negotiation process with young leaders. The conference was extremely successful overall, with productive international exchange from a diverse group of youth under 30 years of age, from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and the European Union and observers from Cameroon, Norway and Turkey.

We are extremely proud of the final communiqué, as it truly embraces the vision of youth in G7 countries. The Canadian delegation considers the following policies to be the priorities for implementation in Canada:

  • Address the substantial deficiency in empirical and evaluative research of counter-terrorism initiatives to design more effective policy while empowering community and grass-roots level actors with the resources needed to address radicalization. 
  • Facilitate and promote the integration of refugees in host communities while respecting their cultural identities by galvanising positive political rhetoric such that refugees may be perceived as enhancing social capital rather than undermining national security. In Canada, this should include transparent public service campaigns and curricula about the proven economic and social value of refugees; adjusting certification processes for foreign skilled workers in order to afford refugees the economic opportunities to live on their own means; and providing refugees with social services at the local level, including access to psychological support and cultural mediators. This should include the establishment of a buddy program matching young refugees with young Canadians.
  • Policy 23 concerns violence against women and girls, and has policy recommendations that addresses harnessing community response, education, and promoting holistic responses and pathways forward in violence, prevention, and culture change. This policy is particularly vital to Canadian youth due to the vulnerability of young people in society to violence, and their ability to foster change for the future. 
  • Policy 25 concerns education inequality, particularly in post secondary education. Addressing the inequality of postsecondary education in Canada is vital to creating a more equal future and access to opportunity for all young Canadians. 
  • Policy 21 concerns addressing gender equality, and ensuring that unpaid labour, the brunt of which is born by girls and women, is both accounted for, and repaired through progressive policy. These policies are vital for Canadian youth because young women, particularly those who are young parents, are disadvantaged in society, and can be better supported to achieve success and have access to opportunities. Furthermore, through measuring the unpaid labour which occurs in Canadian society, there can be a more accurate valuation of the Canadian economy, particularly that to which youth contribute. 
  • Rethink school curricula to include social entrepreneurship as a tangible career path for youth by including social entrepreneurship related subjects in all school programs while offering youth practical engagement during their secondary and postsecondary. This could be achieved in collaboration with the provincial ministries of education.
  • Connect youth and elderly through job creation by promoting succession planning and access to capital to facilitate the transfer of existing businesses to youth and encouraging transitional job shadowing.
  • Our delegation is extremely satisfied with the results of the Y7 negotiations. Through collaborative and successful negotiation processes, most initial Canadian policy proposals were included in part or whole in the final communiqué, with additions and improvements from other voices. Our progressive values, our reputation in the world, and our innovative insights made a difference at the negotiation table. We are now willing to take this communiqué one step further and help the federal government implement what we believe are its core recommendations.

POLICY PRIORITIES

Counter-terrorism
We believe that more in depth research is needed and that cross sector collaboration is lacking. We recommend to:

Address the substantial deficiency in empirical and evaluative research of counter-terrorism initiatives to design more effective policy while empowering community and grass-roots level actors with the resources needed to address radicalization while empowering grassroots and community level actors to engage in innovative methods of preventive and early-intervention counter-radicalization tailored to their own communities.

Action 1: Mandate researchers of Public Safety Canada in collaboration with their provincial counterparts to investigate counter-terrorism methods and develop a database.

Action 2: Develop an evaluation mechanism for all new counter-terrorism policies.

Action 3: Provide funding to independent non-profit community centres to provide psychological and rehabilitation services to radicalizing/radicalized individuals, their families and peers. The department of Justice could dispatch such funding as part of its crime prevention programs.

Action 4: Develop training programs for school staff, spiritual and community leaders in radicalization identification.

Action 5: Wisely circulate counter-narratives to terrorism on social media in collaboration with former radicals and spiritual leaders.

Integration of refugees
We believe that the Government must take action to better utilize the human capital of refugees. We recommend to:

Facilitate and promote the integration of refugees in host communities while respecting their cultural identities by galvanising positive political rhetoric such that refugees may be perceived as enhancing social capital rather than undermining national security. In Canada, this should include transparent public service campaigns and curricula about the proven economic and social value of refugees; adjusting certification processes for foreign skilled workers in order to afford refugees the economic opportunities to live on their own means; and providing refugees with social services at the local level, including access to psychological support and cultural mediators. This should include the establishment of a buddy program matching young refugees with young Canadians. 

Action 1: In Canada, provincial governments receiving a considerable number of refugees must roll out public service campaigns to galvanize positive political rhetoric such that refugees may be perceived as enhancing social capital rather than undermining national security. This involves proactively sharing successful refugee integration stories in their communities on governmental websites and social media.

Action 2: Provincial Ministries of Education must develop curricula about the proven economic and social value of refugees; Ministries of Education are also responsible for qualification recognition and must adjust certification processes for foreign skilled workers in regulated occupations in order to afford refugees the economic opportunity to live off their own means.

Action 3: Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) must enhance its social services offered at the local level to ensure that refugees have access not only to language classes, but also psychological support and cultural mediators. In this vein, CIC should develop a free buddy program matching young refugees with young Canadians.

Gender Equality
We urge Canada to reaffirm that women’s rights are human rights. Understanding that whilst men are also victims, the most frequent victims of gender based violence in G7 countries are young women; such violence is especially prevalent on postsecondary campuses and in the home. We recommend:

Promoting curricula containing elements on sexual health, mutual respect, youth mental health, and healthy and consent-based relationships, e.g., mandatory standardised testing of this knowledge before postsecondary graduation.                  

Action 1: Current education curriculum varies widely across the country, particularly that regarding sexual and mental health, some of which has not seen updates in the last 15-25 years, incorporating up-to-date values, science, and medicine. The federal government should convening with the provinces on the importance of this type of curriculum being delivered equally across the country, and encouraging and incentivizing its successful implementation in a culturally and regionally relevant way.

Action 2: The federal government should require provinces to review all curriculum across elementary and secondary education, and integrate age-appropriate and scientifically sound curriculum that addresses youth mental health; sexual diversity; sexual health, respect, and consent; and implement standardized levels of knowledge for graduation.

We believe that issues of gender equality must be addressed, including ensuring that unpaid labour, the brunt of which is born by girls and women, is accounted for and repaired through progressive policy. These policies are vital for Canadian youth because young women, particularly those who are young parents, are disadvantaged in society, and can be better supported to achieve success and have access to opportunities by:

Introducing policies to strongly incentivise all parents to take an equal share of parental leave, and ensure access to universal low-cost or free child-care;  
Incentivising gender-based policy and analysis, (e.g., recognition of the disproportionate adverse effects of climate change on women; significant rate of male suicide);  
Exploring and developing new metrics to evaluate unpaid labour in society in order to assign value to work undertaken by women and girls.  
Action 1: The federal Government currently contributes to childcare costs for families through the Universal Child Care Benefit, amongst other methods, which is a transfer of funds intended for childcare costs. However, this sum creates a false choice in childcare costs, as it is not a sufficient amount for creating flexibility in childcare options. The federal government should require the sub-federal governments to develop universal low cost or free childcare options across the provinces and territories.

Action 2: The federal Government should research and develop measures for accounting for unpaid labour in Canadian society, and utilize this metric when undertaking gender based analysis on federal policy, and incorporate it into measures of the economy.

Action 3: The federal Government should also ensure Gender Based Analysis (GBA) takes place mandatorily on all policy before approval, through more stringent requirements, and mandatory GBA+ training for all public servants, and encouraging further discussion and exchange in civil society on the implementation of GBA, and the expansion of the gender lens in policy.

Education
We recommend that Canada take immediate action to reach the goal of SDG 4 - inclusive and equitable quality education - and promotes lifelong learning opportunities for all by 2030. G7 countries should recognise that high levels of student and youth debt stifles innovation, influencing and limiting the career path of young people by:

Aiming to adopt income-based sliding scale tuition fees at all post-secondary institutions to improve access to and equality in higher education. Implement loan payment schemes, which are scaled to each person’s income level;  
Exploring tools for innovation in managing finance and debt issues related to postsecondary education, such as research experiments into basic income/living wage;

Action 1: Currently, post-secondary education tuition varies across the country and between institutions. On average, full-time postsecondary students pay $16,000 a year for their education, making formal postsecondary education an unattainable goal for many Canadians, which could put them into unsustainable debt. The federal Government should require the provinces to implement a uniform sliding-scale, income-based tuition system, which is based on family or personal income of the student. Furthermore, loan repayment schemes that are scaled to the individual’s income should be implemented as relevant to each province’s financial aid system.

Social Entrepreneurship
We believe that social entrepreneurship could play a larger role in job creation for youth and around business succession planning. We recommend to:

Rethink school curricula to include social entrepreneurship as a tangible career path for youth by including social entrepreneurship related subjects in all school programs while offering youth practical engagement during their secondary and postsecondary. This could be achieved in collaboration with the provincial ministries of education.
Connect youth and elderly through job creation by promoting succession planning and access to capital to facilitate the transfer of existing businesses to youth and encouraging transitional job shadowing.

Action 1: In collaboration with the Provinces, include subjects related to entrepreneurship in all secondary education curricula (e.g., economics, basic accounting, business planning, types of businesses, etc.). Social entrepreneurship should be seen as an alternative to working for a private employer.

Action 2: Better define social entrepreneurship as nonprofit or cooperative entrepreneurship. Industry Canada should actively promote social entrepreneurship in its communications and develop new programs for these enterprises to thrive.

Action 3: Capitalize on business succession planning by ensuring that financing options are available to youth wishing to take over existing businesses. Financial institutions should be encouraged to promote and support business succession planning.