#GenerationFlux: Understanding the seismic shifts that are shaking Canada’s youth

In brief

Community Foundations of Canada conducts a national study every year to look at the quality of life of Canadians. In 2012, the study looked specifically at youth. For this study, the foundation collected research from many sources to provide a picture of youths’ quality of life. This report presents a picture of health, well-being, and employment issues facing youth in Canada.

While the high-school dropout rate fell in all provinces from the early 1990s, one in 12 youth 20 to 24 years old had not obtained a high-school diploma in 2009/10.
Canada’s 2nd highest poverty rates in 2009 were in households where the major income earner was under the age of 25 (33.8%). The rate of bullying behaviours (29% of students report having been bullied) remained the same since the first time this was measured in 2003, but cyber-bullying, a new measure in CAMH’s 2011 survey, was reported by one in five students. This represents an estimated 217,000 students in Ontario alone.

The rate of students reporting psychological distress rose to 43%, up from 36% in the 1999 survey. In Ontario, 43% of girls in grades 7–12 reported distress, up from 36% in 1999 and significantly above the 24% of boys who reported these feelings.
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Title and link to report: #GenerationFlux: Understanding the seismic shifts that are shaking Canada’s youth

Author: Dominique O’Rourke, Accolade Communications for Community Foundations of Canada

Year of report: October 2012

Location: Ottawa
Language of report: English

What this report is about

This report presents a picture of health, well-being, and employment issues facing youth in Canada. Community Foundations of Canada conducts a national study every year to look at the quality of life of Canadians. In 2012, the study looked specifically at youth. For this study, the foundation collected research from many sources to provide a picture of youths’ quality of life. Among the findings:

  • While the high-school dropout rate fell in all provinces from the early 1990s, one in 12 youth 20 to 24 years old had not obtained a high-school diploma in 2009/10.
  • Canada’s 2nd highest poverty rates in 2009 were in households where the major income earner was under the age of 25 (33.8%).
  • While the rate of bullying behaviours (29% of students report having been bullied) remained the same since the first time it was measured in 2003, cyber-bullying, a new measure in CAMH’s 2011 survey, was reported by one in five students. This represents an estimated 217,000 students in Ontario alone.
  • Fewer youth rate their emotional wellbeing positively. In 2005, 79% of youth said they were “happy and interested in life,” down from 83% in 1996. 
  • The rate of students reporting psychological distress rose to 43%, up from 36% in the 1999 survey. In Ontario, 43% of girls in grades 7–12 reported distress, up from 36% in 1999 and significantly above the 24% of boys who reported these feelings.
  • Mental health issues in youth are the second highest hospital care expenditure in Canada, surpassed only by injuries.
  • Canada’s youth suicide rate is the third highest in the industrialized world, with suicide attempts at their peak among 15- to 19-year-olds. In Ontario, girls report both contemplating (14%) and attempting suicide (4%) at twice the rate as the boys surveyed.
  • Three out of four children and youth who need specialized treatment services do not receive them.
  • About 70% of adults living with mental health problems had their symptoms develop during childhood or adolescence.
  • In 2005, one in 5 First Nations youth had a close friend or family member commit suicide in the past year.
  • By age 12, 10% of First Nations youth have thought about suicide at least once; 30% by age 17.

The report identifies the following as critical factors for the success and engagement of young people:

Personal Competencies

  • Commitment to learning
  • Positive values, social competencies and positive identity
  • Opportunities to be useful to others
  • Feeling valued in the community

Interpersonal Relationships

  • Family support and positive communication
  • Access to decision makers
  • Positive relationships with adult role models
  • Access to support systems
  • Conversations about education and democracy 

Community Support

  • Creative activities and youth programs
  • Sports & recreation to promote leadership qualities & an ethic of community service involvement of youth
  • Youth driven granting
  • Community youth partnerships
  • Youth-friendly spaces
  • Safety at home, school and in the neighbourhood

Organizational Support 

  • Supportive school and communities
  • Civics education, information and conversations lead to increased voting, so does asking young people to be involved
  • Entrepreneurial opportunities 
  • Youth role in decision-making

 

How can this report be used

This report may be of use to policymakers and developers of programs for youth.

Key words: Youth, mental health, well-being

Contact person/source:
Phone: 613.236.2664

E-mail: info [at] cfc-fcc [dot] ca

Web site: www.cfc-fcc.ca