Youth Voices, Civic Choices

Explore the Impactful Initiatives of the Ottawa Youth Engagement Committee

The Ottawa Youth Engagement Committee (OYEC) is a dynamic group of passionate young individuals and community leaders who have joined hands with the City of Ottawa to effect positive change for the youth population. Their efforts are dedicated to shaping official decisions and enhancing outreach initiatives that will make Ottawa an even better place for youth. OYEC has recently introduced some new initiatives, we’ve highlighted them below!

The Middle Ground Project: A Seat at the Table

Central to OYEC’s mission is the Middle Ground Project, a platform designed to amplify the voices of young individuals on issues they are deeply passionate about. The project serves as a roundtable discussion, bringing together youth, individuals directly impacted by the topic under consideration, and individuals with diverse knowledge relevant to the subject. In OYEC’s first ever roundtable, the committee delved into the pressing issue of food insecurity and featured thought-provoking dialogue from guests Fatimah Karim and Mathilde Doucet, who brought their unique insights to the discussion. Additionally, OYEC representative Rehani contributed the committee’s perspective. 

Consultations with the City of Ottawa: Collaborative Decision-Making

In addition to the middle ground project roundtable discussions, the committee has actively conducted consultation sessions with various branches of the City of Ottawa, facilitating a direct line of communication between youth and decision-makers. Notable consultations have been carried out with the Anti-Racism, Women & Gender Equity Branch, and the Climate Change Branch.

During these consultations, key figures like Pei-Ju Wang involved with the city’s Anti-Racism strategy and Sharzad Gharabaghi & Emma Langham from the Climate Crisis department have shared valuable insights. Pei-Ju Wang highlighted the city’s Anti-racism strategy plan, while Gharabaghi and Langham led discussions on the climate resilience strategy plan. These consultations serve as a bridge, fostering understanding and collaboration between youth and city departments, resulting in informed decision-making that better addresses the concerns of young residents.

Sub-Committees in Action: Addressing Crucial Issues

OYEC’s sub-committees are tirelessly working on initiatives that directly impact the youth of Ottawa:

  • The Mental Health Subcommittee is partnering with United Way and Ottawa Public Health to organize a crucial conversation on “Youth Mental Health, Substance Abuse & Addiction.” Their initiatives include listening tables, focus groups, and engagement with organizations like the Rural Mental Health Collective and YNRA YAC.
  • The Human Rights Subcommittee collaborates on the Middle Ground Media Project alongside other sub-committees.
  • The Climate Crisis Subcommittee focuses on information dissemination through social media, the green roof project, and continued city consultations.
  • The Affordability Subcommittee is closely involved in the Middle Ground Project, highlighting youth perspectives on affordability challenges.

Building Momentum: OYEC Recruitment is Active

The Ottawa Youth Engagement Committee stands for youth-driven change in the heart of the city. OYEC welcomes young change makers to participate in initiatives like the Middle Ground Project, and to get involved in direct consultations with city departments. OYEC empowers young voices, enhances collaboration, and shapes policies that resonate with the needs and aspirations of Ottawa’s youth. As projects continue to make an impact, the committee exemplifies the importance of active youth engagement in building a better, more inclusive future. This year’s OYEC committee gathered to chat about why they joined and what initiatives they would like to tackle.  If you are interested in learning more about OYEC or become involved as a member, you can learn more here.