THUNDER BAY – Today, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, together with Parliamentary Secretary Don Rusnak, on behalf of the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, announced $5.6 million in federal funding for a crime prevention project as one response to the Seven Youth Inquest that examined the deaths of seven Indigenous youth in Thunder Bay.
To support vulnerable youth and avoid similar tragedies, the City of Thunder Bay will implement a Youth Inclusion Program (YIP) in the community. Funded through the National Crime Prevention Strategy(NCPS), the five-year program will target participants aged 12-24, with a special focus on Indigenous youth who go to Thunder Bay to continue their education. It is expected to reach 1,075 participants over its duration.
“The deaths of the seven Indigenous youth in Thunder Bay are tragedies that we, collectively, must ensure are never forgotten or repeated. Through investment in the Youth Inclusion Program, the Government of Canada is taking important steps to help Indigenous youth succeed in their schooling, adapt to a new community and, most importantly, stay safe,” says Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, on behalf of the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
“Indigenous youth come to cities like Thunder Bay to continue their education. We need to welcome them and make every effort to help them succeed. I am proud to announce federal support for a program that will greatly assist newcomers to our city by building their confidence and providing peer support and mentorship,” adds Don Rusnak, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indigenous Services and Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay-Rainy River.
“We acknowledge and thank the Government of Canada for its support through the Crime Prevention Action Fund. Thank you for entrusting us with this funding to provide social, recreational and cultural opportunities to enhance the lives of youth in Thunder Bay,” adds Keith Hobbs, Mayor of Thunder Bay.
Youth are Canada’s most valuable resource. However, there are many who are vulnerable, which is why the Government of Canada makes it a priority to support preventative programming for at-risk youth.
The YIP, which begins this year, will address youth crime prevention, youth well-being and youth safety through proactive community engagement and individualized support. It will focus on providing mentorship opportunities for Indigenous youth going to school in Thunder Bay, which was recommended by the Inquest.
The Seven Youth Inquest was called by the Government of Ontario to examine the deaths of seven Indigenous youth, who died between 2000 and 2011. All were from remote northern communities and went to Thunder Bay to attend high school.