"We did not wait for CNN to tell us there is a problem, rather we have been working on these issues for months because it is the right thing to do."
ONTARIO - The Ontario Government announced the Premier's Council on Equality of Opportunity.
This is a new advisory group that will provide advice on how young people can overcome social and economic barriers and achieve success.
Premier Doug Ford says the council will also advise government on long-term actions that can be taken to support youth during the COVID-19 outbreak.
"At a time when the world is facing some of its most difficult challenges, we have to do everything we can to help our next generation of leaders overcome the social and economic barriers before them. Our young people are the future of this province and I truly believe this council will be a strong advocate that will set them down the path to even greater success."
Jamil Jivani, Ontario's Advocate for Community Opportunities, will serve as chair of the council for the first year. He will work to engage directly with young people and communities across the province to identify strategies to remove barriers for youth at risk to help ensure they are not left behind. Jivani was appointed to his role last year and says this is something they have been working on for awhile.
"Last December, Premier Ford appointed me as Ontario's first ever advocate for community opportunities, in doing so he recognized that many families, including many black families have been forgotten by Governments for too long. Since then we have been taking real actions to address inequalities in our Province. We understand our responsibility is more than just talk but it's also to act. We did not start paying attention to these issues this week, because of the current news cycle. We did not wait for CNN to tell us there is a problem, rather we have been working on these issues for months because it is the right thing to do."
The council will have up to 20 members, including a chair and a vice-chair. Membership will be intergenerational and cross-sector, and will include youth between the ages of 18 to 29 and adults with expertise from community organizations, not-for-profit businesses, education, and government services.
The council will focus on the challenges facing young people today, such as completing an education, skills training, and employment. As an immediate priority, the council will identify strategies to support vulnerable and marginalized youth to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Ontario government is further supporting Black communities to address the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 by allocating $1.5 million in funding to organizations that support Black families and youth. This funding will be used to provide urgent COVID-19 supports and address the immediate needs of children, youth and families.
Those interested in joining the council are invited to apply to the Public Appointments Secretariat by Thursday, June 18, 2020. Eligible candidates should have expertise in areas such as community service, business, education, and government services such as youth justice and child welfare.