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Ontario Launches New Youth Environment Council

In Environment
Jul 21st, 2021
Andrea Khanjin, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks and MPP for Barrie-Innisfil speaks at the launch of the New Youth Environment Council with Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks David Piccini in Barrie on Wed., July 21, 2021. (Courtesy: Andrea Khanjin, MPP of Barrie-Innisfil)

Young Ontarians to have a seat at the table, providing advice to government on the environmental challenges of today and tomorrow

July 21, 2021

BARRIE — The Ontario Government is creating a new youth environment council, to provide young Ontarians in grades 9 to 12 with more opportunities to share their insights and ideas on climate change and other key environmental issues impacting the province’s future. Ontario youth in high school are encouraged to apply to be volunteer members of the council by August 4.

“As the youngest environment minister in Ontario’s history I am excited to launch this new youth environment council to ensure our next generation are at the table in helping find solutions to some of the most pressing environmental challenges of our time such as climate change and conservation,” said David Piccini, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. “As the leaders of tomorrow, we want to work together with youth as we look for ways to protect our environment, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for the impacts of climate change.”

Members of the youth council will meet monthly from September to April to hear from expert guest speakers, discuss a range of environmental and climate change issues and provide input on potential solutions to ministry officials, including the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks.

Eligible youth can apply to be members of the consultation group by completing an application form on ontario.ca/YEC by August 4, 2021 at 11:59 pm. Candidates must currently be in grades 9 to 12 now, or as of the 2021 fall school year, and should have a passion for the environment, an understanding of key climate-related issues and solutions in their regions, and work or volunteer experience with activities related to climate change and the environment.

The Ministry is collaborating with a wide range of stakeholders that engage with youth to ensure we have applicants with diverse interests. Applicants from across the province, including Indigenous communities, are encouraged to apply. Members of the Ontario Youth Environment Council will be announced later this summer.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario continues to take meaningful action to lower greenhouse gas emissions and meet our 2030 target, while helping communities prepare for the impacts of climate change. Some of our recent accomplishments include:
    • Finalized and received federal recognition of Ontario’s emissions performance standards to ensure large, industrial emitters are accountable for their greenhouse gas emissions.
    • Created the Cleaner Transportation Fuels regulation to set requirements that increases requirements for renewable content in gasoline while maintaining requirements for diesel. The new regulation requires fuel suppliers to blend renewable content (such as ethanol) in gasoline to 11 per cent in 2025, 13 per cent in 2028 and 15 per cent in 2030.
    • Released a low-carbon hydrogen discussion paper to inform a low-carbon hydrogen strategy that could create jobs and help the province move towards its greenhouse gas reduction target.
    • Launched the first-ever broad, multi-sector provincial climate change impact assessment to identify where the province is vulnerable to climate change. Following a competitive procurement process, Ontario selected a consulting team led by the Climate Risk Institute to conduct the assessment.
  • Ontario’s 2019 greenhouse gas emissions have decreased by 21 per cent since 2005, while at the national level, Canada’s 2019 emissions went down by only 1.1 per cent since 2005.


“Ducks Unlimited Canada congratulates the Government of Ontario on establishing the Ontario Youth Environment Council. We know from experience that engaging youth in conservation ignites their passion for the environment and fosters positive change in their communities. We look forward to seeing how these bright young students will help shape the province’s environmental and climate change solutions, programs and policies.”

– Mariane Bolla
Head of National Education, Ducks Unlimited Canada

“Motivate Canada is excited that the Government of Ontario is establishing the Ontario Youth Environment Council – leveraging the passion and innovation of young Ontarians to contribute to important social issues. Meaningful engagement of diverse youth in systematic change is a win for Government, youth and our environment, and we are confident that the outcomes will provide positive environmental solutions for generations to come.”

– Lisa Kwiatkowski
Chief Executive Officer, Motivate Canada

“The environmental choices we make today will have a profound impact on our children’s future, which is why they deserve a seat at the table. Providing youth with the opportunity to express their concerns and ideas directly to the Minister and get a better understanding of the inner workings of government and how decisions are made is a powerful experience and wonderful opportunity. I look forward to seeing what the outcomes of the new Ontario Youth Environment Council will be.”

– Tovah Barocas
President, Earth Rangers

“The impacts of climate change are far-reaching and will affect young people for generations to come. We know that young people have an important perspective to contribute and that is why it’s important to engage them.”

– Savraj Syan
Co-Chair of the YMCA of Greater Toronto’s Youth Advisory Committee

“Having the opportunity to sit at the table, understand civic process and be part of the solution is a wonderful way for generations to come together to advance a common goal. We do know the greater the diversity, the better the decisions. Having had the chance to be part of the Y’s governance, listening and advising the charity, has been the learning opportunity of a lifetime and I encourage young people to shine in this type of role.”

– Brandon Tomassi
Co-Chair of the YMCA of Greater Toronto’s Youth Advisory Committee

“Young people, more than others, have a huge stake in the future of our environment. Their advice can help create a better future.”

– Tim Gray
Executive Director, Environmental Defence

“We need to actively engage youth from across Ontario on conservation issues and give them meaningful opportunities to contribute ideas and energy that positively influences their future. Nowhere is this more important than in our fight against climate change with a scope, scale, and urgency never seen before. We hope this new youth environment council will give them that chance.”

– Angelo Lombardo
Executive Director, Ontario Federation of Anglers & Hunters

“OSTA-AECO would like to sincerely thank Minister Piccini as well as the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, and are excited to see the results of elevating and including student voices on such important matters. We are looking forward to seeing the trajectory of this uplifting initiative and hope that it will encourage robust and widespread leadership in environmental sustainability among Ontario’s youth.”

– Justine Mackay
President, Ontario Student Trustees’ Association

Additional Resources

Learn more about the Ontario youth environment council and how to apply

Read our plan to protect our land, air and water

See the original news release here

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