OTTAWA — The federal government is moving to create a Canada Service Corps to give young Canadians new opportunities to serve and build their communities, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Tuesday morning on Instagram Live.
Through different partnerships, profiled on a new government website, young Canadians may apply for grants to improve their community and link up with different volunteer opportunities. Organizations will also be able to apply for new federal funding to help give young Canadians an opportunity to get involved.
Katimavik, the youth volunteer-service organization, for example, told HuffPost Canada it will be relaunching in July 2018 and accepting applications as of Feb.15. Apathy Is Boring said it was given federal money to launch a new program, Rise, supporting civil and democratic engagement projects in seven cities for those 18 to 30 years old.
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"More meaningful volunteer and service opportunities means more young people will have the chance to practice leadership, develop individual strengths, and gain essential life and work experiences," the government said in a news release.
The Canada Service Corps would instill a sense of civic engagement and global citizenship, the government added.
Trudeau told his Instagram audience that he hoped to create a volunteer service program that is as diverse as Canada and offers numerous opportunities to serve.
"I don't think it makes any sense for a country as fortunate and well off as Canada to ever have to say to young person, 'No, we don't have a service opportunity for you.' Any young person who wants to serve should find ways that suit them of contributing to their community, of contributing to their country, of contributing to their world," Trudeau said.
The prime minister, who is also the minister of youth, was formerly the chair of Katimavik. Trudeau's first legislative effort in the House of Commons was to propose a motion considering the introduction of a national voluntary service for young people.
Trudeau frequently notes that about 10,000 young people applied every year to join Katimavik but that few were granted the opportunity.
Trudeau said he was looking forward to building a program that would give young people options and 'easy one-stop shopping' that they need to figure out how best they could contribute.
Patty Hajdu, the minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, who joined Trudeau on the call, said she was particularly excited that the new website would offer a matching system for those looking for volunteer opportunities.
"It can be really challenging, especially if you are sort of shy and you don't necessarily have that confidence to go out and you know call random organizations," she said.
The Liberal government is pledging $105 million over the next four years for the Canada Service Corps. It intends to fund national, regional and local scale projects for those 15 to 30 years old. Some 4,000 young people will receive small grants, $250 to $1,500, to engage in what the government calls service-related projects.
During the 2015 election, the Liberals pledged to invest $25 million in a restored Youth Service Program.