OCIC Youth Policy-Makers Hub

The Youth Policy-Makers Hub (YPH) is a signature initiative of OCIC’s Community Engagement and Learning programs. The YPH is an multi-generational initiative that will engage diverse youth from across Ontario in international cooperation policy processes in support of Gender Equality, Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy (FIAP) action areas, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Global problems like gender inequality and climate change affect people of all ages everywhere. These complex problems require holistic inter-generational approaches, diverse mindsets, multi-disciplinary methods and multi-sectoral dialogue. OCIC recognizes the wealth of knowledge, experience and leadership that youth leaders bring to the international cooperation sector in Ontario and beyond. We want to help enable the active participation of youth at local, national and international policy-making tables to inform decisions that concern their lives, future and the planet.

OCIC’s Youth Policy-Makers Hub program goals are to: 

  • increase the awareness and interest of Ontarians, especially youth, in international cooperation and key global issues, including gender equality and the SDGs
  • offer opportunities for meaningful youth participation in advocacy and policy-making processes, and in sub-national, national and international programs, meetings, delegations 

The YPH goals are aligned with our Global Affairs Canada-funded project Inspiring Global Citizenship Initiative (2019-23) and the following guiding principles:

Read the Program (2020-2021) Concept Note

The Concept Note is also available in Accessible Word version

About the Youth Policy-Makers Hub

YPH members are:

  • Between the ages of 18-35 and living in Ontario
  • Passionate about gender equality, social and environmental justice issues
  • Keen on sharing their experience and ideas and contributing to advocacy and policy processes to address challenges at sub-national, national or international levels

As members of the Hub, youth have the opportunity to: 

  • Partake in monthly virtual learning exchange and skills development sessions to strengthen their capacity to influence policy making and advocacy processes 
  • Connect with a network of engaged youth and allies 
  • Pitch, contribute and/or lead online projects, advocacy campaigns and community engagement sessions during key moments, including International Development Week 2021
  • Apply for subsidies to attend sub-national, national or international meetings and conferences (virtually, during the pandemic)
  • Get access to OCIC events, trainings and networking opportunities for the duration of the program

Selection Process and Criteria

Youth Policy-Makers were selected by a committee composed of  OCIC staff and members, youth leaders, policy and advocacy partners. At least 50% of the committee members were youth, 18-35 years.

We believe that lived experience, activism and community organizing and engagement are crucial in mobilizing towards social change & sustainable development. We welcome and appreciate a diversity of experience. Applicants did not need to have formal work experience or academic background in policy and advocacy to apply. However, they had to be able to demonstrate an active interest in policy-making and advocacy processes and meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Be between the ages of 18 and -35 years of age and reside in Ontario as of November 1, 2020
  • Participate in a 6-month program starting in November 2020, and commit to joining the next program cycle as an Ally
  • Commit to participate in virtual monthly meetings and learning activities (approximately 10 hours per month) 

Applications from youth representing historically marginalized communities and those who are mis- or under-represented in policy and advocacy spaces had priority focus, as well as those located outside the Greater Toronto Area.

About the Allies

Allies are:

  • involved in or leading policy-focused programs and processes at the local, sub-national, national or international level and interested in helping to strengthen the capacity of diverse youth leaders to take part in policy-making arenas
  • keen on learning and sharing their experience, expertise and ideas with others in the international cooperation and other sectors about youth-led approaches to policy-making processes with regards to gender equality and the other SDGs

Allies of various ages and stages in their career (young leaders, mid-career professionals and senior leaders): 

  • help guide the development of OCIC’s new Youth Policy-Makers Hub program, in close collaboration with OCIC staff and the Youth Policy-Makers;
  • share their expertise and experience regarding youth-led and youth-focused engagement in policy-making and advocacy with the other Allies and Youth Policy-Makers in the hub and others in the international cooperation sector in Ontario.
  • participate in knowledge exchange and mobilization activities 
  • are able to participate in virtual YPH meetings and other activities over the next 12 months, (on average approximately 1-2 hours per month).


Do you have to be an OCIC Member?

All YPH members are encouraged to be members of OCIC.

How long is the term of the YPH?

Youth policy-makers participate in a 6-month program from November 2020 to April 2021. The current youth policy-makers are strongly encouraged to join the next program cycle as allies.

Where are meetings being held, and how often?

Youth policy-makers participate in monthly meetings and learning activities online and in-person in Toronto (where possible). Those selected are expected to contribute approximately 1-2 hours per week.

Allies’ time commitment is approximately 1-2 hours per month.

Initiatives led by the YPH (2019-2020)

Our Space Too: A Conversation about Mental Wellness in Newcomer Youth Communities

#OurSpaceToo was a workshop for newcomer (immigrant and refugee) youth and a safe space to foster informative and personal dialogue about mental wellness in their communities. This was an opportunity for education and awareness, collective relationship building, and a space to practice wellness. Read more

The Push for Basic Income Series

Ever wondered what basic income is all about? Ever wish you had others to speak to about it? Facilitated and organized by the Youth Policy-Makers, the series of webinars, workshops, and resource-sharing activities will help participants understand the foundations of Basic Income and how it could be a pathway to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Read more


Learn more about the Youth Policy-Makers 2020 Cohort

If you would like to receive email updates on the YPH activities and relevant public events, please subscribe to our mailing list

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