Cities in the Time of COVID-19: How Can Youth Be At the Centre of Urban Recovery?

Featuring Veronika Bylicki, Executive Director & Co-Founder, CityHive; Michael Redhead Champagne, Public Speaker & Youth Mentor; Ana González Guerrero, Co-Founder & Managing Director, Youth Climate Lab; Aaron Myran, Executive Director, Future Majority; and Linxi Mytkolli, Manager, Youthful Cities

5 Key

A roundup of the most compelling ideas, themes and quotes from this candid conversation

1. “Youth” are not a homogenous group

The impacts of COVID-19 look different for someone in their twenties saddled with multiple care obligations and student debt, a high school graduate about to enter university, or a young person ageing out of the child welfare system. The panellists outlined gaps in the social safety net that have direct impacts on youth, such as access to mental health services, appropriate housing, and precarious employment in the gig economy. But the age group from 15 to 29 is also diverse in their perspectives on, and experiences in, urban spaces.

2. Youth-friendly forms of civic engagement are needed

Millennials were the largest voting demographic in the 2019 election, but many feel disconnected from the country’s politics and politicians. Many youth—and especially those from equity-seeking groups—have little faith in current structures or institutions of decision-making.  For example, for many Indigenous youth, there is little faith in City Hall as inclusive and open space for dialogue. It is critical to remove youth-specific barriers to civic engagement to allow for more meaningful and representative decisions.

3. Our decisions must be intergenerational

Engaging and educating youth on civic functions and working intergenerationally is critical to succession planning. People in positions of power must take “their own impermanence” into consideration, noted one of the panellists. “If you’re not thinking about succession, then you don’t care about young people.”

4. We have an opportunity to catapult into a ‘better normal’

Post-COVID-19, we should not go back to normal, but build up a “better normal.” The panellists agreed that COVID-19 has opened up policy windows to explore ideas previously considered unfeasible. This new normal must create better public spaces, and design solutions for those most vulnerable.

5. A youthful lens must be applied to post-COVID-19 recovery

Panellists discussed important opportunities going forward, such as extending the duration of COVID-19 benefits, re-evaluating approaches to city planning to be more inclusive of those who are typically not at the table, and thinking about protest and activism as a form of civic participation. As we move from crisis to recovery, it is critical to include young people in the rebuilding efforts.

Full Panel

Mary Rowe [00:00:21] Hi, good morning, everybody. It’s Mary Rowe, it’s lunchtime on the East Coast in central Canada. It’s a little past lunchtime on the East Coast and it’s just breakfast time or morning coffee in Vancouver. In Vancouver, we’re very, very. I shouldn’t ignore the mountains on, mountains on or having a high tea. Maybe not high. They’re having good morning tea. We’re happy to have you here on this talk. We’re doing a series of sessions across all the different topics of urbanism. And what is the impact of Kogut on cities and on urban life both now and in the future? I’m Mary Rowe, the president of CUI. And we’re in the connective tissue business. We’re about creating these kinds of opportunities for us to learn from one another, adapt quickly here or whatever, but it’s trying and see if we can adapt as effectively as we can. That’s why we put up City Watch, which is monitoring municipal government action. Then we put up City Share, which is remarkable examples from across the country of communities responding in different kinds of ways, all sorts of innovation. Hundreds of examples there. And now we’re doing City Talk Canada, which is how we make sense of this. How do we create some meaning and what are the implications as we go forward? This is to be candid, conversations. And so people participate here as individuals and they may have clients, they may have employers, they may have institutions that they’re working with, but they really are here speaking as individuals. And we’re appreciative that they take the time to do that and that they feel comfortable doing that. So we want to have a real talk here, candid conversations.

[00:01:54] This CUI team, part of us, reside here in Toronto. And so we always start by just acknowledging the land in which we are in Toronto, which is the traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit Mississaugas of the Credit in the Annishnabec, Chippewa and the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples. And we’re now home to many, many diverse first nations into what in Maty people from across Turtle Island. We also want to acknowledge that Toronto is covered by Treaty 13, signed by the Mississauga’s, signed with the Mississauga’s of the Credit and Williams treaties, signed with multiple Annishnabec, nations.

[00:02:28] We have participants today on the panel here who come from different places and have different territorial ancestry.

[00:02:34] And then we have lots and lots of folks on the chat who will sign in from various parts across the country. And we’re also having your national people coming in just to draw participants attention to the chat function. You’ll see that there is a chat function where you can participate in the conversation and we would encourage you to direct your comments, not to just all panelists. You’ll see you have a little toggle switch there. You can go to all panels and everyone. We’d prefer you say everyone, because often the answer to your question will be answered by somebody in the chat unnecessarily on the panel here. So. And as we say about these chat functions, we glean a lot from these. So we’re really keen for people to do as you add whatever they can here. You’ll also see detailed bios for each of the participants. There you’ll see links to where you can find out more information about them because I’m not going to read their biographies, but you can check that out. And when you put something up on the chat, it lives it lives a long time.

[00:03:29] So just be aware that what goes on the chat is going to not only stay in the job, but it might appear on our Web site because we do summaries of the chats because they’ve been so rich when we have these conversations, continues to be really cognizant that while we’re trying to make sense of what Covid is is doing to all of our lives, there are thousands and thousands of Canadians still engaged in frontline work, saving lives, coping with extraordinary challenge and emergency situations. And we don’t want these conversations to be seen as a replacement for that or supplanting or interfering with that at all. We acknowledge that many, many, many folks are still engaged in that kind of on the ground life and death recovery. And we keep that in our minds as we talk about these conversations going forward. We are trying to make these conversations very focused on what’s practical things. So each of you has been invited because you’re engaged in work that has a tangible practical application in your day to day work. And how is that impacting? That’s what we’re really focusing on, what’s working, what’s not and what’s next. And we appreciate that. A lot of things that we’re challenging to us in urban life, pre-covid that are now made much worse, more and they’re more they’re much clearer what the challenges are. So we appreciate having a session on youth, and on what is going on in terms of the ways in which cities include or exclude or younger people.

[00:04:50] And of course, this is you are inheriting this built environment that others have designed and built and lived in. And this is an interesting moment for you as a generation of leaders to think about how are you going to take this crisis and move it to the next phase? How do we learn? You know, previous pandemics have informed all sorts of really important public policy changes and different ways in which we’ve done things in urban environments. So it’s kind of up to you folks to figure out, well, what is this one going to be? So this is just the beginning of a conversation we continue the chat function stays open up a bit after the hour, so if people want to continue, they can continue to engage there.

[00:05:27] And also, you can have a conversation on social media with hashtag #citytalk and tell us what you’re seeing and tell us what your observations are and what kinds of thinking and and actions this conversation may trigger for you, because we want to have this to continue to be a really rich engagement. And we also are trying to make sure that we’re…these programs are extraordinarily popular and we appreciate so many people coming in. And we know that you have other topics you want us to address. So please, you’ll see in a chatbox periodically, Emily will post a link to our evaluation mechanism and you can tell us what you’re liking and what you don’t or what are the topics you think we should be tackling.

[00:06:09] And it would be great when you just see there’s anything else that I need to just address from my crib notes. That might be it.

[00:06:18] So hashtag. Oh, yes, that’s right. They just respond. They’ve added one more thing. So city talk, city watch and city share all have been produced by some CUI staff and then a gazillion volunteers and partner organizations across the country who are, and certainly, when we’re putting these up. These were being done in the middle of the night. All on all hands on deck moment.

[00:06:40] And they continue to be populated and serviced by volunteers who take an hour or half an hour or whatever they’ve got in their day to track what’s going on with municipal government or track examples in their community that they’re seeing that they think should be highlighted and shared across the country. So if you would like to do that and help us and you’ve got some bandwidth, we would be very, very appreciative. And so you just need to email covidresponse@ and have we got a task or two or five for you?

[00:07:10] So we’d love to have you part of it. And as we suggested, it’s all about connective tissue and building that understanding and how we in urban candor are responding. So All right.

[00:07:21] So youth, let’s talk about this really critical topic. I can see Michael’s excited getting ready. So here’s who we have joining us from.

[00:07:32] I don’t know how they appear on the screen to everybody else, but I can do it the way they appear for me. So Aaron Myran Myran is with us from Future Majority You wanna wave Aaron Myran so they know it’s you?

[00:07:42] And that’s Aaron Myran and Linxi Mytkolli, my colleague from YouthCities. Linxi Mytkolli, you wanna wave? Thank you. And then Michael Redhead ChampagneReddhead Champagne, who’s in Winnipeg. I actually wasn’t identifying where people were. Might. There’s the idea that you can take you can figure out which one is Michael Redhead ChampagneAaron Myran’s in Toronto, Linxi Mytkolli’s in Toronto or Michael’s in Winnipeg, where it’s either blizzards or or mosquitoes. We’ll find out in a second.

[00:08:04] And then Veronika Bylicki Bylicki, who’s with CityHive. She’s in Vancouver.

[00:08:11] There you go. Nice little Vancouver smile. And it’s just getting just just getting warmed up over there in Vancouver this morning.

[00:08:18] And then the last one is Ana Gonzalez Guerrero at Youth Climate Labs, who has a very impressive sticky or sticky note board back there. I want to know what’s on that. That makes me tired just looking at that bulletin board. Who’s I think in Ottawa. So, again, really, really pleased to have you folks here. Let’s go to the furthest away from Toronto. Let’s go first to Vancouver and here.

[00:08:40] Tell us a little bit, if you can, Veronika Bylicki, about City Hive. What was going on in your life before?

[00:08:45] Covid in terms of your work and then tell us a little bit about what you’re observing doing. Covid. OK.

[00:08:49] So we’re all ears and each everybody’s going to have a couple minutes to have a go and then we’re gonna have a big free for all conversation.

Veronika Bylicki [00:08:54] Thanks. And thanks so much for having me. And yes, I’m joining from Vancouver. Although the the unceded ancestral and traditional territory that the Coast Sal ish people of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Watuth and so feeling um really grateful to be on these land and definitely hoping that this conversation, it involved the work that we do. So CityHive, what we do is our mission is to transform the way that young people are engaged in shaping our cities. And so pre-covid it. It’s tough to go all the way back to the beginning of March or February, but it doesn’t doesn’t.

Mary Rowe It feels kind of like a year ago. Doesn’t it go there’s like covid time? It feels. I know. I know. I mean, days that start to feel like week stop it.

Veronika Bylicki Yeah, they do. A year ago or maybe 10 years ago. Yeah. But yeah, what we do is we really work on building bridges between civic institutions and younger folks. And the way that we do that in particular is through building civic literacy. So the reason why we exist is that my co-founder Tesca and I found that whenever we went to any open houses for community consultations at a city council meeting, any decision making table, there are many things that are missing. And younger voices were often one of the most prevalent that we’re missing. And so to bridge that. We really work on building civic literacy through understanding how these messy, complex civic institutions actually work, how rezoning works, how housing policy works, and also really work on building capacity and connections among youth with decision makers and community leaders and organizations. And so that trend still continues throughout covid. That’s very much how we see our role is is as a bridge. And and I think one of the ways that we’re adapting to Covid it is we run several different programs and a lot of our projects on the ground. And engagement work, of course, have shifted and and isn’t in prison anymore. But we h ave several civic education programs and though they’re offered online and and we’re actually just launching a program now that’s all focused on understanding resilience. So what it means to have a resilient community in terms of democratic, local, social and economic economic resilience. And we’ve also launched a series with the SFU Center for Dialog and Public Square called Distance Not Disengaged. That’s holding conversations on different themes weekly and still convening folks to talk about important issues. And I think that’s also all of that to say that we recognize we’re not a not a front line organization. And so I think we’re we’re trying to figure out what are what our most important roles playing right now. And to touch on what what I’m seeing, I think we could have a whole conversation that’s just about the impacts that youth are feeling. And I think also recognizing that youth aren’t a homogeneous category that there is that Corbett is having really profound disproportionate impacts on different populations. And that’s that’s the same for different populations of youth thinking about youth that are homeless, that are in unsafe housing situations, that are aging out of care. And so I think it’s important to hold that, too, until the fourth. A lot of financial precarity across the board, loss of jobs. And I think just a lot of challenge given in not loopholes, but gaps that I think are existing within the different support mechanisms that we’re seeing. But I think we’re also seeing really incredible and powerful organizing our local largest mutual aid network called Coming Together Vancouver. It’s now a Facebook group with over thirty thirty four thousand people. I think I checked. And it’s practically all convened and run by youth organizers, a lot of youth organizers from the climate movement who came together right away. And I’ve been so talented at responding and building that network. And so I think we’re seeing a lot of examples like that, too, and really creative and innovative solutions. But I hope that we can continue to to hold youth in those conversations as we’re building solutions going forward. And the last thing I’ll say, I think we’re also really seeing a kind of return to the hyper local. And I think I think with that example in particular, a lot of folks that may have been organizing around the climate or these larger is larger issues are now focusing on, you know, what can I do on my block, what can I do in my building? And I think that’s really incredible to be seeing that sort of social cohesion building. I’m really curious about what that will also look like going forward . Maybe I’ll be more thought that we feel in there.

Mary Rowe Yeah, well, you raise a lot of things. I just want to remind people in the chat to change your toggle. Switch to not just all panelists, but all panelists and attendees. You’ve got a little switch there so that everybody can see what you’re saying. That’s great. Interesting what you’re suggesting around civic literacy. Ironic. Like, I would have thought that civic literacy was an issue for everybody regardless of age, although you’re zeroing in specifically on youth and younger people.

Veronika Bylicki Yeah. And I absolutely agree that civic literacy is a challenge across the board. But I think when we look at who shows up to city council meetings, for example, usually older folks, people who perhaps feel like they have more of a stake, own a home are the ones who show up. And so I think the way that we’re the way that we’re bridging that is really making sure that younger folks know that those spaces are meant for them. I think, you know, so many people don’t even know that city hall is a public building. And so I think, you know, making sure that people understand that our elected representatives are working for us and really know how to access those decision making spaces.

Mary Rowe Yeah. Yeah, I hear you. And as you suggest and I also appreciate your point that, you know, this tendency that we have to kind of lump everybody together, really young people feel this way or you. That’s sort of ridiculous. Doesn’t have a nexus. It’s as diverse as any other subset. Right. And when we were putting a session together, we had that whole conversation about, well, do we want to just sort of original there’s a youth session versus let’s put younger people on the on the the platform here. Talk about what do you see as the issues that are pressing not just for young people, just generally. What’s your perspective? So. OK. Well, let’s now go to Toronto to Linxi Mytkolli. Let’s talk a little bit about how what you were seeing pre or what the what your focus has been. And now some covid stuff and where to come back to general topics because of Veronika Bylicki’s put a bunch on the table. Listen, why don’t you tell us what you, Linxi Mytkolli?

Linxi Mytkolli Yeah. So YouthfulCities is a social enterprise. We’ve been working with young people, so 18 to 30 ish in cities across Canada, but also globaly on how to make their cities better places to live, work and play and pre-covid. We did this through research programs, but also dialog based programs. One of the most immediate impacts for us was all these amazing programs that we had lined up that relied on in-person convening and the power that comes out from my bringing different diverse sets abuse together to speak about these issues that doesn’t exist anymore. So that was, of course, the first immediate impact. What we’ve noticed is when we were doing a lot of stuff on the future of work for young people in Canadian cities and now the idea of the future of work postcovid, it is just completely up in the air for young folks. And one challenge that we’ve been facing is we saw this deep well, actually really drastic rise in unemployment for young people in Canada in a matter of a week. And we understand that that’s because young folks are actually overrepresented in a lot of the service industries. And the other industries that face the first wave of layoffs when it came to covid. So we started to look to hire youth to do some research on what are these socio economic impacts. How can we better understand what folks are needing employment and future of work wise? And one of the thing that becoming incredibly incredibly apparent to us and Mary, you touched on this a little bit in the beginning is certain systems that we operated in beforehand were challenging to navigate. And now that’s just been exacerbated. So, for example, for small and medium businesses like ours and our organizations, finding subsidies to hire folks at a meaningful pay is incredibly important. And navigating those systems now has become even more challenging. We’ve learned that a lot of these subsidies were place based. So if you don’t have a physical job for someone, you couldn’t access funding.

Mary Rowe And you’re right. So, Linxi Mytkolli, you’re actually talking not just about you know, I think a lot of the focus has been trying for employers to hold onto their existing staff so they have to lay them off. And then they were. But you’re saying, wait a sec. What about the ability to hire some new staff?

Linxi Mytkolli Absolutely. Absolutely. And and we think the time is now and we’ve been trying to hire. Right. And like, what better time to hire than when tons of folks have been losing their their source of employment? And what we’ve noticed is that not only challenging to navigate the systems that are supposed to support us in hiring these folks, but we’re also seeing people that are immensely overqualified just looking for any kind of contract work because all sectors have been hit, especially the nonprofit and charity sector as well.

Mary Rowe [00:18:31] So we have lots of great people that we would love to support. But the systems that we operate and make it really challenging to provide that meaningful support, also understanding that we have a limited capacity as an organization as well.  We’re a small staff. We have like a limited bandwidth. So how can we use that bandwidth effectively to bring people on? So we that future work has definitely been impacted. And I’ll I’ll speak to just one more point that and echo what Veronika Bylicki said about this homogeneous nature of grouping youth all into one category. We keep learning through our research and our work is that first of all, of course, we’re not all the same. But it’s really interesting in in the cold at times. For example, we have folks in their thirties who have multiple care obligations. They’re caring for their parents and for the young children right now and still trying to do the work. But then we also have folks that are in major life transition of trying to enter university and figuring out what should I study. I need some practical experience to figure out where I fit into this world. So there’s a really diverse range of experiences and lived experiences that I think we need to take into consideration when we talk about how do we center youth in covid recovery dialogs.  And we’ve got all these folks coming out of the gig economy. Right. So then those precarious just there’s maybe there’s a higher degree of precariousness. Veronika Bylicki, you had this. You said precarity. I can never get that word out. But the idea that there are people who are in precarious employment and then they had the gig dries up. So that’s true in cultural industries as well. But I bet it’s particularly true for your cohort. And then actually, what are the opportunities to get them back? Can I just can I just go back to the chatbox and ask? I’m gonna tell very specific. People at Jennifer, Muhammed, others. You are going to only the panelists and we really want you to come into everybody, so take your comments. Satu Abdeen. Same thing. You guys are sending comments. Only the panelists. I want you to go to the bottom of your chat column. I can’t believe I’m the one instructing you because I’m the least sophisticated. I go to the back and you try and change that little toggle switch to all panelists and attendees so that your smart comments can be seen by everybody. OK. And I see somebody from CUI is trying to make it do that, too.

Mary Rowe I might go to Michael Redhead Champagnenext Can I? I might go to Michael Redhead Champagnenext. OK. Yes. OK. Michael, talk to us. Winnipeg. What are you seeing for called in and then we’re looking back at some of these threads up. Go ahead, Michael.

Michael Redhead ChampagneWell, first of all, I want to take a moment and acknowledge that I’m joining you off from treaty one territory. It’s a very beautiful place here. And you mentioned Winnipeg is always snowstorms or mosquitoes, and today it’s raining. So look at us. And variety anyway. Here in Winnipeg, the work that I primarily do is as a mentor to young people, a community organizer and a public speaker. Majority of the work that I do is related to organizing with urban indigenous young people, First Nations and Meti primarily, but also Inuit. And what we do is we try to encourage young people to connect to existing services or organizations to try to move forward the ideas that they have on city building, a community renewal, on youth empowerment, on leadership development. And so what that’s resulted in is Aboriginal youth opportunities. And so Aboriginal youth opportunities recently was supposed to celebrate our 10th anniversary at a big community gathering and that Copan 19 came and we were not able to celebrate our 10 years of voluntarily organizing together. But I think it’s important to call to attention the fact that there are many young people that don’t feel safe or comfortable inside of the existing structures that exist, be they non-profit, be they municipal. And in these formal structures, a lot of the indigenous young people that I have connected with and again, I can’t speak on behalf of all indigenous young people. And it’s important when we’re talking about any group, especially indigenous folks, that we are as specific as possible. So for me, it’s primarily young First Nations and Meti folks that have experience living in Winnipeg’s inner city and experience living in the child welfare system. Those young people have little faith in cities and these institutions to actually listen to them because these groups are over consulted and never reported back to. And then these groups also still have a poor quality of life than others, despite how frequently they are asked their opinion and how to how to make things better. And they’ll say a million times how to do it. And they will be asked again in a year from another researcher that’s disconnected from something else. Same damn questions. And so I think it’s important to acknowledge the fact that our structures may be great, but there’s a lot of young people that don’t feel safe inside of them. And so what are we doing as planners and people that are trying to support young people, to connect to those young people that don’t feel safe inside of our institutions? So Aboriginal youth opportunities has been able to connect young people to one another. And so we’ve engaged with master’s level research in different ways theology, architecture, community health sciences. But we’ve also tried to build the capacity of young people to understand systems and system literacy. So we have an initiative that’s been going for almost 10 years called Politix Brainstorm, and it’s politics spelled with an X because we’re doing politics differently and it’s brainstorms because we want people to bring their brains together and just see kind of what happens with your ideas. And the thing about it is you also have to be smart about marketing and branding. So our hashtag for that is #politixBS because of brainstorming. Right. And so it becomes important, I think, for us to be responsive to young people, but also flexible. And so politics brainstorms happen in inner city locally owned restaurants where young people can take the little dollars that we do have that support the local economy, but also invite people that are a part of these city systems, administrators and those types of things to bureaucrats to come and explain to us city processes and build our system literacy. So young people are better able to understand how processes work and really begin to move forward with something that we feel like it’s really important to talk. At every level of government and planning. And that’s the concept of succession planning. If you’re not succession planning and the work that you’re doing that I don’t believe that you’re serious about youth. Right. So I’ll maybe leave it at that. OK.

Mary Rowe  Can I just I’ll just reassure the chat folks that a number of you are throwing out programs and initiatives and fabulous branding as somebody just identified for Michael Redhead Champagneat really great side ways that you’re packaging these things. And Veronika Bylicki did as well. And I know that Linxi Mytkolli as well. So we’re going to we’ll get those in the chat function. I would dig them up and gang here will share with us all these things. So if you’re panicking in the audience are saying, what was that? He said, how do I get that? We’ll look at that stuff. Oh, rounded up for you. And I can just say on this business about, you know, systems changing and people having a sense of identification, this notion that people didn’t know that city hall is a public building that is resonating with a lot of people on the chat function. Isn’t that just something that’s an interesting symbolic piece that do people realize what’s actually in their public sphere? OK. Let’s go to Aaron Myran and then I’m going to finish with you and Aaron Myran. Talk to us a little bit about your piece of the action here and what you’ve been about before and what you were seeing during covid. Right.

Aaron Myran  So I run an organization called Future Majority, where a youth led organization where we focus on empowering young Canadians, some millennials and Gen Zs, because, one, we feel that our voices aren’t being heard in the political process. And then in the 2019 election, for the first time in our generation, there are more millennials and Gen Zs eligible to vote than any other age group. And so us it’s about taking all of this passive support that young Canadians have. I know there we’ve been having a lot of conversations about the diversity of the needs and concerns of young Canadians, but there’s a few things that unify us in which older generations aren’t unified. One is it’s like close to 90 percent of us think we should be doing more to take the climate crisis seriously. And clearly our government is not you know, there’s strides that we’re doing, but they’re not doing enough. A second and I’ll talk about this in a second. It’s just around access to mental health services. And then just around precariousness of work and employment and affordability, which other folks have talked them. So the way that we go about doing this is we organize young Canadians, not an urban metropolitan areas where by and large the politicians are like, yeah, we support you. We focus on suburban, exurban, rural places where there’s a huge concentration of young Canadians. And if we just get a thousand more young Canadians voting in each of these places, none of the political parties can be taken seriously. Listening to what young Canadians do. So in the last federal election, we turned out twenty six thousand students to vote across 15 ridings in Saskatchewan. The 9 0 5 in New Brunswick said That’s what we are working on. Right before the covid crisis hit, we were gearing up to do a really big doorknocking operation in the 9 0 5. So we had ambitious goals of picking 10 of the most competitive ridings in in throughout Ontario, knocking on every single door of eligible voter and having a conversation with a third of those folks about youth youth’s concerns and building a big volunteer team. Clearly, we’re not able to do that. We’ve pivot a lot of the work we’re doing to having these conversations online. And I think like everybody in the organizing business community, if anyone’s going like we figured it out, here’s how we’re now moving everything digital, you know? Yeah. Right, well, proof will be in the pudding. But so we’re right now we’re adapting our model to how to meet young people where they’re at digitally and then move them up. I think the some of the things that I think are worth mentioning. We just got a survey process. So before we start any new campaigns, we reach out to our top activists and say these the policies we’re going to work on. What do you think? Would you be excited about volunteering? And the two things that really came back were one, especially for folks in Ontario. The OSAP. There’s already been cuts to OSAP, but the OSAP guidelines, the affordable that’s you know, it’s a program that makes educate post-secondary education more accessible to lower income Ontarians. Doesn’t make sense in a pandemic economic crisis. And folks are concerned that, one, post-secondary education and those opportunities are not going to be accessible to those folks with the with the current guidelines.

[00:29:52] And then, two, like this is even before there was a pandemic that we were hearing a lot about, folks wanting access to mental health services. But people are lonely, they’re sad. They’re quite anxious about all this uncertainty.

[00:30:05] And did some think this is where it’s not about, you know, young Canadians, just take care of yourself, feel better, you know, work out whatever. Not everyone has these opportunities. This is all about gaps in the social safety net. And mental health being one of them and something that we can see further being addressed. That’s that’s the first is that we’re seeing those two things. And then just obviously like there’s nothing I can add everyone. I think everyone here has articulated what’s going on with precariousness of employment and work. When are we going to have income? I think the government’s done some really good, good first steps with the emergency response benefit.

[00:30:42] Youth unemployment in a regular economy is typically double what the general unemployment is for it for the country. Just having an unemployment, the emergency response benefits the end of the summer is not going to be enough for youths and some of the most the least experienced folks in the workforce who are going to the ones where the most difficult to get jobs. So that’s my first point. The second is that all of these these benefits that are taking place, these bailouts, it’s going to be young people who are going to pay for those bailouts with higher taxes potentially cut to social assistance, which I hope is not the case, but potentially with higher taxes for the rest of our lives. It’s really important that we be part of the process of where…Where are these resources put and that were included in that and were a lot of the work we’re doing is organizing young Canadians to have their voices heard because it’s going to be our futures where there’s potentially that tax we’re paying, we’re gonna be paying for that. And then the last thing I want to add is like literally this is the opportunity to politicize the half of Canadians who don’t vote, who aren’t engaged in the political process, go like, why should I bother? I have a friend, too, from universities when I saw them in September, had no idea there was a federal election in October. The only thing that they’re posting on Facebook is that petition to ban evictions.  Every single Canadian understands not just youth, but Canadian understands why it’s important to have the people who have power make decisions on. If you can go outside, you can go to work if you’re going to be helped out. Really understands why it’s important to have that person share your concerns and have your ear. And it’s an opportunity to share that message with millions of Canadians who currently don’t see a reason to participate.

Mary Rowe Thanks, Aaron Myran. I’m gonna I’m gonna go right to Ana and then we’re gonna start to follow up on some of these things on a talk to us about your ongoing work with the climate action. Aaron Myran, give you a brilliant segway about climate, climate, climate. So talk to us now.

Ana González Guerrero Thank you. I feel like I was left in a hard decision to try and bring in new things. Has a lot of a lot of this had been covered and really are to go away. But I’ll do my best. And I do have a few plot twists. Yeah. My name is Ana. I am the co-founder of Youth Climate Lab, we’re a Youth for Youth nonprofit headquarted in the traditional unceded territory at the Algonquin Annishnabec people. And that’s why I’m calling in from currently Ottawa. And yet we’re where we’re a youth for youth lab. We’re focusing on accelerating transformative climate action. So also in the business of using a lot of buzz words.

But essentially we’re trying to really work with young people in policy and entrepreneurship policy at the top down, as it has been named quite a few times, ensuring that our voices are being heard right now. And then entrepreneurship on the bottom up approach, ensuring that the tools and resources and funds are available for young people that are innovating and taking action right now. So the reason I bring all this other than self-promotion is because I do come with with a bit of a climate lens, the climate agenda.  And then also because what we’re trying to accomplish is adjust in resilient world. And that’s, I think, the two key components that we should be talking about when we’re talking about covid and covid responses. So touching on some of the things that were said. I want to echo kind of how this has been exposing a lot of the existing problems that we had, how even being part of this conversation is privileged right now, as it was named. A lot of young people and everyone really is facing the overwhelming need of finding a summer job, participating in reimagining the economy, all learning how to bake bread. Now, like there’s just so many things. And at the same time, we’re dealing with a very traumatic experience like collectively that I think it’s worth recognizing the tension and the burden on mental health that that’s bringing and how again let me just restate being part of this conversation of reimagining the new economy. It’s a very privileged place to be and it’s probably already excluding people that were excluded in the first place by not by not really giving it or making it accessible to to really participate in this conversation. When you’re trying to find ways of meeting basic needs. So that’s gonna like my disclaimer. Then I’ll continue to echo other things that were said. Youth Climate Lab is working to make policy accessible at all levels. This was before covid and now more relevant than ever with covid by really working together with intergenerationally. So we’re not saying we’re gonna do it alone. We’re saying that we want our voices heard right now with working with people that have access to systems. So an example of that that we’re making and kind of like pivoting is an infiltration manual. And I have a few folks on this call actually kind of listed to reach out to. But basically, we’re working with a climate caucus to demystify how local governance works and how. Before he was focused on climate action, but now it’s on interventions that will have an impact on climate. But that our focus on covid and how do we make this process safer like Michael Redhead Champagnewas naming, how do we make it more accessible and understandable? Where were the gaps and how can we continue to really make it accessible for all and not just a few? Another thing that was mentioned that I wanted to echo was, yeah, the process in itself. I think I already touched on that. Actually, I’m going to skip and introduce a new one, which is climate finance. So you come off has been working on what we’re calling making climate finance youth responsive.  So think gender responsive, which is how we’ve heard about it through government, but really adding a lens to the responsibilities and obligations that finance deployment has on young people. So right now, in this particular case, I think my worry is that we’re seeing investments in economic stimulus that are a once in a decade, if not more.

[00:36:48] And we just really need to make sure that these have I’ve heard it being referred as green strings attached. I want to reframe that and say equity strings attached or just strings attached that just like a little bit more that we’re not missing the ball. We definitely missed it in 2008 when there was a big economic packages going out to save big companies. So can we do it this time with a focus on people? Can we do it this time in a way that’s inclusive, that’s bringing not just young people, but all of the traditionally marginalized communities into the conversation? My worry is that we’re responding in such a quick manner, which is great. But it’s also I’m hoping we’re not missing some of the key components that we have worked so hard to incorporate in these processes, so that so that we can save these these structures. Reinforcing of what’s already there. Go ahead on a last comment Ana then we’re opening up. We would like very let’s come in. Yeah, I just I just want to throw this in there. In terms of what this crisis has also shed some light on is a lot of the formerly impossibles have now been possible. Like it was impossible to have a UBI, it was impossible to stop planes, it was impossible to wear.

Michael Redhead Champagne What is UBI?

Ana González Guerrero  Universal basic income members of this.

Michael Redhead Champagne I’m only asking because I just think it’s important for us not to use the acronym, but we’re having these conversations.

Ana González Guerrero And make it more accessible and not privilege. Thank you, Michael. Universal basic income. All of these things that were so many times told to us that it was impossible and they were not going to see it in our next few years now are. So how do we maintain that momentum almost and carry those like to put it in very simplistic ways. Good. Carry the good stuff and like leave the bad stuff behind. So that’s that’s my end of echoing and introducing random and new pieces. OK.

Mary Rowe So thank you. Thanks, all five of you. Terrific, terrific ways to get started. So let’s. Can we talk a little bit about this notion that there were segments of young people that work with apps that beat before covid and felt the city wasn’t safe so that municipal government wasn’t responding, then felt over console that all that stuff you’ve all said and. Michael Redhead Champagnewas very specific on. You’ve all said it to a certain extent that you’ve been working on trying to create new platforms for people to engage civic literacy, voting. Different kinds of avenues. Do you think that we can…Do you think that covid is going to usher in a different kind of new set of relationships? In other words, do you think that people are going to start…They’ll have to engage younger folks and they’ll stay engaged and well, older folks step, step, step aside so that can happen. Do you think we can see something stick?

Michael Redhead ChampagneI think the only way that we’re going to see that beautiful vision that you just articulated of young people being meaningfully included in planning at a municipal level. The only way that that’s possible is if the folks that are currently in those positions of power and influence take the concept of equity into consideration and also take it to understanding the lack of permanence in their own self. People need to understand that, especially as they are, they aren’t special. And so what I mean by that is we are all replaceable. And so in our systems, we have to build the capacity of the young people around us so that those oldies are able to go off into the world and provide innovation and go into different places. And so I just really feel like it’s not going to happen unless. Some of the control that current power holders have is released because I know young people are chomping at the bit in Winnipeg to participate and get involved in municipal processes, but there’s often no invitation. There’s often no opportunity for them to get it. I know even for me, I muscle my way in to a lot of spaces and then have to make changes to policies or bylaws or governance documents just to add additional young people to the committee. And I often have to fight people for it because we’ve been humming and hawing, saying, oh, confidential. Oh, we don’t know yet. Oh, everything’s like a maybe. And so when people are making excuses to not include young people, I don’t have faith that they’re going to go back to include young people in a meaningful way after college because they didn’t do it before.

Mary Rowe But there is a window here. I mean, even, you know, their leaders that there’s so much that needs to be done and so much thinking that hasn’t been done yet, that there is a window for people who’ve got energy to engage and say, I’ve got some solutions. Right. We do. The question is, can we leverage it? And let’s can we talk a little bit about the pressures that some of you identified and post-secondary education? You know what? That’s gonna have to change. It’s got to be delivered quite differently. Access to jobs. The things that you were all identifying interested. Not one of you talked about this, but we’ve heard it for so long. Housing, access to housing. Who wants to want it? Go ahead, Linxi Mytkolli. Do you wanna jump in?

Linxi Mytkolli So we we’ve been doing work on the access to employment, but also access to housing. And I think there’s. I think we need to identify that security of employment is important to discuss. But precarity housing is also important to discuss. And the reality of housing is not just can you get a roof over your head and how much is that room costs? It’s also for young people. What does it look like to navigate roommate relationships during a pandemic and after a pandemic? Did it look like to move to have to resign a lease or to move in the midst of all of this? I do think that it. There’s there’s, for example, taskforces in Toronto on the future housing and the future of employment. And to speak to Michael’s point. It’s really interesting because there is a lot of work that has been done that says we need to fix housing for young people because they can’t afford a house. But there’s not a lot of work that has been done at act actually asks you to even want to own a house. Maybe we want to maybe when we want to live in a co-op like. Right. And I think now is the opportunity to leverage and to also advocate for youth to be on those tax task forces, because lived experience is a qualification. And we are voices need to be heard top down, like Ana said. But also bottom up. So advocacy is important. But I also think that we need to have places at decision making tables to speak on these issues because not a lot of people have been asking. Absolutely. But now is the time to say, OK, well, we’re living through it and nobody understands it better than us and not as valuable inherently in its own self.

Mary Rowe  Can we can we chat about this? Nobody knows better than us. I mean, I heard it in Aaron Myran’s comment a little bit of a kind of they’re going to dig us into debt and we’re going to have to pay it off over a lifetime. So is there anger about that? Folks like you know, and I see some chuckles. I mean, what do you think? Is it. And the question is, will young people engage to figure this out so that, in fact, you won’t be in a situation where you’re paying for this for decades? Right. What do people think?

Aaron Myran [00:43:59] I think with regards to that, I think is most of the members that we talk to and that’s who I can speak for is folks are concerned about what’s happening right now. You know why? I had a job for the summer. I don’t anymore. Will I be able to and do those sorts of things? The dialog is not about like just feet. It’s Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Folks are worried about your safety need. They’re just like everybody else. And that’s I think. My, my guess is that if you’re if you’re pretty set up here, you’re privileged and you’re thinking about like what’s happening six months to. Thirty years from now, you’re the minority because most folks don’t have that.

Mary Rowe Yeah. Perspective, yeah. OK, so we’ve got this whole question about secondary and schooling and what’s that going to look like? Then we’ve got a question about are we going to return to a gig economy? I mean, a lot of young people are employed seasonally or they have they cobble together a bunch of different jobs. Do you think there’s a way when we come out of this, there’s gonna be a lot of stimulus money? Is there some way for young people? I think Linxi Mytkolli was suggesting have to be at the table making the decisions. Do you think there’s a—Can there be a tipping point moment here where the younger workforce is directly engaged in a certain kind of recovery way? This happened after World War II  guys. You know, that’s what happened. There were government initiatives to get servicemen who were coming back and women. They were coming back from the war to be educated. There were all sorts of stimulus initiatives that were directed at that point. Do you see anything like that being useful now or appropriate? Ana go ahead.

Ana González Guerrero  with something that’s not that’s not my idea. It’s a friend of mind. Alissa, who was talking about how there’s going to be a lot of infrastructure investment. This is not what happens after after recession. So how how do we incorporate at the city level procurement processes that are ensuring youth employment? So like how this goes to what we’re touching on, which is having having your voices heard right now to make sure that our needs are represented when that happens. But yeah, I think there are a lot of mechanisms and types of interventions that cities, municipal petitioners, elected officials can be taking to prioritize parts of the population that may have been deeply affected through the pandemic, like recognizing that everyone is. But how do we how do we establish again? Is it through procurement? Is it through more resources for wage subsidies, which is what Linxi Mytkolli was talking about? Is it through upskilling and reskilling programs for young people or people in an industries that are transitioning? Like, how are we preparing for when that comes? I think it is part of that conversation and an engaging and yeah, I’m going to make the questions and post-secondary education and the future work. But yeah, how are we really preparing for a different economy? We were already talking about that before in lines of automation and then all these other big factors that are influencing the future of work. We were talking about it from our climate perspective. Now we’re talking about it through this. But how are we preparing the workforce now? You know, make sure that we that we can access those jobs and how our systems in place, prioritizing access for employment when this is ready.

Mary Rowe  I mean, we’ve had suggestions around community benefit agreements. Should there be I mean, there’s a whole question about how construction jobs are allocated. What the relationship would be with unions, with apprenticeship programs, all that kind of thing. Veronika Bylicki, can you talk to us a little bit about what you’ve been observing in New York—in Vancouver, around this whole notion of work and housing? You’ve been under a housing pressure, too.

Veronika Bylicki  Yeah, certainly. And I think that’s a large part of it, is that even pre-covid it, I think younger people are more susceptible, are already in a fairly precarious place, having more debt than any generation before they thing huge housing prices and student and secondary costs being higher. And so when a shock like covid hits, then we’re already in a precarious place. That shock just lends so much further into. I think probably what we’re observing in Vancouver, I imagine is quite similar to other other cities in that regard. Perhaps that maybe there are more folks who are already in precarious places. And I know that there are also in terms of all of the support mechanisms that are that are available now, I think everyone’s touched on this a little bit about the complexity, complexity of navigating that, but also a lot of gaps in between and and in terms of other roommate situations and just the question of having a safe place to live.

Mary Rowe Well, do you do you have any do. Abigail Slater is asking this on the chat function. Do you think there’s a chance that young people will leave cities? I mean, there was already a chat about this, that there wasn’t affordable places to live. So where they start. But do it now. Now, of course, there some of them are back living with their parents that might send them away. But do you think there’s a chance that this is going to reshuffle this a little bit, that we’re going to see younger people making different decisions, more remote working, et cetera? Well-based, not necessarily congregate, want to be downtown as much. What are people saying? Do you think it’s going to take.

Veronika Bylicki I think in our work, we’ve already seen folks moving back with their parents. But I think this speaks to Aaron Myran’s comment about the hierarchy of needs. It’s not necessarily a desire to leave the city. It’s a survival mode. Right. Like you need to leave. And there’s actually we’ve seen lots of folks tell us that it’s actually unsafe for them in certain instances to go back into their homes who maybe didn’t accept their identities or their lifestyles or whatever it may be before. But now they’re forced to go back into those family homes because of the financial instability. Like we know that pre-covid bad people under 30 had a maximum of like it was I think it was about 60 percent of people under 30 pre-covid had only 200 hundred bucks left at the end of the month. And that was before a pandemic.

Mary Rowe So many things that might stick. Do you think that we might start seeing more intergenerational housing now just because it’s going to take a few years for people to get back on their feet? I mean, we know what about seniors do that that, you know, obviously we’ve got a huge challenge with how we’ve been caring for infirm folks, older folks who need care into long term care facilities, which put them at greater risk. So do you think we’re going to see a change in housing size, household size?

Ana González Guerrero I think temporarily, yes, long term. I I’d like to say maybe, but it really depends on, for example, in Toronto, we’ve seen major changes in the rental market due to Airbnb units not being able to be profitable. So now we have a massive influx of furnished apartments at lower rental prices which never existed before. Right now that’s making it more accessible in certain neighborhoods. All right, folks, maybe we access individual housing spaces. So then question becomes, how does that look like after six months? Well, yeah, would BnB even exist. What happened with those units and what kind of rental policies are we going to be supporting and at a city level to either facilitate multi-generational housing or more affordable rental access and get those back onto the market?

Mary Rowe And similarly, do you think there’s an idea…Will municipal governments be willing now to consider more be more willing to consider accessory units, laneway housing, all these ways that people have been trying to get more intensification? Will we have another window for that?

Michael Redhead ChampagneSo just want to point out that the concept of moving back home, I just want to point out the element of privilege that’s in this conversation.  Because there are so many community members, I think, of the families that I’m working with, indigenous people that are aging out of the child welfare system. They don’t have that luxury now. And so I look at there have been projects in Winnipeg, like the Winnipeg Street Census, to talk to folks that are experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity. And the numbers of crazy 50 to 70 percent of the folks that are on the streets of Winnipeg have been involved in the child welfare system or themselves or intergenerational survivors of Indian residential schools or the sixties scoop. And so we have to realize that when we’re having these conversations, some people don’t have a “back home”. And so it becomes again, conversations need to be equity has to be injected into the conversation while we’re talking about things like this because of how are we going to shape decision making in the future to support young people, to include those types of voices. I know that for myself, I was involved with the Federal government a number of years ago authoring a report called 13 Ways to Modernize Youth Employment in Canada that talked about the importance of modernizing the workforce. And I think the gig economy is not doing any favors to young people. And I think the labor movement and unions in general really need to give themselves a headshake effort. I’m from the North end of Winnipeg. That’s where the Winnipeg general strike came from 100 years ago. Right. That changed the face of labor in the world. And so I think what we need is another general strike to make sure that folks know and understand that the goals of the general strike one hundred years ago were not actually accomplished because what they wanted was a fair wages for all, safe employment for all. And I don’t think we’re there.

Mary Rowe  And so although you could argue that covid that has put us all on a general strike, I mean, every you know, we’re sort of all in a general… Nature is on a general strike. Right. So just in terms of your comment about people not having homes to go to. The other piece and we’re going around the time I can talk to you guys all afternoon, just saying, but about public space. So you’re talking about streets. And I know we all noticed that now who’s on the street, the people that don’t have much option to go anywhere else. And what about our public and civic spaces? So do you think that we’re going to be able to move? And is anybody seeing examples? I mean, there’s improvisation happening where we can make safe – make public spaces, streets, parks, community centers. Could they be made safer? Can they be made more welcoming? And can they be adapted in a crisis like this to house people have a place to go? You know, anybody thinking about that scene, young people, you know, you’re you’re again, not to generalize your cohort, but a lot of experience for young people is in congregate settings together. Right. And all of that is going to be different in a socially distance world. Anybody thinking about that? Sounds like no, you’re just all nodding.

Ana González Guerrero   I don’t think I have any examples or expands to probably answer that question. I do think it is a need and a role for a city to play in making safe spaces for everyone and not just a few. So kind of the theme that we’ve been talking about in terms of like leaving no one behind. I think right now the level of collaboration between different levels of government is this is something that can can be leveraged to accomplish more of this. So, yeah, again, I don’t I don’t think I’m the best suited to answer that question. Maybe just trying to fill in the silence. But I do think that gratuity, too, to kind of collaborate in a way that is truly with language of the sustainable development goals, leaving no one behind at the city level.

Veronika Bylicki And I think to jump in there, I think when we think about solutions that we’re building, I think that is the thing that when you think about those who are most susceptible to shocks and most vulnerable to shocks and stresses and design solutions for them, those are actually the most powerful solutions. And I think what I’m what I’m most curious about and kind of excited about right now is, is in part what those solutions are that we’re building. What are we learning right now from this time that we can really carry forward? But also, what I’m really excited about is how we go about dreaming that new worlds or reimagining that new future.

Mary Rowe So why don’t you do a little? I’m going to go around and ask everyone to do what you just did. I’m going to ask you to reiterate that. So if you had one thing, one sticky takeaway thing that you want people who are making the big hard decisions to be aware, what’s the one thing that you that you think should stick? You just said, I want to hear about what the process is going to be. Right. Do you want to add to that?

Veronika Bylicki If I could just throw that out there and let everybody else paint a picture of what that process is.  No but, I think. Yeah, I think the key question there. Who are we bringing along? And how do we go about doing that? An accessible barrier, free way, and also a way that centuries the lived experiences of those who are most vulnerable to the stresses and shocks. I’m think one one really tangible way. And I think that this is so important as we think about resilience and think about the solutions and things that we bring forward, is that civic literacy. And I think right now I feel like because of the mass mobilization and change of behavior that we all witnessed overnight, you know, people having to stay home and their whole well, those of us who are who are in this position, very we are lucky enough to stay home. But all of society be restructuring overnight. I think that sort of mass mobilization is captured, captured people’s attention. And I think that my sense is that younger, younger people are paying attention to government more right now. So I’m curious about how right now we can use thought and leverage that in a way to build more of that civic literacy. And I think with some of the examples that Michael Redhead Champagnegave and other folks gave as well, how we can truly flip the narrative of who has extra teeth and who should be at the decision making table and make sure that younger people understand that decision making spaces are for them a window.

Mary Rowe We’ve got that window. OK. Aaron Myran, one thought.

Aaron Myran Super practical, you need to expand, extend the duration of some of the benefits that are happening to the emergency benefit for the end of August. It going to be enough for folks. We’re going to need that for longer. And it starts you know, it starts paving the way to have an idea where we could have something like universal basic income just generally for people in the country. It’ll be much harder to take away those benefits from people if they’ve had it for nine months or twelve months. If it was just the summer emergency and you bring in a whole new set of the electorate in the process of serving those people.

Mary Rowe You yeah, we we have this moment, as we suggested, where people are listening. They have to listen because they need ideas. And there’s all this fabulous ideas and generation of people that are paying attention that maybe it weren’t. So we’re generating a big fat cognitive surplus. Let’s make sure we don’t squander the opportunity. Right. Okay. Ana you next.

Ana González Guerrero A bit of a stakeholder analysis of who’s influence type of decision and who has access to or is impacted by this decision and who. Asking yourself who’s not at the table and who’s not represented and why in the previous economy. A. The normal we don’t want to go back to that normal, we that’s only benefiting a few. Like, how are we imagining again this time with everyone involved? And yeah, just it just dedicating or being willing to give out some power, which is something that Michael Redhead ChampagneMichael Redhead Champagnealluded to. But you don’t share your power. It’s it’s you have it will now see how you can you can share it, share your power.

Mary Rowe Right. This is the big do over, guys. OK. 30 seconds to you. Linxi Mytkolli and then Michael.

Linxi Mytkolli To go off of a little bit of what Ana just mentioned. I’m personally excited about not going back to normal and being very intentional collectively that we do not want to return to what existed before, but we want to use this as a catapult and a trampoline into a better normal and being very intentional in that process. And I think by and by reframing that goal, it will help facilitate the inclusion of everybody that needs to be at the tables to to help the invision and your future.

Mary Rowe Michael, last word to you.

Michael Redhead ChampagneI would say one thing that I would like folks to start doing is to reevaluate the way that you look at city planning at a municipal level. And I want you to think about the way protesting and an activism relates to city planning. When folks are active and protesting in community spaces, it means they love and care about that space. And it would be good for folks that are in municipal spaces to listen to the voices of the people that love that land as much as they do it and they’re responsible for developing or whatnot. And so I in that regard, there’s a reference. Jason Syvixay, say, as a city planner, pretty known across Canada, who does amazing work. He has a master’s thesis he did with me and some community members in Winnipeg called “where they meet indigenous activism in city planning in Winnipeg.” It’s a reference that I think people should take a look at, because there are some important findings there about how to bring equity into your city planning processes.

Mary Rowe Great. OK. Well, again, as I said, we’ll we’ll try to post as many of these links that you guys and we’ll count on you to send us notes so that we get the links right. And we’ll get those up on the chat and we’ll make them on the blog available, too. So thank you, folks, very much. Aaron Myran, Veronika Bylicki, Michael, Linxi Mytkolli and Ana for joining us and giving us a we sometimes call these sessions wakeup calls. You know that it’s a wakeup call for how we’re actually living it together in urban environments. And what do we need to extract and learn best as we come through this extraordinary, extraordinary time? So thank you very, very much for adding your insights and your experience and your gut checks and all the questions you’ve raised. Great to have you. As we say, the conversation is only beginning. Please continue on the chat. If you liked, come back to city, talk onto the blog. You’ll see more comments there. And, you know, Twitter away at hashtag city talk. We were really keen to have this conversation continue. And later this week on Thursday, we do another candid conversation that’s on municipal finance and how our municipalities can actually fund all the services and the programs that we all rely on to make our lives work. What is that going to look like going forward as they are extraordinarily overstretched where before and now really overstretched as everyone knows. So we’re going to talk to some folks about how we’re going to pay for all this just at the short term, not even the not even the generations, the decades that this new group was referring to, but just in the shorter term. And then on Friday, we have a one on one with Mayor Mike Savage, the mayor of Halifax, who is dealing with extraordinary challenges. He already was. And now they’ve had that tragedy from 10 days ago, still still reeling from that. But let’s hear from him about how municipal government and particularly the city of Halifax, the region and the region around him are responding in a mansion of ways to what’s ahead for them.

Mary Rowe  So thanks, everybody, for joining us for CityTalk. In particular, thank you to this gang for raising all the issues that are important to young people. Thanks again very, very much. Have a good day, everybody.

Full Audience
Chatroom Transcript

Note to reader: Chat comments have been edited for ease of readability. The text has not been edited for spelling or grammar. For questions or concerns, please contact with “Chat Comments” in the subject line.

12:06:05          From Canadian Urban Institute: #citytalk

12:06:51          From Canadian Urban Institute:

12:07:50          From PATRICIA RUNZER to All panelists: The audio is cutting out is it just me?

12:08:05          From Emily Wall, CUI Staff: Today’s panel:

Veronika Bylicki –

Michael Redhead Champagne –

Ana González Guerrero –

Aaron Myran –

Linxi Mytkolli –

12:08:17          From Basana Dey to All panelists: Hi Everyone, I am Basana from Toronto Public Library. Very interesting topic!

12:08:26          From Lisa Cavicchia, CUI Staff to All panelists: It’s a bit choppy

12:08:54          From Lisa Mactaggart: listening in from Guelph

12:09:17          From Emily Wall, CUI Staff: Please help CUI improve its CityTalk programming with a short post-webinar survey –

12:09:31          From Nezahat Turegun to All panelists: Hello from Ottawa

12:09:31          From Abigail Slater: Do you want us to take the survey if we have already?

12:10:18          From Abigail Slater: BC and AC

12:10:25          From Abigail Slater: (or DC)

12:10:31          From Emily Wall, CUI Staff: Please feel free to complete the survey after each webinar if you have new information to contribute!

12:13:49          From Cheryll Case to All panelists: Amazing

12:15:05          From Meghan Hollett: Thanks Veronika, re: youth aren’t a homogenous group. Great reminder

12:16:44          From Gillian Mason: Thank you for the comment: “So many people donut even know that City Hall is a public building.” There are some basics that represent huge and invisible barriers to participation. This needs more work.

12:16:58          From Gillian Mason: do not

12:17:00          From Abigail Slater: Not only for youth…but those barriers cross ages

12:17:03          From Saido Abdi to All panelists: Hello my name is saido abdi from the Toronto community benefits network and I am the mentorship coordinator for our NexGen Builders mentoring program for underresprented

12:17:22          From Saido Abdi to All panelists: community who are interested in the construction sector

12:17:26          From Gillian Mason: donut= do not

12:17:41          From Abigail Slater: Mary…will education (post secondary) be addressed?

12:17:57          From Meghan Hollett: How much does the gig economy impact younger Canadian population moreso than other demographics

12:17:58          From Margarita Pacis: Totally agree with Gillian. I wonder how we can re-imagine “City Hall” in light of COVID and transitions to digital engagement spaces (recognizing that not all people have access to digital media).

12:18:32          From Abigail Slater: The loss of summer employment

12:19:09          From Meghan Hollett: I’m grateful for Cities (eg. Halifax, St. John’s) who have moved their regular city hall meetings to live stream online – this has been helpful before covid & even more helpful now during covid

12:19:27          From Jennifer Lanteigne to All panelists: My teen son (he is 16) has tried to communicate with our area counsellor (Brampton) numerous times regarding options that kids want and need for spaces in Brampton with no response – teens opinkons matter

12:20:13          From Mohamed Dhanani to All panelists: Very curious to know what your constituents are thinking about post secondary education in midst of COVID and what they are thinking about the Fall and the 2020/2021 Academic year.

12:21:11          From Emily Wall, CUI Staff: Please make sure your comments are addressed to “all panelists and attendees”.

12:21:16          From Canadian Urban Institute: Welcome new joiners! Just a reminder to change your chat settings “all panelists and attendees” so everyone can see your comments.

12:21:25          From Mohamed Dhanani: Very curious to know what your constituents are thinking about post secondary education in midst of COVID and what they are thinking about the Fall and the 2020/2021 Academic year.

12:21:25          From Saido Abdi: thank you

12:22:58          From Abigail Slater: More on education…how the change to distance or online learning will/will not change future of work planning.

12:23:08          From Sarah Chamberlain: Loving the conversations so far! Great thoughts and concerns being shared.

12:23:19          From Sienna Taylor: Congratulations on 10 years <3

12:23:21          From Abigail Slater: (with regard to Linxi’s comment about how to decide…)

12:24:22          From Saido Abdi: Hello my name is saido abdi from the Toronto community benefits network and I am the mentorship coordinator for our NexGen Builders mentoring program for under represented community who are interested in the construction sector such as black youth, invidious, newcomers and women

12:24:23          From Meghan Hollett: much appreciation for your words, Michael, re. folks who do not feel comfortable interacting in the pre-existing systems.

12:24:33          From Augusto Mathias: Here is Augusto Mathias I am Brazilian Canadian at the moment I am in Brazil and I am involved with municipalities in Brazil and I would like to thank CUI all the participantes for sharing your knowledge and experiences which are very useful for us here in Brazil, once again Thank You!

12:25:46          From Lisa Mactaggart: brilliant branding Michael

12:26:11          From Abigail Slater: @Michael…there is a really interesting report/guide called “Why Am I Always Being Researched” that speaks to what you have just said about the disconnect in consultations. It is from Chicago Beyond (you may know this work already). It is part of their equity series

12:26:11          From Gillian Mason: a welcoming place like a restaurant as the setting for learning about systems… what a wonderful innovation.

12:26:23          From Sarah Manteuffel: It’s great to see conversations and projects in Winnipeg working on this. As someone coming back home to Peg City soon to go into Planning i’m so excited to see these projects and conversations happening

12:26:42          From Angela Loconte: Hi Augusto, this is Angela Loconte former TPH co-workers from Mississauga also watching this how wonderful to see your name here.

12:26:58          From vasundhara bhatia: Great thoughts, a very engaging and thought provoking conversation.

12:27:37          From Christine Allum: Michael – amazing work, thanks so much for sharing – it’s inspiring and refreshing to hear!

12:27:49          From Abigail Slater: Here is link to the guidebook I mentioned above (again…you may already know of this resource)

12:29:28          From Saido Abdi: THE MENTORING PROGRAM INCLUDES:

Professional development seminars for Mentors and Mentees in first 2 months

Weekly calls and monthly face to face meetings between mentors and mentees

Quarterly networking and professional development opportunities

A Mentoring Coach and Mentoring APP to maximize support and connectivity

12:29:32          From Abigail Slater: Aaron…have you noticed any more engagement given the crisis?

12:29:37          From Jennifer Lanteigne to All panelists: Important for schools to encourage voting and talking politics with students

12:29:55          From Sarah Chamberlain: @ Michael – over consultation, without impact or change, creating a lack of trust… so true and such a common practice

12:30:11          From Saido Abdi: to all panelists have you seen the increase in mental health during covid-19

12:30:29          From Abigail Slater: I’m not sure the cuts to OSAP made sense pre Covid either!

12:31:20          From Jennifer Lanteigne to All panelists: I think the pandemic will encourage teens and young canadians to vote as they are experiencing the effects of leadership – good or bad

12:31:49          From Margarita Pacis: Re: engagement – how can we make sure the most vulnerable populations are not left behind during covid response and in any recovery strategies? how can we make sure they are heard? They might not have time/energy to engage and provide feedback if they are trying to survive.

12:32:26          From Emily Wall, CUI Staff: Please remember to change your chat settings to “all panelists and attendees” so everyone can see your comments.

12:32:47          From Emily Wall, CUI Staff: Please help CUI improve its CityTalk programming with a short post-webinar survey –

12:33:08          From Juan Garcia to All panelists: Juan García, very good work, thanks for being there

12:33:20          From Rachel Pennington: Hopefully our economy will be able to grow and future generations won’t have to suffer from cuts:

12:34:47          From Nezahat Turegun: Well said Aaron! Power of voting…

12:35:52          From vasundhara bhatia: how can we make sure that activism is translated from online to offline?

12:36:34          From Lisa Mactaggart: Well said Ana…my head is nodding with the other panelists

12:38:10          From Gillian Mason: Would love to see us making more deliberate efforts toward linking youth and the not-yet-powerful with potential (willing) allies who have power and influence. That is, leveraging the allies who wish to support you/youth.

12:38:49          From Abigail Slater: Nice Michael

12:40:33          From Lisa Mactaggart: I prefer universal liveable income. The amount required to live with dignity varies by region.

12:40:38          From vasundhara bhatia: Good question Mary…

12:40:38          From Meghan Hollett: Equity

12:40:41          From Meghan Hollett: Yes!

12:41:37          From Alene Sen: Yes… young people need opportunity

12:42:00          From Stephen Mak: Power likes holding onto power. Youth has always been marginalized, but need to make their opportunities — so applause for you all.

12:42:35          From Darren Randell: Well stated Michael. I feel this is pretty typical of most age groups that are directly tied to government processes.

12:42:41          From Rachel Pennington: Power is also systemic. Some planners might not be making excuses, some planners might also be bound by poor policies and processes that don’t allow for youth consultation

12:42:51          From Farhan Dhanani: Issues that are being cultivated here is really systems thinking and to try and solve them is understanding how each connection within systems can be holistically analyzed and considered in planning, but future preparation as well

12:43:07          From Darren Randell: not directly tied to govt processes

12:43:27          From Sienna Taylor: Do you feel like due to the nature of the current crisis that young people are completely disregarded as experts right now? I’m sensing this message that “it’s too serious, we don’t have time for young people right now” I.e. young people are only included when it’s “easy”… how do we navigate that. How do we call people in power out amidst crisis when they are head down on a specific issue.

12:43:43          From Christine Allum: what is one key message that those of us here, can help to amplify to make it possible to keep this window of opportunity open post-COVID?

12:43:55          From vasundhara bhatia: Well said Linxi

12:44:41          From Gillian Mason: Several people have referred to the barrier that navigating systems represents. That is another factor that we need to confront — designing systems that people can “easily” navigate.

12:45:05          From Darren Randell: ditto Gillian

12:45:33          From Samira Farahani: well said Aaron

12:46:25          From Michelle Francis: How do the young panelists feel about apprenticeships and Union membership

12:46:48          From Emily Wall, CUI Staff: Please help CUI improve its CityTalk programming with a short post-webinar survey –

12:47:13          From Abigail Slater: I wonder whether this pandemic has forced students and young people back home…and whether this will exacerbate trends (even greater than now) of people moving back to their families and saving on rent…and whether this will move young people out of cities in as much as these temp/longer term housing alternatives exist outside of cities? Will we lose youth in our cities?

12:47:58          From Hasan Mytkolli: Well said Ana!

12:48:15          From Farhan Dhanani: very good question Abigail!

12:49:41          From Aaron Myran – to Abigail Slater and all panelists: Hi!

12:50:55          From vasundhara bhatia: we already see that decentralization of young people from cities because they are forced by circumstances.

12:51:06          From Hasan Mytkolli: Very good point Linxi

12:52:07          From Abigail Slater: It comes back to “granny” suites…

12:52:24          From John Stapleton to All panelists: City intensification like laneway housing now seems dead in the water. I agree that the new normal will be community spacing. That happened after the Spanish flu and lets remember Mother’s Allowance that began in the Fall of 1920 was partially spurred on by the spike in widows as men also were more susceptible to the spanish flu.

12:52:46          From Abigail Slater: It is definitely a privilege…

12:53:11          From Saido Abdi: Michael your amazing

12:53:32          From Abigail Slater: But it also may be out of economic necessity. Not always privilege per se, but definitely not a universal phenomenon

12:54:47          From Lisa Mactaggart: I would love to have you folks talk all afternoon too

12:54:49          From Rachel Pennington: So many gig workers and contract employees are also not provided the same health benefits. So youth working contract to contract also suffer from not being able to afford mental health, glasses, dentistry care, prescription drugs and that can be a significant cost especially for youth with chronic health issues

12:55:41          From Gillian Mason: Rachel: yes!

12:55:56          From Stephen Mak: This is the opportunity to change the economy and how youth can actually change the way the world works. Old capital structures were a house of cards that has tumbled, so a lot of weight is lost there.

12:55:59          From David Lliteras to All panelists: Congratulations Fer; Incredible the discussion forum and your participation I loved it !!, Greetings.

I have to go!!

12:56:47          From Nezahat Turegun: Michael, thank you for talking about some of indigenous youths not having that privilege of going back to their families…

12:57:37          From Gillian Mason: Agree with Veronika: the “how” is not only about inclusion and intention but also skills and experience… building those will be critical, and you are doing it today. Well done.

12:58:03          From Emily Wall, CUI Staff: Please help CUI improve its CityTalk programming with a short post-webinar survey –

12:58:08          From Karen Landman: A very stimulating panel discussion. Thank you, CUI, for putting this together.

12:58:37          From Canadian Urban Institute: Chat is going to stay open after the webinar – keep the conversation going!

12:58:54          From Canadian Urban Institute: #citytalk

12:59:08          From Canadian Urban Institute:

12:59:13          From Amy Crawford: Would love to ensure that faith-based organizations are included in gatherings and asked for their inclusion and assistance. Thanks!

12:59:40          From Sue Hallatt, CUI Staff: Cognitive surplus! yay youth

13:00:12          From Tanja Oswald: During COVID, what are some strategies for reaching/ including youth? how have you adapted your engagement?

13:01:06          From Hasan Mytkolli: This was a fantastic conversation. Thank you very much to all of the panelists for sharing your insights!

13:01:23          From James McCallan: Great discussion – thank you!

13:01:26          From Emily Wall, CUI Staff: Please help CUI improve its CityTalk programming with a short post-webinar survey –

13:01:31          From Nezahat Turegun: Thank you to all panelists. As an older person I feel better about the future because of you guys…Keep doing what you are doing…

13:01:41          From Sienna Taylor: Thank you all for your insight!!

13:01:41          From Sara Udow: Thank you!

13:01:42          From Ryan Walker: Excellent panelists; big ideas; youth leadership should be guiding our civic responses more centrally. Thanks again CUI

13:01:48          From Sarah Chamberlain: Thank you so much! Wonderful conversation

13:01:48          From Margarita Pacis: Thank you all! That was great.

13:01:55          From Madelyn Webb to All panelists: Thanks…great ideas.

13:01:59          From Farhan Dhanani: Thank you all for taking your time to share your information!!:)

13:02:01          From Jennifer Holmes Weier to All panelists: Great talk, thanks!

13:02:04          From Christine Allum: Thank you!

13:02:05          From Darren Randell: Thanks folks !

13:02:11          From vasundhara bhatia: Thank you everyone

13:02:15          From Abigail Slater: Thank you all!

13:02:17          From Maria Suarez to All panelists: What a great discussion! Thank you all very much!

13:02:17          From Zoë Mager: This was incredible. Thank you!

13:02:18          From shelley tsolakis: Amazing and beautiful minds… thanks for sharing

13:02:22          From Saido Abdi: thank you

13:02:23          From BJ Danylchuk: thank you very much!

13:02:23          From Michelle Francis: offer a $500 rebate to online participants in response to Covid

13:02:23          From Abigail Slater: The future looks brighter today

13:02:24          From Laura Frescas: Thank you all! Amazing job

13:02:28          From PATRICIA RUNZER: Thank you for your insights on youth!

13:02:44          From Lisa Mactaggart: the panelists fill me with hope.

13:03:10          From Lars Henriksson: Look at the opportunities the mid-sized cities (50K-250K inhabitants) represent as less expensive alternatives to the Torontos and Vancouvers., particularly in southern Ontario and Quebec. Encourage companies to locate to these cities to create jobs, make sure there are good universities and colleges there, governments can lead by moving offices there. Expand inter-city train connections. In short, make it attractive to live, work and play in these ciites.

13:03:13          From Michelle Francis: never go back to normal – I love it

13:03:15          From Olusola Olufemi to All panelists: Thank you for adding the voices of the youths!

13:03:17          From Allan Kean: Thank you all!

13:03:20          From Cheryll Case: Woo!

13:03:22          From Cheryll Case: Thanks all!

13:03:24          From Naghmeh Nia to All panelists: thank you all

13:03:28          From Sayemin Naheen to All panelists: thanks!

13:10:12          From Canadian Urban Institute: Folks, if the chat is slowing down, we will close it in a few minutes. Please leave your comments (or initiate your conversations!) now. Thanks so much for your participation!