What are the priority issues for young Quebecers?

What are the priority issues for young Quebecers? /></p>
<p> Young people met in committees to discuss the issues that concern them during the Grand Consultation Jeunesse. </p>
<p>Some 150 young people between the ages of 12 and 30 from all over Quebec issued three major recommendations for the Government of Quebec at the end of the 7th Grand Consultation Jeunesse (GCJ) which took place on April 3 and 4 at the Hôtel Universel in the capital. This gathering, led by the Coalition Interjeunes, raised certain priority issues for Quebec youth, including housing, health and inclusion.</p>
<p>“We were used to annual face-to-face meetings, but with the pandemic, we had to take a break in 2020 and then do an entirely virtual one in 2021 right inside, explains the executive director of the Coalition Interjeunes, Jennifer Robillard. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have noticed the emergence of pressing issues for young people to feel better at school and in their personal lives. Young people needed to be heard probably more than usual, and it was this spirit that animated the 2023 meeting.”</p>
<h3 class=Priority Topics

Health and social services issues were raised almost unanimously by the young people present at the event. The latter expressed general dissatisfaction with the lack of listening, sensitivity, respect and inadequate follow-up experienced in the health system. In addition, the housing crisis was regularly mentioned by participants who have also been affected by the rise in rental prices since the start of the pandemic.

After leaving the DPJ, many young people face housing problems. Others, even from more affluent backgrounds, would like to go to CEGEP and must leave their hometowns to settle in urban centers, where rents are more expensive. The housing crisis affects them all, especially those who live close to homelessness or who have experienced it themselves. We talk a lot about adults who are experiencing housing problems, but it concerns young people too.

Jennifer Robillard, Executive Director of the Coalition Interjeunes

Another issue considered essential by the young people present at the GCJ is greater awareness of LGBTQ2A+ realities in schools and in society at large. They recommend deploying an awareness campaign to promote gender diversity, increasing the number of gender-neutral toilets in public places and schools, as well as revising the system of changing rooms in schools.

What are the issues priorities for young Quebecers? /></p>
<p>More than a hundred young people posed during the GCJ, gathering from which several links emerged. Photo: Courtesy, Alizée Thalmensy </p>
<h3 class=Homelessness, a youth issue

Young people from Saguenay, Outaouais, Montreal and elsewhere participated in the event, bringing with them priorities reflecting their territorial realities. As a result, discussions surrounding youth homelessness have taken place in order to raise young people's awareness of this problem, which does not only affect young people in Montreal and from which young people in the province are not necessarily immune, little wherever they are.

“By 2023, we've put a lot of money into action plans to fight homelessness, but there's a huge need for prevention,” says Mélodie Cordeau, worker for the Montreal organization doing homelessness prevention. youth homelessness, Coalition Jeunes+. Homelessness is very close to my heart because I have experienced it, and participating in this kind of gathering allows young people to be made aware of this reality in addition to being able to develop strategies to improve prevention.”

This was her third participation in the GCJ, and it is obvious to the speaker that young people do not receive enough tools in their development to become responsible and autonomous adults.

“Prevention must be done upstream, with the adaptation of school curricula so that they respond to all young people. Of all the young people who find themselves in youth protection, more than a third end up homeless. Stigmatizing them when they experience residential insecurity does not help them, and homelessness is a collateral damage of a lack of alternatives. We should break with this approach of superiority towards them and listen to them with a humanist approach so that they have the confidence to seek the help they need, instead of feeling fear at the idea that the DPJ will show up at their home. them.”

What is YCG?

According to the Coalition Interjeunes website, the Grande Consultation Jeunesse (GCJ) is an annual event that brings together hundreds of young people from across Quebec to discuss common issues and their realities in order to collectively seek solutions. The recommendations resulting from the process are then forwarded to the various levels of government, so that those in power take into account the voices of young people.

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