Ontario's Violence Prevention Strategy
Since taking office, the McGuinty government has been working hard to create healthy, strong and sustainable communities. The Youth Challenge Fund builds on the government's previous initiatives to prevent violence by building a higher quality of life in Ontario.
About The Fund
The Youth Challenge Fund is a new $15-million fund that aims to create meaningful opportunities for young people who are at risk of making the wrong choices.
The fund will support local community initiatives for youth at risk, which have been put forward by community organizations.
The fund is called a "challenge" fund because the Premier has challenged the private sector and private contributors to match the government's $15-million investment. The government will then match private sector contributions up to an additional $15 million, for a potential total investment of over $45 million over the next three years.
Board of Directors
Toronto Argonauts Head Coach Mike "Pinball" Clemons will chair the fund. Together with a board of directors, Mr. Clemons will review proposed community initiatives and make investments on behalf of the fund.
The board of directors will be chosen from a cross-section of community and sports leaders, senior business executives, skilled trades leaders, educators, and both provincial and municipal representatives.
In consultation with the City of Toronto and the United Way of Greater Toronto, 13 neighbourhoods have been identified for immediate investment. These neighbourhoods were selected based on urgent local needs.
The 13 priority communities are: Jamestown, Jane-Finch, Weston-Mount Dennis, Lawrence Heights, Westminster-Branson, Crescent Town, Flemingdon Park-Victoria Village, Steeles-l'Amoureaux, Dorset Park, Eglinton East-Kennedy Park, Scarborough Village, Kingston-Galloway and Malvern.
Role of the United Way of Greater Toronto
The United way will provide administrative support, research, expert advice and evaluate projects. It will also coordinate fundraising and issue charitable receipts.
Other Prevention Initiatives
The government has taken several steps to prevent violence by breaking down financial barriers and creating more opportunities for young people in Ontario. This fund adds to the government's investments in education, child care and communities, including:
- Delivering approximately $1.1 billion in federal funds between 2005 and 2008 to support Best Start, the largest investment in child care and early learning in Ontario's history.
- Creating the $20-million Community Use of Schools program to increase the use of schools by not-for-profit groups at reduced rates.
- Launching ACTIVE2010, Ontario's Strategy for Sport and Physical Activity. Under this strategy, the government is investing $12 million in provincial and community sport, and $5 million in the Communities in Action Fund, which supports physical activity and local sport and recreation initiatives.
- Introducing legislation to ensure students keep learning until age 18 or graduation.
- Developing options for a high-skills diploma for high school students.
- Establishing a Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat to improve provincial test scores in reading, writing and math.
- Expanding apprenticeships and apprenticeship training programs.
- Providing tax credits to employers who hire apprentices.
- Increased funding for English-as-a-second language (ESL) programs in Ontario's schools by $64 million, so that ESL can be offered to children over a longer period of time.
- Providing the City of Toronto with $500,000, for a second consecutive year, for its Jobs-For-Youth program to help about 300 youth from high-risk neighbourhoods get summer jobs.
- Investing $1.4 billion in transit since 2003, which represents the largest investment in public transit in a decade.