Black History Month: Health Resources for Black Youth in Canada

By Muhanad Ali, Director of Communications, Young Canadians Roundtable on Health

Picture taken from ETFO Magazine on    Teaching Black Canadian History Every Month

Picture taken from ETFO Magazine on Teaching Black Canadian History Every Month

Black history month was first introduced to the House of Commons in 1995 by Honourable Jean Augustine, the first Black Canadian woman elected to Parliament. In 2008, Senator Donald Oliver, the first Black man to be appointed to the Senate, who put forth a motion to recognize not only this history month, but also all the tremendous achievements and contributions Black Canadians – completing parliamentary motion and its position on this issue (Government of Canada, 2019).

As such, we encourage you to learn, organize, engage, speak, and reflect on this country’s Black history and the experience of Black Canadians. There are many events happening across this country during this memorable month, which we encourage you to participate. Here are some to look forward to, including some resources regarding the history of Black Canada:  

Black History in Canada – Education Guide

Historic Black Canadian communities – Government of Canada

Key Events in Black Canadian History – Government of Canada

Health Resources for Black Youth in Canada

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Help Statistics Canada validate how they measure poverty

Statistics Canada has created a short questionnaire that allows Canadians to provide input on current estimates of how much money a family needs for items like food, clothing, shelter and transportation.

The questionnaire takes no more than five minutes to complete, and will be open to all Canadians until January 31, 2019. Participation is anonymous and respondent information is protected by the Privacy Act.

For more information on this initiative and to fill out the questionnaire, please visit  

'The Power of Play' World Premiere: January 20th, 2019


Researchers are finding some astounding evidence that many living things – from fish to humans – not only like to play, but they need it for survival. The new episode of The Nature of Things - The Power of Play, explores why this is especially crucial in children, as more young Canadians spend less time outdoors and more time indoors focused on screens.
The documentary takes viewers to research labs, zoos, and aquariums around the world to see how animals play, who they play with, and what happens when they are prevented from playing. Sergio Pellis, a behavioural neuroscientist at the University of Lethbridge explains how he came to the conclusion that play deprivation causes depression in lab rats. It’s something American psychiatrist Stuart Brown suspected when he studied violent offenders in the United States. Pellis and Brown are among a growing number of experts who are convinced that unstructured play is vital to our mental health and well being.
Other experts, including Vancouver’s Mariana Brussoni and Norway’s Ellen Sandseter are leading a movement to return to risky play which involves some level of danger. A visit to an outdoor childcare centre in Norway shows the resilient, rosy-cheeked children benefiting from playing outside all day in a space with no fences and almost no limits.

The documentary will have its world broadcast premiere on CBC’s THE NATURE OF THINGS on Sunday, January 20 at 8 P.M. (8:30 NT) and will also be available to stream on CBC Gem from 5 p.m. ET on Friday, January 18.

Check out a sneak peek here.

Early Prevalence Data from the Brock Healthy Youth Project (BYHP)


Brock Healthy Youth Project aims to understand how we can promote healthy lifestyle choices among youth

The Brock Healthy Youth Project (BHYP) is a project being led by a team of researchers from Brock University’s Lifespan Centre. BHYP aims to provide a window into adolescent brain development and health-risk behaviours. Specifically, BHYP is a collaborative effort dedicated to longitudinally examining health-risk behaviours from childhood through adolescence by investigating interactions among brain activity, genetics, endocrine status, physical activity, personality, and environmental factors. Partners in this project are involved in the full research process – from idea creation through to dissemination and evaluation.

Check out BHYP’s 12 new infographics showing early prevalence data.


Anyone interested in learning more about BHYP early results, knowledge mobilization efforts, and partner possibilities should email Jayne Morrish at

Establishing Sustainable Youth-Adult Partnerships: Research and Recommendations

By Parnian Pardis and Alyssa Frampton of the Young Canadians Roundtable on Health

Within the Young Canadians Roundtable on Health (YCRH), we pride ourselves on being a youth-led organization that advocates for child and youth health. We each contribute unique perspectives on health, so that we can approach novel situations creatively and with the best interests of children and youth. However, support from our parent group, The Sandbox Project, has been critical to our success. Our partnership with Sandbox is exemplary of an effective youth-adult partnership, and reflecting on this relationship is important to encourage other organizations and policy makers to similarly include youth voice in their decisions.

In 2017, we initiated the Sandbox Youth Adult Partnership Research Project (YAPRP) with the Students Commission of Canada. Dr. Heather Ramey, Principal Investigator of this study, and her research team conducted interviews with current and former YCRH members, Sandbox staff and executives, and external stakeholders.

What did we find?

Key findings from these discussions highlighted the mutually beneficial relationships that have been established between YCRH members and adult allies. For example, YCRH members emphasized they could rely on support from The Sandbox Project’s network, while adult allies reported acquiring new skills from working with young people. Creating this healthy balance between YCRH and Sandbox has grounded the YCRH as a “living laboratory” within which young people can create meaningful relationships, advocate for their values, and encourage involvement from other youth as well.

Recommendations to build strong youth-adult partnerships

Gathering the perspectives of youth and adults alike, this project has provided valuable insight that should be considered in all youth-adult partnerships.

  1. Raise the bar. Create an ongoing platform to gather youth input.

  2. Invest in mutual relationships. Nurture mutual understanding among youth and adults, taking the time to understand their interests and ambitions. Further, use this understanding to connect youth with internal and external opportunities that increase youth presence in decision-making overall.

  3. Appreciate the value of different forms of knowledge and expertise. Expertise does not always surface in the form of academic knowledge; lived experience is just as valuable and should be respected.

  4. Recognize different ways of communicating. Translate knowledge to youth appropriately, recognizing how they grasp information best, with the intention to encourage them to put this information to practical use.

  5. For adult allies, embrace the unexpected. Recognize that working with youth is not equivalent to working with other adults. Provide generous timeframes, engage in mutual respect, and set deadlines at the outset of the working relationship.

  6. Continuously revisit and renegotiate structure and flexibility. Adults are mentors that can help equip youth with the necessary tools for success. Ongoing communication between youth and adults is required to develop conditions in which youth can excel.

While these recommendations appear quite feasible, they are often forgotten. Organizations can superficially gather youth opinion, without appropriately evaluating their input during decision-making. It would be quite outdated to believe that youth cannot provide valuable knowledge and information, especially about decisions which pertain to them. Findings from the YAPRP serve as important reminders, and provide a valuable framework to understand youth-adult partnerships, strengthening the potential of adults to act as strong youth allies. Not only do youth deserve to be heard, but their voices need to be amplified. Let’s do everything we can to help make this happen.

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