100 Youth Join MPs on Parliament Hill to Witness Democracy in Action

By Jared Morrow / Images by Ben Welland—byfield-pitman photography

“Youth In Office made me realize the importance of sharing my voice and knowing that I have the right to make decisions in this world,” said Boys and Girls Club staff member Tamika Malcolm, in a recent interview.

“Now I have the chance to influence other youth to vote, to know what’s going on around them, and to get involved in politics.”

A joint initiative of Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada, Youth In Office inspires young people to become more engaged citizens by exposing them to politics and the democratic process in Canada.

Selected from Boys and Girls Clubs and Big Brothers Big Sisters across the country, 100 young leaders aged 14 to 24 were on Parliament Hill on November 7 to gain an insider perspective on Canadian democracy by job shadowing Members of Parliament and Hill staffers who make important decisions about Canada and its future.

Young people from Boys and Girls Clubs and Big Brothers Big Sisters stay warm at the kickoff to Youth In Office

The participants were privy to the day-to-day activities of MPs from all parties and all parts of the country. Among other exciting opportunities, Autumn and Mariam joined MP Deepak Obhrai to meet with the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs, Charlotte and Brittanie visited the Canadian Aerospace Summit with MPs Steven MacKinnon and Leona Alleslev, and Vanesa helped MP Brian Masse write a petition to protect Ojibway Shores in Windsor.

“Youth in Office is an important part of our mission to elevate youth voices across the country,” said Owen Charters, President & CEO of Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada. “Job shadowing an MP for a day helps our youth explore different career and learn about the democratic process, and encourages them to get involved in their local communities.”

“We believe every child should have the opportunity to reach their full potential, as individuals and as citizens,” said Peter Coleridge, National President and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada. “Events like Youth In Office are informal mentoring opportunities, which build confidence in young people and result in positive outcomes in mental health, employment, inclusion, and civic engagement later in life.”

Youth and MPS gather in front of the #KindComments mural in downtown Ottawa

This year, Youth In Office included the official Canadian launch of Instagram’s #KindComments campaign. Youth and MPs gathered at 150 Bank Street in downtown Ottawa to unveil a #KindComments mural—the first of its kind in Canada—painted by local artist Carolyn Jane Borer (Roll Her Sleeves). Additional murals will appear around the world, including New York City, Dallas, Chicago, Mexico City, Jakarta, Tokyo, and Mumbai.

The mural represents the commitment of Boys and Girls Clubs, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Instagram to foster a supportive and kind environment where everyone can feel free to express who they are—offline and online.

Youth In Office participants also attended media training sessions, workshopped Hill etiquette with Parliamentary Interns, learned from the experiences of young Indigenous activists Cody Coyote and Gabrielle Fayant, and attended Question Period in the House of Commons.

Share in some of the incredible moments on social media with hashtag #YouthInOffice.