It is with extreme disappointment that we learned today that the Government has decided to end its funding commitment to Katimavik.
Today’s announcement comes as a surprise, since we are entering the third year of a funding agreement whose terms end March 31st, 2013. The decision is even more surprising considering that the recently made public Canadian Heritage summative evaluation of our programs makes very clear how Katimavik’s programs are not only relevant, important and valuable, but also how the organization attains its targets and the programs tie in with government-wide priorities and the department’s strategic objectives.
For the past 35 years, Katimavik has helped shape a civically responsible Canada by harnessing the power of our young volunteers to help those in need in communities across Canada. In that time, over 30 000 Canadian youth have made a difference in communities from coast-to-coast-to-coast. They participated in our program gaining valuable work, life and leadership skills all the while fostering community development and civic engagement. Their parents had peace of mind knowing that their sons and daughters were participating in a structured, time-tested program, while they navigated the transition from emerging adulthood to adulthood.
In the coming days, our Board of Directors and management staff will be convened to plan the next steps.
We appreciate the ongoing support of the thousands of Canadians and community organizations that have been touched by our programs. At a time when civic-engagement and voter turnout are at an all-time low, when youth unemployment rates are double the national average, this is clearly the worst time to cut Katimavik. Our mission to promote and instil long-term social responsibility and civic involvement and provide job skills to our young people is now needed more than ever; as is the tangible help to our not-for-profit work partners in communities all across Canada so they can deliver essential services to those that need them the most.
There is still time to reverse the government’s decision. In the weeks and days to come, we hope we can count on Katimavik’s many supporters to speak with their elected officials about their experiences and articulate the value and benefits of a strong Katimavik for Canada.