Our history

1977 — Genesis and ideals

Katimavik (which means “meeting place” in the Inuktitut language) is founded. The initial driving impulse was to educate youth and spur lifelong civic engagement through community service. In its first year, Katimavik mobilized 1,000 volunteers, who worked on projects in more than 80 communities.

1977-1986 — Maturity and growth

In its first glory years, many Canadians discovered other regions of Canada for the first time. They learned languages and acquired skills, while growing in body and mind.

In 1985 — Katimavik honoured

As its alumni ranks swelled to 15,000, Katimavik’s influence also grew. During International Youth Year, the United Nations honoured Katimavik with an award for its environmental involvement.

By 1986 — Over 17 000 volunteers

Katimavik contributed to the education of over 17 000 young Canadians by engaging them in volunteer service, community involvement, cultural discovery, the practicing of Canada’s official languages and environmental protection.

1986-1994 — The difficult years

Katimavik’s federal funding was interrupted. The program survived, much diminished, as an outdoor recreational and training centre in the Montréal suburb of Île-Perrot.

1994 — Rebirth

Katimavik’s budget was reinstated, and in 1994, 66 participants from Ontario, Québec and New Brunswick took on projects in six communities. Annual participation has since grown to over 1,000 yearly in some 90 communities.

1999 — International recognition

Katimavik took part in the IANYS conference in El Paso. A five year strategic plan was being deployed and to help guide Katimavik into the new millennium and the first Meet Your MP events were held on Parliament Hill.

2000-2001 — Two new leadership programs established: Leader 16-19 and Leader Plus 22-26.

2004 — Katimavik participated in the International Association of National Youth Service (IANYS) international conference in Accra, Ghana. Katimavik signed a partnership with Vancouver Island University that provided university credits for our volunteers.

2005 — University credits

Capilano College in North Vancouver, British Columbia, recognized the Katimavik program by awarding credits to students who successfully complete the program.

2006 — ROI proven

Katimavik was able to report that each dollar spent by the Katimavik program generates a return of $2.20 in each of the communities that work with our volunteers.

2007-2008 — Program modernized

Several modifications were made to the learning program. The objective is to allow Katimavik to more efficiently and scientifically measure the progression of each youth’s personal development progress.

2008-2009 — Competency model adopted

Katimavik restructured the learning program for volunteers. Instead of focusing solely on improving skill-sets, the new model favours the development of our volunteers’ personal, social and professional competencies.

2009-2010 — 6 month programs introduced

Starting in September 2009, Katimavik offered the following programs: “Eco-citizenship and Active Living”, “Second Language and Cultural Identity” and “Cultural Discovery and Civic-Engagement”.

2009-2010 Post-secondary credit

Cégep Marie-Victorin (QC, 2009) and George Brown College (ON, 2010) recognized the Katimavik program by awarding credits to students that complete the program.

2010-2011 — A renewed focus on community impact

The communities that host Katimavik groups are selected based on criteria that reflect the areas of impact targeted by Katimavik: social services, poverty reduction, formal & non-formal education (focus on literacy), arts, culture & heritage, sports and leisure, environment & sustainable development - media & communications and social justice .

2011-2012 — A successful year in the field with a difficult announcement at the end

In the 2011-2012 fiscal year Katimavik brought together more than 1000 young Canadians to contribute to the social and economic well-being of 54 Canadian communities; Katimavik provided over 600 not-for-profit organizations with nearly 660 000 hours of service to benefit those communities.

Unfortunately, we suffered an unexpected blow with the March 29th federal government budget announcement. Despite strong words of support and encouragement from both the Prime Minister and the Minister of Canadian Heritage in our previous annual reports, as well as the very positive summative evaluation of our program released by Canadian Heritage mere weeks prior to the budget announcement, the clear alignment with this government’s policy aims and priorities, and the indisputable value created by Katimavik for its volunteers and community partners, the federal government cut its funding of Katimavik.

2012 – 2013 – The relaunch

Alumni have been active in keeping Katimavik active and very much alive. The Victoriaville project and the Ecointernship programs generated fantastic results for the communities and for the youth that participated. The VIP program which was launched in the Fall of 2013 is pausing after a pilot project of 4 month that took place in Peterborough, ON. We are currently working with various organizations to see what kind of partnership could be possible for the future.