Executive Council
Human Resources, Labour and Employment
June 5, 2008

Province to Develop a Youth Retention and Attraction Strategy

In Budget 2008, the Provincial Government committed $1.38 million to develop a Youth Retention and Attraction Strategy to counter the negative impacts of youth out-migration, strengthen the labour market and support the economic development of the province. Today, the Honourable Danny Williams, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador; the Honourable Shawn Skinner, Minister of Human Resources, Labour and Employment; and Dr. Sharon Manson Singer, President of Canadian Policy Research Networks (CPRN), announced that the Provincial Government has secured CPRN to engage young people in Newfoundland and Labrador and those who have moved away, through a wide-ranging youth consultation and deliberative dialogue project. The project will complement and support the overall development of the strategy.

"Looking ahead, there are many great opportunities available for young people in Newfoundland and Labrador, and as a government we capitalize on these opportunities and provide incentives to ensure we remain a province of choice for our youth," said Premier Williams. "We need to move quickly and decisively in the development of a comprehensive Youth Retention and Attraction Strategy to encourage young people to stay in our province. Our province has reached a new era and has turned the corner to a bright and prosperous future. Newfoundland and Labrador has always been a preferred place to live and work, and now improved economics and increasing opportunities have made staying in our province a viable option for our young people."

CPRN is an independent and highly-regarded Canadian and international leader in the field of public engagement and dialogue on social and economic policy issues. Their experience and knowledge will help ensure that the views and perspectives of young people are fully considered in the development of the province�s Youth Retention and Attraction Strategy.

"Young people have great ideas and a unique perspective on the future," said Minister Skinner. "This is a youth-led project to enable young people throughout the province to gather, discuss and share views, and get involved in a constructive dialogue regarding policy choices that affect them and which they feel government needs to consider. To support this, a 19-member Youth Advisory Panel with province-wide representation has been struck to provide input and guidance, and to assist with the project�s research design and development of materials."

CPRN is using a deliberative dialogue process to look at the issues and to generate detailed insight into youth values, considerations, choices and trade-offs. Youth will examine the critical issues they face and learn from each other through active participation in the process. The goal is to determine what youth are prepared to support and recommend to the Provincial Government in guiding the development of the Youth Retention and Attraction Strategy.

"This project belongs to the young people of Newfoundland and Labrador," says Dr. Manson Singer. "Engaging young people and getting their perspectives and ideas to define the kind of province they want to live in is fundamental to achieving the purpose of the Provincial Government�s Youth Retention and Attraction Strategy and reversing out-migration."

"It's exciting to see the Provincial Government acting on youth out-migration and I am glad to be part of the process," said Remzi Cej, Youth Advisory Panel member. "The Youth Advisory Panel is a testament to the concerns of youth about their future in this province. Being a part of it is inspiring and it shows how much youth care about Newfoundland and Labrador."

There are several elements associated with the dialogue process. Between September and December 2008, 10 one-day dialogue sessions � one in each of the nine rural secretariat regions with an additional session in St. John�s � will be held with youth; two one-day sessions are being hosted outside the province with youth who have re-located; and an online social networking page will be posted to broaden the opportunity for as many youth as possible to offer their views and make a contribution. This work will culminate in a provincial youth summit. Youth attending the regional sessions will select their representatives to examine the issues and options to that point from a province-wide perspective. CPRN will then present its findings and options and write a final report for government�s consideration.

"Our government is committed to advancing the interests of young people," said Premier Williams. "I value the guidance and insight that youth have to offer and I believe that this process will result in a better understanding of what youth view to be important for their future and the future success of our province."

For further information on CPRN, please visit www.cprn.org

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Media contacts:

Elizabeth Matthews
Director of Communications
Office of the Premier
709-729-3960, 709-693-7291
Ed Moriarity
Director of Communications
Department of Human Resources, Labour and Employment
709-729-4062, 728-9623
Andrea Nolan
Press Secretary
Office of the Premier
709-729-4304, 727-0991
Sharon Manson Singer
Canadian Policy Research Networks



Project Purpose

The project will engage young people in Newfoundland and Labrador in a dialogue to obtain their perspectives and ideas on what is needed to make it the province of choice to live and work in. It supports the development of the province�s Youth Retention and Attraction Strategy. It will help identify ways and means to encourage young people to stay, live and work in the province.

Through the dialogue process, the needs of young people, aged 18 to 30, will be identified. The project�s findings and recommendations will inform provincial government policy development and decision-making. It will offer the Provincial Government an understanding of the trade-offs and choices young people are prepared to make and which they expect to be considered by government, business and communities in setting future directions for the province.

Project Process and Timeline

The engagement of young people will be conducted using CPRN�s deliberative dialogue process. In the dialogue process, participants examine, discuss and work through critical issues, learning from each other, gain an understanding of different perspectives and identify policy options to move forward.

  • September 2008 - 10 one-day dialogue sessions � one in each of the nine rural secretariat regions with an additional session in St.John�s � will be held with youth.
  • September 2008 � Two one-day dialogues will be held outside the province (Ontario and Alberta) where large numbers of young people have relocated.
  • August to November 2008 � An online social networking page will be available to foster discussion and input from young people.
  • November 2008 � Selected dialogue participants (160 total) along with 40 decision-makers from business, labour, community and government from throughout the province will attend a provincial youth summit to consider the input from the dialogues and to further explore regional differences.
  • December 2008 � CPRN presents key findings and policy options to the Provincial Government.
  • The CPRN will present a final report to the Provincial Government in the winter of 2009.

    Dialogue Locations

    The regional dialogues will be held early in September 2008 in the following centres:

  • Gander
  • Stephenville
  • Deer Lake
  • Port au Choix
  • Happy Valley-Goose Bay
  • Grand Falls-Windsor
  • Clarenville
  • Grand Bank
  • Carbonear
  • St. John�s
  • A Youth-Led Process

    Young people will have a voice in the work of the project and how it is carried out. A Youth Advisory Panel will provide ongoing advice on the project�s research design and the development of materials such as dialogue workbooks. CPRN and the Department of Human Resources, Labour and Employment selected the group membership jointly. Its membership is representative of the province�s young people and includes various age groups, education levels and regional perspectives. The Youth Advisory Panel will be composed of 19 young people from across the province who have shown a strong interest in the province�s future or who have skills and experience to assist in the project. Members will participate in the dialogues and the Summit as observers and may be part of the group of about 20 young people who will be trained as facilitators and recorders.

    Deliberative Dialogues

    The deliberative dialogue methodology enables a substantive look at issues to produce detailed insight on what matters most to people and why. Specifically, the process identifies the values that underlie their considerations and choices, the trade-offs they will or will not accept and, what conditions they want to impose on their decision-makers.

    Dialogue Methodology

    Participants are randomly selected by a professional market research firm. A professional facilitator supports participants in working through difficult issues as they engage with one another. Discussions and dialogue are based on a workbook which sets out key issues and questions.

    A typical dialogue session includes both plenary and small group deliberations, and individual and group reflections. Participants are also invited to complete a pre-dialogue questionnaire that asks them to rate possible scenarios and approaches to policy options. They are then asked to complete the questionnaire again at the end of the day, this time adding any conditions that they wish to include.


    Members of the Youth Advisory Panel

    Nushka Blais � Nushka is a student attending Memorial University majoring in biology. She is the current President of Franco-Jeunes Terre-Neuve et Labrador.

    Remzi Cej � Remzi is a Rhodes scholarship winner who has been active with Amnesty International, the Community Youth Network and numerous other organizations. He is the youngest recipient of the YM/WWCA Peace Medallion for Dedication to Human Rights.

    Amanda Cull � Amanda is enrolled in the Construction/Industrial Electrical program at the College of the North Atlantic in her home town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay. She is vice-president of the student council and an executive member of Futures in Newfoundland and Labrador�s Youth.

    Jonathon Earle � Jonathon is an active member of the Metis Nation and a member of ACE Memorial. He is the project leader of Moulder of Dreams and is currently expanding Think Green Internationally.

    Sabrina Fitzpatrick - Sabrina is a Level III French immersion student at Bishop�s College. She is active with the Kids Eat Smart program, is St. John�s Youth of the Year for 2008 and a former Ms. Teen Newfoundland and Labrador and Teen Canada.

    Kent Foran � Kent was born and raised in St. John�s. He completed a BA in English (St. Francis Xavier University) and a MA (Brock University). He currently lives in Toronto where he writes for Ernst and Young.

    Sarah Hann � Biographical information not available.

    Jeremy Hoffe � Jeremy is a Level II student at A.R. Scammell Academy in Change Islands. He is the Treasurer of the student council. He is very active in his community and volunteers at the Change Islands Youth Centre.

    Thomas Howard � Thomas resides in Baie Verte and is an active participant in youth-related activities at the local, provincial and national level. He is a member of the student council and the Sierra Club of Canada Environmental Education Committee.

    John McLean � John is a youth leader in his church, and is an active volunteer with both the St. John�s Native Friendship Centre and Futures in Newfoundland and Labrador's Youth.

    Pam Morrissey � Pam is a reporter and associate editor of the Aurora Newspaper in Labradro West. She is co-chair of the Hyron Youth Development Council and is also a member of Futures in Newfoundland and Labrador�s Youth.

    Lezlee Anne Pitcher � Lezlee Anne lives in Marystown where she works for Futures in Newfoundland and Labrador�s Youth. She is a graduate of the College of the North Atlantic�s Office Administration program.

    Chris Sheppard � Chris was born in Postville, Labrador where he was an active volunteer with groups such as the Labrador winter games organizing committee and Team Tobacco. He has represented aboriginal youth at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. He works with the St. John�s Native Friendship Centre.

    Daniel Smith � Daniel is from Pasadena Newfoundland. He holds a Bachelors degree in Environmental Studies from Sir Wilfred Grenfell College and is the current chairperson of the Newfoundland and Labrador component of Canadian Federation of Students.

    Kara Snow � Kara lives in St. Anthony and is working towards a Bachelor of Business Administration via distance education from Memorial University. She is a member of the Youth Advisory Committee and is active with the Rural Secretariat.

    Jenelle Welshman � Jenelle is a Level III student attending St. James Regional High School in Port aux Basques. She is active in the community and is member of the student council and the Community Youth Network.

    Heidi Williams � Heidi is attending Memorial University and is enrolled in the Bachelor of Commerce (Co-op) program. She is very active in sports; having rowed in the Royal St. John�s Regatta and competed as a tennis player at the Atlantic level. She is involved with the Youth in Business program.

    Chad Wiseman � Chad holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Memorial University and a Business Diploma from the College of the North Atlantic. He is employed with the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Agriculture and is the owner and operator of Northern Furs Inc. He is the President of the Newfoundland and Labrador Young Farmers Forum.

    Adam Vickers - Adam is a third-year student majoring in political science at Memorial University. Adam is a senior member of the Newfoundland and Labrador Youth Advisory Council.

    2008 06 05                                                1:15 p.m.


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