The Toronto Youth Cabinet endorses the Toronto Can Do Better campaign

Toronto is becoming more and more inequitable. 1 in 4 children live in poverty—100,000 households are on the subsidized housing waitlist, waitlists for affordable recreation programs have grown to 189,000, TTC service is inadequate in many inner-suburban communities, and the homeless death toll has just surpassed 70 in 2017.

Toronto’s youth are tired of waiting for investments in housing, transit, and good jobs, as well as services we can count on to help reduce poverty and make life more affordable in the city.

As the City’s official youth advisory body, we are deeply concerned about the 2018 budget. Rather than responding to the urgent needs of Torontonians and costing ambitions, a direction to freeze spending has been set. This will ultimately result in negative service level impacts, and therefore negatively impact Toronto’s youth. We have already been feeling the negative effects of continuous status-quo budgets.

City Council has promised services and investments, but they have not funded them yet. The 2018 budget is our chance to make a real difference.

These are just some of the reasons as to why we are endorsing the Toronto Can Do Better campaign. The campaign is calling for the Mayor and Council to deliver on their promises that they have already adopted. To fund these promises, it would cost homeowners an extra $3 a week in taxes. $3 a week to invest in services for us all. Toronto Can Do Better!

Take action by contacting your Councillor here:

Riley Peterson                                                        Edna Ali                                                Budget Lead                                                          Executive Director

Created by City Council in 1998, the Toronto Youth Cabinet is a youth-led advocacy organization and the official youth advisory body of City of Toronto. Through outreach, engagement and training, the TYC provides a  critical gathering place for diverse young people interested in making change within a municipal governance context.


If you have any questions, email our Budget Lead at

TYC National Housing Day Statement

            Today we stand in solidarity with those who continue to fight for an affordable and accessible city of Toronto. As we work to create governance systems that prioritize addressing our social housing crisis, we must continue to subsidize housing for low-income tenants, build new social housing stock that provides people with affordable opportunities to live in the city, and eliminate homelessness by prioritizing the needs of the marginalized, racialized, and disenfranchised who continue to live in precarious housing situations. 

            In our discussions about housing inaccessibility and unaffordability we must contextualize the roots of the housing crisis in the decades of disinvestment and downloading of responsibilities across levels of government, and recognize that this emergency is not new – it is a struggle that lower-income/working-class individuals, especially those who are racialized and marginalized, have been battling alone for decades.

            To move forward successfully, we must recognize that housing is a fundamental human right – as such, everyone has a right to adequate housing that is affordable, secure, and safe. We must end the trivialization of “millennial” experiences. The structural problems that we experience today are the result of the commodification of housing and a failure of government housing. In this context, young people are not choosing to rent; we are forced to because homeownership is no longer a viable option, to say otherwise is insulting to the lived experience of the majority. Furthermore, our discussions about gentrification and displacement must go beyond "urban hipster" and "young professional" discourses that ignore the institutions and processes that systematically disadvantage young people along intersectional lines of race/ethnicity, gender, class, age, and so forth.

            At the Toronto Youth Cabinet’s “Youth Talks: Housing” event on May 2, 2017, a number of concerns were brought forward by youth at the table. Our representative officials should have a duty and responsibility to consider these important concerns, as we move forward with our advocacy and direct action together:

  • We must center our work on lived experience

  • Young people, or millennials, are not a homogenous group; applying an intersectional framework allows one to illuminate differences in experiences and to further understand the root causes of systemic injustice, as well as social and economic inequality

  • We must value youth voice – this requires taking youth experiences as expert advice, giving young people responsibility to organizing, being willing to hear criticism and create solutions and leadership that is sustainable

  • Inadequate housing can perpetuate marginalization and discrimination – we need to build a system that reflects the diversity of needs and experiences

  • Homelessness and youth homelessness should not be separated – racialized and LGBTQ+ young people make up the majority of youth who experience homelessness; multiple instances of homelessness should be a signal that our child welfare system is not working well 

  • We need accountability! One way of doing this is through a legislative right to housing

  • Those who are privileged should use their power to engage with others and create a city that is accessible and affordable for all

  • Housing is only one of the many costs that young people have to bare – our solutions must go beyond housing policy and include: a revision of our tax policy, an equitable city budget and incentives for child care, transportation, and student debt


Keisha St. Louis-McBurnie                                    Edna Ali                                                  Housing Lead                                                         Executive Director

Created by City Council in 1998, the Toronto Youth Cabinet is a youth-led advocacy organization and the official youth advisory body of City of Toronto. Through outreach, engagement and training, the TYC provides a  critical gathering place for diverse young people interested in making change within a municipal governance context.


If you have any questions, email our Housing Lead at

Apply to Become a Working Group Lead!

Are you 13 to 24 and interested in making a difference in Toronto? Consider applying to lead one of the Toronto Youth Cabinet's Working Groups!

Volunteer Title: various - see below
Term: May 2017- April 2018
Hours per week: 3-4
Application Deadline: April 20th, 2017 (11:59pm)
Successful candidates will be contacted on April 21st, 2017 to schedule interview
Interviews: April 24-26th, 2017
The successful candidates will be contacted on April 27th or 28th, 2017.
Leadership Team Orientation taking place on Sunday, April 30th, 2017.

Be sure to check out our Executive positions too!

We are happy to announce that the Toronto Youth Cabinet is now accepting applications for amazing young people to become our Working Group Leads for the 2017-18 term! Be sure to read through the application before you begin. We recommend completing the application in another word processor and then copy/paste your answers into the form. Once you submit your application, you will receive a confirmation email with the application you submitted. If you have any questions about the application process, please email us at

The deadline for applications is Thursday, April 20th at 11:59pm EST. Late applications will not be accepted. All applicants must be between the ages of 13 and 24 years of age. This is a volunteer position. Successful applicants are required to attend the Leadership Team Orientation on Sunday, April 30th. 

The Toronto Youth Cabinet encourages applications from indigenous youth, youth of colour, LGBTQ2SIA youth, and youth with experiences of migration.

For your reference, we have included a short description for each of the seven (7) Working Groups below to give an idea of the type of work done by each Working Group. If you have questions about these descriptions or the Toronto Youth Cabinet generally, please email us at

All Working Group Leads are expected to:
- Attend monthly Leadership Team meetings and monthly Cabinet meetings
- Communicate regularly via email and Slack
- Fulfill their roles as outlined in the Constitution and TYC policies:

  • Shall be responsible for developing and executing a one-year work plan for the Working Group
  • Shall be responsible for membership recruitment, engagement, and retention for the Working Group
  • Shall work with the Executive Committee to ensure effective collaboration and communication
  • Shall perform such tasks as to be in compliance with organizational policies & procedures, as well as directives from the Leadership Team
  • Shall miss no more than two (2) meetings without prior notice and reason

This commitment will take approximately 3 to 4 hours per week, depending on the role. Meetings typically take place during the evenings and weekends, most often in the TYC Office located at City Hall. TTC tokens are provided for all transportation related to TYC work.

Benefits of becoming a Working Group Lead:
- Gain leadership experience
- Personal development support
- Learn about City Hall & municipal governance
- Networking opportunities
- Access to TYC Office
- Meet local decision-makers

TYES Working Group
The TYES Working Group will advise City staff and support the implementation of the Toronto Youth Equity Strategy (TYES)- Gender-Based Violence. The Working Group will consist of a Lead and members with lived experience as part of the trans, two-spirited and gender-diverse communities.

Transit Working Group
The Transit Working Group aims to advocate for transit policies that meet the needs of youth and students in Toronto.

School Boards Working Group
The School Boards Working Group strives to connect the Toronto Youth Cabinet with the Toronto's school boards in order to develop initiatives to benefit students. In doing so, we endeavour to raise awareness on issues related to youth in education at municipal levels.

Community Safety Working Group
By developing initiatives concerning policing and violence prevention, the Community Safety Working Group strives to create a safer Toronto.

Equity & Employment Working Group
The Equity & Employment Working Group works to fight the city's rising rate of youth unemployment, improve access to jobs for marginalized youth, and work with staff to reduce barriers for young people as part of the Toronto Youth Equity Strategy.

Housing Working Group
Are you a young person interested in issues of housing? The Housing Working Group is dedicated to creating effective strategies to build equal opportunity for youth in securing housing.

Budget Working Group
The Budget Working Group aims to increase youth awareness, engagement, and excitement around the City’s Budget process and in the Participatory Budgeting Pilot.