Publication Date: 2021/05/05

TORONTO, 5 May 2021 - The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every community in Canada and threatened the childhoods of millions of its youngest residents. However, we have not yet heard about what matters most from children and youth themselves. UNICEF Canada, the Canadian Index of Wellbeing, the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Medavie Health Foundation are partnering with four communities to launch the Community Child and Youth Well-being Survey to get a snapshot of the lives of young people.

“Young voices need to be heard by leaders in their communities, but children and youth do not have many opportunities to share the reality of their experiences, particularly during this pandemic,” said Lisa Wolff, Director of Policy and Research at UNICEF Canada. “The Community Child and Youth Well-being Survey lets decision-makers know what growing up is really like for kids today and gives young people the opportunity to spark change and guide action to improve their health and well-being.” 

The survey launches this week in four pilot communities: Ottawa, Halton Region, Waterloo Region and Tri-Counties in Nova Scotia (Digby, Yarmouth, and Shelburne Counties). The questions are available online for young people 9-18 years old. 

The survey covers nine themes: health, happiness, learning, security, participation, ability to play, protection, belonging, and connection to the environment. The survey will reveal how young people are experiencing mental health, life satisfaction, support from family, teachers and friends, personal safety, discrimination, leisure and rest, and food and housing security.

The survey meets a need for comprehensive data on child and youth well-being which can be challenging to secure at the local level. It enables communities to identify equity gaps between children, monitor progress, and bring young people together with decision-makers to help inform programs, services, and supports available to young people. 

UNICEF Canada has co-developed the survey with community partners, including young people, to help build capacity to secure the rights and well-being of their youngest residents and learn from each other’s common challenges and successes. 

There can be no recovery from the pandemic without recovery for and with children and youth.


•    The Community Child and Youth Well-being Survey is aligned with UNICEF Canada’s Canadian Index of Child and Youth Well-being, a national snapshot of child and youth well-being.
•    In 2020, the Children and Youth Planning Table (CYPT) along with their partners in Waterloo Region, was the first community in Canada to pilot the survey. 2021 marks an expansion to three additional pilot communities.
•    The survey closes May 31, 2021 in Ottawa, Waterloo Region and Nova Scotia Tri-Countries. The survey closes June 14, 2021 in Halton Region.
•    The survey is voluntary and takes about 25 minutes to complete. Young people who fill out the survey will receive volunteer hours and be entered into a draw for gift cards. 
•    Results from the survey are expected in Fall 2021.

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UNICEF is the world’s leading humanitarian organization focused on children. We work in the most challenging areas to provide protection, healthcare and immunizations, education, safe water and sanitation and nutrition. As part of the United Nations, our unrivaled reach spans more than 190 countries and territories, ensuring we are on the ground to help the most disadvantaged children. While part of the UN system, UNICEF relies entirely on voluntary donations to finance our life-saving work. Please visit and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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