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Dr. Michelle Pidgeon: Our next generation of leaders gives hope for Canada's future

September 24, 2018

Op-Ed by Dr. Michelle Pidgeon. Originally appearing in The Province (Published: September 23, 2018) 

If I told you the negative stereotypes commonly parroted about young people are mostly bogus, would you believe me? You should.

This is the conclusion of the first ever Voices of Our Youth survey, a report I worked on with the Horatio Alger Association of Canada, in collaboration with Nanos Research, which polled over 2,000 young Canadians on several political, social, economic, educational and personal issues.

The study treads into new territory. While Millennials (those born between the early 1980s and mid-1990s) have been the subject of many reports and think pieces, little has been written on the following generation, Generation Z, those born between the mid-1990s and the mid-2000s. Thanks to our report, we now have some insight into their views, values and attitudes.

Canada’s 14- to 23-year-olds are far from lazy. Generation Z members overwhelmingly believe that hard work is more important for achieving success in life than luck. For example, a good portion of high school students work part-time. In terms of how they view themselves as having a successful life, they are determined to gain financial stability while still placing great importance on helping others and the environment. Often portrayed as being pessimistic, nearly three-quarters claim to be hopeful or somewhat hopeful for the future. Young people today also identified freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression as being the most important freedom that Canadians enjoy.

Young people are often castigated for not thinking of their long-term future, but this actually forms one of their most common anxieties; 77 per cent of high-school graduates feel their top pressure is to have their lives figured out. For the majority, this pressure is self-induced, in combination with parental/guardian pressure.

Read the remainder of this article by Dr. Michelle Pigeon here