Horatio Alger Association of Canada releases first-ever Voices of Our Youth survey

September 18, 2018

Young Canadians remain optimistic about the future and are heavily focused on financial stability, working hard and helping others – but are concerned about the plight of Indigenous Canadians, the impact of technology and levels of stress, according to a wide-ranging study of young Canadians commissioned by the Horatio Alger Association of Canada.

The first-of-its-kind survey polled more than 2,000 Canadians aged 14-23. The results challenge much of the conventional wisdom about young Canadians and sheds lights on the world view of "Generation Z" – the group of people born in the mid- to late-1990s, after the so-called "Millennials".

The results were part of a report unveiled at an Ottawa press conference this morning featuring the Right Honourable David Johnston, Canada's 28th Governor General and Member of the Horatio Alger Association of Canada; Prem Watsa, Horatio Alger Association of Canada President; Nik Nanos, Chair of Nanos Research, the firm that conducted the survey; and report author Dr. Michelle Pidgeon, Associate Professor at Simon Fraser University and director of The Centre for the Study of Educational Leadership and Policy (CSELP).

"We can feel confident about the future of Canada when we listen to the Voices of our Youth – Generation Z. The findings are clear: young Canadians are resilient, optimistic, and value hard work. They care about big issues like Indigenous reconciliation, affordable housing and poverty," said Mr. Johnston, who moderated a panel discussion about the report's findings with a group of Horatio Alger scholarship recipients. "But while there is good news, we can't be complacent. Young people feel real pressures – such as financing education and finding a good job – and have real worries, such as the impact of technology on their lives and being bullied."

"The Horatio Alger Association exists to help students in need receive a quality post-secondary education," said Mr. Watsa. "This study shows that equality of opportunity in education is an important policy goal and should occupy a bigger part of our public debate. Education is a key component in creating a meritocratic society. Young people looking for a leg up deserve to be helped. We hope this study helps policy makers improve in this area."

Read the findings of the report here