International Youth Day 2019

“Any strategy for youth that doesn't engage youth in the planning process will fail. It's critical that they're involved from step one.” ― Larry Brown, NUPGE President

Ottawa (12 Aug. 2019) ― Created by the United Nations (UN) in 1999, International Youth Day (IYD) is an awareness day aimed at drawing attention every August 12 to the issues youth face worldwide.  The theme for IYD 2019 is Transforming Education. It was chosen to highlight efforts (including efforts made by youths) to make education more relevant, equitable, and inclusive for all youth. IYD 2019 will also examine how governments, youth-led and youth-focused organizations, as well as other stakeholders, are transforming education, and how these efforts align with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The 2030 Agenda lists 17 Sustainable Development Goals with 169 targets. Highlights include ending hunger, achieving gender equality, providing access to sustainable energy, and reducing inequality.

Youth2030 and Generation Unlimited

Last fall, the UN launched Youth2030, a strategy reflecting the UN’s new commitment to working with and for young people. At the same time, they launched Generation Unlimited, a global partnership with the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and other stakeholders that aims to get every young person in school, training, or age-appropriate employment by 2030. In an effort to spread their message to a wider audience, they invited BTS (a South Korean music group) and Lilly Singh/Superwoman (a Canadian YouTuber and comedian) to speak at the kickoff event at the UN General Assembly. All of these projects work towards the same goal of making sure young people’s basic needs are provided and that they receive enough care and education and/or training to provide for themselves as adults.

Youth engagement critical for success

“Any strategy for youth that doesn't engage youth in the planning process will fail,” says Larry Brown, President of the National Union of Public and General Employees. “It's critical that they're involved from step one. Young people and young workers don’t want to be told what to do; they want a say in how things are done. And when the plan directly impacts their lives, it’s more than fair to involve them in all aspects of planning and implementation.”

NUPGE has a proud history of standing up for young workers who are disproportionately affected by the rising cost of tuition, student debt, precarious work, the housing crisis, and a lack of affordable child care. In 2017, NUPGE conducted several research projects that resulted in a booklet called Communicating with Young Members. In 2018, another survey was conducted with union members of all ages to begin working on generational cohesion within our unions. To ensure young workers have an even bigger say in NUPGE’s future, plans to form a young workers’ working group are underway.

Issues and Campaigns


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE