started this petition to
Minister of International Development Christian Paradis, Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird
Since 1997, the International Youth Internship Program (IYIP)-- and more recently International Aboriginal Youth Internship Initiative (IAYI)-- have provided thousands of Canadians aged 19-30 with the opportunity to gain experience in international development, build relationships between Canada and international partners and provide meaningful contributions to community development projects.
We urge the Canadian government to renew funding for these programs because if the IYIP and IAYI were cut, we believe there would be a negative impact not only on Canadian international development practitioners and organizations but also on the international partners that have built relationships with Canada, strengthened their local capacity, and implemented development programs based on the presence of young professional Canadian interns.
IYIP has always received very good reviews from program participants and local partners and provides excellent value for money invested. According to the Canadian Council for International Cooperation (CCIC), for $15 000, a young Canadian who would otherwise be on EI or underemployed has access to a meaningful work experience that is valued by future employers. The vast majority of interns successfully find employment after the program, fully contributing to Canada’s economy and well-being and paying back in taxes considerably more than the program has cost to train them-- The Government of Canada could not ask for a more cost-effective return on investment.
International experience is more important than ever in a globalized world, even for people not working directly in international development. It provides the opportunity for interns to expand their skill sets in areas such as cross-cultural and inter-personal skills, public relations, forming partnerships, administration, proposal writing, facilitation, project management and monitoring and evaluation. This kind of experience is well recognized in the labor market, even when not directly linked to the job for which the individual is applying.
Young Aboriginal Canadians often face additional barriers and challenges in relation with employment. Canadian organizations involved in IAYI have reported that participants in the program have either found a job after the internship or decided to go back to school. Many of the interns have stressed the positive impact of the program in terms of self-esteem and increased self-confidence in their personal evaluations.
We hope you will add your name to this petition and join us in voicing support for the IYIP and IAYI programs that offer opportunities for young people in Canada and strengthen international cooperation as a Canadian principle and practice.