Toronto & Vancouver— A majority of Canadians support the idea of creating a Youth Climate Corps (YCC). According to a new national survey conducted by Abacus Data, after being given a short description of the program, 55 per cent of adult Canadians support it, with a further 23 per cent who can accept it. Only 12 per cent oppose the idea.
Among those aged 18 – 35 (the group who would participate in the program), support rises to 65 per cent, with 33 per cent saying they “strongly support” the idea of a YCC (and only 6 per cent opposed).
The Youth Climate Corps campaign is calling on federal and provincial governments to launch and fund an ambitious new youth training and employment program, inviting young people to spend two years confronting the climate emergency. As envisioned, the program would be both a call to serve and an opportunity to get trained-up in the skills needed to address the climate crisis over the coming years. It would offer hands-on paid experience to thousands of youth, as they contribute to a just transition away from a fossil fuel-dependent economy. YCC jobs would include: emergency response during extreme weather events; building community and ecological resilience in the face of climate disruptions; and building the climate infrastructure needed to drive down greenhouse gas emissions (renewable energy, home retrofits, and public transit, etc.)
Full poll results are available here and include results broken down by region, age, gender, and political voting intention. The poll surveyed 2,200 adults in Canada between October 27 and November 1.
“Support for a Youth Climate Corps crosses demographic, regional and political lines,” said David Coletto, CEO of Abacus Data. “While there is more intense appeal among those who align centre-left on the political spectrum, a majority of Conservative Party voters support or can accept the program.”
The poll showed that 65 per cent of people aged 18 to 35 across Canada would consider enrolling in a Youth Climate Corps for two years. And remarkably, 15 per cent of these younger respondents indicated they “definitely” would consider enrolling. Notably, interest in enrolling was highest on the Prairies and Atlantic Canada followed by Quebec.
“The level of interest among young people is extremely heartening,” said Seth Klein, Team Lead with the Climate Emergency Unit, which commissioned the poll. “There are roughly nine million people in Canada between the ages of 18 and 35. If 15 per cent of them would ‘definitely’ consider enrolling in the YCC for two years, that’s about 1.3 million people. Now that is a genuine mobilization! This is what has been missing from our climate policy response. Our governments should sign these folks up as quickly as possible, and put them to work meeting this emergency moment.”
Respondents said the most appealing reasons to create a climate corps include the skills that youth would develop to further advance their careers, and the opportunity to serve their communities and the country as we confront the climate crisis.
The polling results send a powerful message that Canadians are ready to address the climate emergency with urgency, dedication, and a strong sense of solidarity. All across the country, young people are ready to enlist in a Youth Climate Corps, contribute to our communities and meet the greatest civilizational threat of our lifetimes.
Key findings from the poll include:
- 78 per cent of respondents said they “support” or “can accept” a Youth Climate Corps program.
- 15 per cent of respondents aged 18 to 35 said they definitely would consider enrolling in a 2-year YCC program, representing approximately 1.35 million young people who are ready to enlist.
- 65 per cent of people age 35 and under indicated some interest in joining a Youth Climate Corps, with 41 per cent saying they probably or definitely would participate.
- 92 per cent of NDP, 91 per cent of Liberal, 85 per cent of Bloc, and 64 per cent of Conservative supporters who responded to the poll indicate they support or can accept a Youth Climate Corps program.
The most appealing reasons for creating the program are the skills that youth would develop as well as the chance to serve their communities and the country as they confront the climate crisisFor more about the Youth Climate Corps, visit: https://www.climateemergencyunit.ca/climatecorps