The City of Laval has a new five-year plan for youth issues, say city officials, based on the premise that all children and teens in Laval should have the same chances to develop to their full potential in a safe, secure and inclusive environment.
For the first time, the plan brings together two earlier municipal projects affecting youths ranging from 0 – 17 years of age: the Municipalité amie des enfants (MAE) program, and the Fonds Place-du-Souvenir (FPS). The city says that unifying the two programs will streamline efforts and help improve both.
The plan was developed in conjunction with a consultative committee for the FPS and a partners committee for the MAE, which include members from the Centre de services scolaire (CSS) de Laval, the Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux (CISSS) de Laval and some local organizations.
Its development was based, among other things, on data coming from demographic information on the health of youths aged 0 – 17 years that was gathered together in Laval in 2020. The data was compiled in conjunction with the CISSS de Laval and made public last March.
City open to youth
“The action plan supports the commitment made by Laval towards being a welcoming and attractive city for youths,” said Laval city councillor for Saint-Martin Aline Dib, who is an associated member of the executive-committee responsible for family and youth issues.
“By recognizing the great diversity of youth in Laval, we are helping each of these young persons to develop personally, socially and professionally. By giving them, in conjunction with our partners, the necessary tools to develop, we can be sure we are building the future of Laval with citizens who a better chance of fully reaching their goals on an equal basis.”
Helping the underprivileged
According to the city, the plan revolves around five major strategic orientations upheld by precise goals, as well as 67 actions to be taken to bring about change. Among these are an intention to develop awareness-raising initiatives geared towards ethnocultural diversity, improving conditions for economic access by youths to cultural, sports and leisure activities, as well as making available educational materials for youths from underprivileged backgrounds.
The city says the plan is structured into age sub-groups in order to take into account the particularities of groups in their stages of development. The plan has also been made with respect to male and female needs and differences, taking into account the different realities lived by youths.
The City of Laval’s executive-committee is expected to make recommendations to the plan, including the attribution of funds to the largest number of organizations, which are expected to apply for support through programs made possible by the plan.
According to the city, 20 per cent of the population currently is less than 18 years of age. More than half the youths in this category (56.2 per cent) are from immigrant communities (either first or second generation).
The average size of families in Laval is growing (it currently stands at four persons per household). And around 11. 7 per cent of families in Laval with children or teens are low-income households.