MEDIA RELEASE: Young Canadians overwhelmingly support action on global development, call on PM Justin Trudeau to represent their values

Toronto, February 07, 2017–When it comes to global development, young Canadians have strong views and call on the government to act. Engineers Without Borders Canada gathered their perspectives in a recent survey, “International Development, Canada and You”, and the results were resounding. More than 85% of young Canadian voters surveyed believe responding to humanitarian crises and natural disasters, promoting access to healthcare for women, children and youth and promoting gender equality are key policies to pursue.

As international cooperation is being challenged by recent populist sentiment in the United States and Europe, young Canadians are looking to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to uphold their values and champion the sustainable development issues they are passionate about.  

Nine in 10 (91%) of respondents from the EWB survey support combatting climate change, while 90% advocate for reducing poverty and 87% call for action on gender inequality.

This is in direct contrast to their view of Canada’s success at accomplishing its international development policies. Only 9% of respondents believe Canada is either very or extremely successful at combating climate change. A little over half of respondents (57%) have confidence in the federal government to successfully achieve its international development agenda.

And only 35% of respondents believe the federal government is responsive to the views of young Canadians on international development.

EWB is concerned by this major gap in confidence. Its members challenge the Prime Minister and the federal government to represent young Canadian values through bold policies to advance sustainable development, reduce poverty and create opportunities for all individuals to thrive.

“We live in uncertain times and it’s imperative for Canada to champion international co-operation,” says Boris Martin, CEO, EWB Canada. “EWB works with thousands of young Canadians from coast to coast to actively engage with our government, and we are hearing them loud and clear. This active constituency of young voters are telling the Prime Minister to up his ambition and take critical steps to further sustainable development.”

“Canada has taken some concrete steps, such as the Global Fund Replenishment and the recent commitment for women’s health and rights,” says Sasha Caldera, campaigns lead at EWB Canada. “However, the most pressing need is boosting the level of predictable annual funding to the International Assistance Envelope (IAE) in our federal budget so Canada is able to fulfill its sustainable development mandate.”

The Canadian government has an opportunity to demonstrate strong leadership in this area. An overwhelming majority of young Canadians (87%) believe the new U.S. administration will have a negative impact on global development. And eight in 10 Canadian youth respondents (80%) say now is the time for the Canadian government to increase its investment in international development programs.

“When it comes to global development, the Prime Minister should strive to match the ambitions of young Canadians and harness their passion and commitment,” Martin adds. “This is a timely issue and one the government must address.”

EWB National Twitter Chats

EWB invites Canadians to join a real-time conversation on Canada’s role in International development by participating in a series of Twitter chats, February 8, 9, and 10, 2017. Follow the hashtag #AskEWB to get the pulse on what young Canadians feel about global development.

#AskEWB tweet chat details:


About Engineers Without Borders Canada (EWB)
EWB is a Canadian NGO that invests in people and ventures to create a thriving and sustainable world. Bolstered by its network of 40 chapters and 1600 members, EWB provides seed funding, talent and mentorship to social enterprises throughout sub-Saharan Africa. EWB’s advocacy work focuses on increasing Canada’s aid effectiveness through equipping young Canadians with the skills to engage the public and political leaders. For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter @ewb.

About the survey:

The “International Development, Canada and You” survey was conducted by Engineers Without Borders Canada in English and French from January 12 to February 1, 2017. 522 Canadians participated and 86% of the respondents were 29 years old or under.

Media contact:

Weiwei Su
Manager, Strategy Communications and Marketing
EWB Canada

EWB policy background on increasing Canada’s international assistance envelope for Budget 2017
Supporting photos/videos/infographic can be found here.
Additional stories can be found here.

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