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The Eight YDM Principles

Based on our Canada-wide discussions and survey, at our first meeting in November, 2007, the YDM team chose eight principles that would serve as the foundation for the project network. YDM participants democratically chose the following principles.




Adult Partnerships



Young Adult Support

Informal Structure

Link to calendar
YDM Events

What is the Young Decision Makers (YDM)?

Young Decision Makers (YDM) is two different things:

  1. It is a body of youth, young adults and adult allies from across the country working collaboratively to ensure that youth voice is heard in formal and informal decision making bodies (governments, systems and organizations).
  2. It is a model of decision making (the YDM model) which focuses on studying an issue, discussing an issue, making decisions, informing policy makers, and taking action. The YDM model is used in many Students Commission conferences, workshops and meetings. Check out the YDM model here.


In the summer of 2006 The Students Commission and the Centre of Excellence for Youth Engagement, with our partners throughout Canada were able to hire 18 youth summer staff with diverse backgrounds and experiences. These young people were involved in the inception of YDM and were responsible for creating the YDM network and the decision making model. The initial goal was to collect data from youth about the concept of a national youth body and to answer the question, "Is this something youth think is important and something that they want?" Since then, something more meaningful has occurred: young people have identified a desire to take a much more active role, promoting the concept to their friends, classmates, teachers and other youth, engaging more and more people in the discussion about the development of not just a structure or a body - but a process that can exist to ensure youth voice is heard in Canada.

Our Milestones

  • Held Canada - wide survey and discussions surrounding youth decision-making
  • Organized a national meeting in November 2007 in Muskoka, Ontario to brainstorm YDM's principles and possible model ideas.
  • Democratically elected two young people from the Conference to attend the World Fit For Children +5 / United Nations Conference in New York City.
  • In February 2008, 150 members of the YDM network helped the government decide what the theme should be this year for the National Child Day taking place in November.
  • Led a national child rights monitoring project in anticipation of Canada's report to the UN in 2009 on the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • In April 2008, a regional YDM meeting was held in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan aimed at increasing YDM membership across the country.
  • 500 young people were consulted in May and June of 2008 to help create an international youth engagement strategy led by the Canadian government and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
  • The network elected two YDM representatives to sit on the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse's (CCSA's) National Advisory Group to ensure youth voice and ideas are present at the table.
  • Three YDM youth participated in the Learning Partnership's National Dialogue on Resiliency in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
  • We met with more than 110 youth between the ages of 10 and 24 from cities and towns in both northern and southern Ontario. These youth helped us show the Ministry what some of the current attitudes around poverty are.These ideas helped influence a new strategy released by the Government of Ontario that can be found at
  • We held five discussion groups across the province and worked with these youth to come up with concrete ideas to help youth transition out of care. A final report based on young peoples input was written and submitted to the government.
  • Over 55 youth, young adults and adult allies participated in the third Young Decision Makers meeting from November 20 to 23rd, 2008.
  • Began recruiting young people (ages 10 to 29) from each province to sit on the Underserved Youth Forum, an opportunity for young people from across the country to understand how we learn and share knowledge around sexual health.
  • YDM was present at the Third World Congress Against Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents which was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and was host to more than 300 youth from around the world, and more than 2500 adults from organizations and governments working to prevent the sexual exploitation of children and youth globally.
  • In June, 2011, Tristan Banyay, Zoey Pricelys-Roy, and Kadane Headley from Youth Launch in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan traveled to Dallas, Texas for the Global Summit on Ending Corporal Punishment and Promoting Positive Discipline. Corporal Punishment is defined as inflicting any unnecessary pain to a child. Corporal Punishment is a global issue and is an important issue to raise awareness on. They presented on Youth Engagement and the Young Decision Makers Model. It was fun and very informative and was all made possible through the Young Decision Makers Network.


The Students Commission