Between January and April 2022, Canadian students participated in the Student Budget Consultation, an annual initiative coordinated by CIVIX to engage youth in the federal government’s pre-budget consultation process.

Participating youth learned about Canadian government and public finance, discussed important issues facing the economy and their communities, and offered their input for Budget 2022 through an online survey.

More than 550 intermediate and secondary schools from throughout Canada registered to participate, representing all provinces. Nearly 5,000 students submitted responses by the deadline.

The top priorities among youth for Budget 2022 were addressing climate change, building more affordable housing and creating more jobs.

Concerning the most important steps the federal government could take to support young Canadians, students ranked making housing more affordable and improving access to affordable post-secondary education as most important.

In terms of making life more affordable for all Canadians, students believe that making child care more affordable, reducing tuition fees and covering more services under public health care would be the most helpful.

Other points of interest in the preliminary survey results include:

  • Climate change – Three-quarters of students believe that Canada has a responsibility to take action on climate change, even if the countries with the largest emissions don’t follow suit.
  • Renewable energy – 80% of students believe that more of Canada’s energy should come from renewable sources.
  • Home ownership – 61% of students believe that owning a home is no longer an option for most young Canadians.
  • Mental health – 35% of students reported that their mental health was worse than a year ago; 33% of students reported their mental health as being somewhat or much better.
  • Future outlook – 72% of students are optimistic about their own future but 70% are pessimistic about the future of the world.
  • Job prospects – 80% of students are somewhat or very confident that they will be able to find a job that interests them in Canada after they finish school.
  • Trust levels – Students have a high degree of trust in public sector workers, particularly doctors and nurses (91% cite having moderate to a great deal of trust), public health officials (78%), military personnel (76%) and law enforcement (67%). However, students have very low trust in elected officials (24%) and news media (39%).

A preliminary report on the survey results was shared with the Department of Finance for consideration during the pre‑budget consultation period.

In March, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shared a video message congratulating students for participating in the Student Budget Consultation, and thanking them for making their voices heard.

To view an infographic of the results highlights, click here.

To view the preliminary results report, click here.

A report on the final survey results and participation numbers will be available later in April.