A national campaign rallying Canadian youth to advocate for better health

The Young Canadians Roundtable on Health (YCRH) is empowering Canada’s youth to be participants in their own health and to take action for better health in their communities.

YouthHealthRights.ca is an online education and advocacy platform created by youth to increase health advocacy by and for young Canadians. In collaboration with AstraZeneca Canada’s Young Health Program, YouthHealthRights.ca will educate, motivate and support young people to advocate for change.

The YCRH developed the YouthHealthRights.ca platform after uncovering a glaring gap in the knowledge of Canadian youth about their health rights and how to exercise them. In a recent survey of over 140 youth from across Canada, young people told the YCRH they are struggling to be informed, and struggling to access the health care they need:

  • 80% agreed that they did not know their legal health rights.
  • 89% said that time barriers (clinic hours, availability of family doctor, wait times etc.) hindered them from accessing services.
  • 56% felt it is a priority to have better access to mental health services.
  • 54% wanted better access to information and services for youth specifically.

Guided by research findings by the University of Toronto’s Joint Centre for Bioethics, the YCRH held focus groups in communities across the country. They learned about other young Canadians’ individual experiences, and discussed opportunities for meaningful improvement. Together, they identified three key youth health rights priorities for Canada’s leaders:

  1. Establish a youth advisory council to include the youth voice in health policy
  2. Develop a strategy to ensure Canada’s youth are aware of their health rights
  3. Set wait time targets for youth mental health services

The YCRH invites young Canadians to call on their local MPs to support these youth health rights priorities by visiting YouthHealthRights.ca and taking part in a customizable letter writing campaign. On the website, youth can also explore province-by-province information about their important health rights including the Right to Privacy, the Right to Consent to Treatment, and the Right to Access Health Care.