Thursday, April 5, 2012

Katimavik sets the facts straight

Government of Canada reneges on its word and abandons communities and youth across Canada

MONTREAL, April 5, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Government of Canada and Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore abandoned Katimavik communities and Canadian youth wanting to volunteer with Katimavik to misinformation in its 2012 Budget last Thursday. The Government also repudiated its own three-year funding commitment to the program, which was designed to put Katimavik on a path towards funding diversification.

"This decision affects more than just the young Canadians who complete our programs," said Katimavik CEO Daniel Lapointe, "More than 50 communities we work in across Canada will no longer be able to count on Katimavik volunteers and some not-for-profits may be forced to shut down while the others will need to reduce service without this vital volunteer support. It is truly a sad day for Canada and the values we espouse of civic engagement and support for those in need."

The cohort that is currently in the field will be the last one sponsored by the Federal Government, pulling the rug from under the nearly 600 incoming volunteers who were expecting to begin their 6-month program in July 2012. These dedicated and committed young Canadians have been given little notice, and will find it difficult to find alternative schooling or job opportunities.

"We are requesting an urgent meeting with Minister Moore to discuss how we can fulfill the commitment made to the nearly 600 young Canadians now placed in limbo," said Daniel Lapointe. "We also want to discuss how we can alleviate any of the Minister's concerns to find a common solution to restore funding for Katimavik's mission."

Katimavik: The Facts

The Government suggested in its Budget that the Katimavik program concentrated funding on a very small number of participants at an excessive per-person cost. This is contradicted in the most recent summative evaluation drafted by an independent third party on behalf of Canadian Heritage staff. Senior federal officials concluded that Katimavik is relevant, valuable and important, and is consistent with government-wide priorities and strategic objectives.

The facts are that Katimavik is a non-partisan program that not only provides Canadian taxpayers with an excellent return on investment, but that it is also entirely consistent with the principles of self-reliance and volunteerism that all parties in Parliament share.

Katimavik delivers national programs that are universally accessible to Canadian youth between 17-21 from all walks of life, from all social backgrounds and from all over Canada. Our retention rate of 85% is excellent, contrary to what a recent article cites Minister Moore claiming. First year university retention rates are only 70%.

The value of the volunteer work performed by the more than 1000 volunteers each year is estimated to be worth nearly $12 million per year. The ratio of administrative costs in Katimavik is 12%, which means that 88% of its budget goes directly to projects.