Prime Minister's Youth Council member biographies
Zander Affleck is from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. He is a proud northerner and has spent a great deal of time exploring and introducing others to the great outdoors as a guide and canoe instructor. Zander has worked to educate himself on the history and legacy of the Residential School System and is an ally of Indigenous peoples. He studied Biology at Queens, completed a Masters in Exercise and Sports Medicine at Glasgow University and is currently studying Medicine. Zander plans to continue to do research and provide healthcare in the north. Zander can frequently be found camping, running, taking photos, or anywhere his road bike takes him.
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Habon Ali has been involved from an early age in her community of Toronto, Ontario. She is a passionate youth advocate for Toronto Public Health as part of their Youth Health Action Network. Habon has worked with Habitat for Humanity to combat homelessness and her Social Justice club to help marginalized groups in Canada and abroad. Currently, she is a student at the University of Toronto pursuing a degree in biology and environmental science. Recently, she led a campaign to educate her peers about the harmful effects of smoking hookah and shisha and was instrumental in advocating for preventative health measures to Toronto City Council. Habon has also worked with Relay for Life to raise thousands of dollars for the Canadian Cancer Society. Her vision of Canada is one that is connected to youth and inclusive for all.
Contact Habon: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rayene Bouzitoun is a Collège de Maisonneuve student living in Montréal, Quebec, where she is a long-standing and active member of the Forum Jeunesse de Saint-Michel. She is passionate about working to counter racism and radicalization leading to violence, and about working toward gender equity. As a leader in her community, she has delivered talks on addiction and substance abuse to youth, and has helped to connect young people with the political world through events with local politicians.
Jack Campbell is from Vancouver, British Columbia. Entrepreneurship is a driving force in his life, one that he shares with his peers. He is passionate about innovation and helping people, to this end, he created an app with instructions on how to treat a fentanyl overdose. Jack is an avid volunteer, helping to welcome Syrian Refugees to Canada, to being involved in raising over $15,000 for brain cancer research, and founding his high schools business club. He believes in small actions of kindness, at times making sandwiches to hand out to those in need or striking up a conversation with people having a rough time. Jack’s vision for Canada is as a hub for global innovation for the future generations.
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Born in Toronto, Ontario, and partly raised in Montréal, Quebec, Simone Cavanaugh is a Loran Scholar and a recipient of Canada’s Top 20 Under 20 award. She recently graduated law school at McGill University where she majored in International Human Rights and Development and served as Equity Commissioner. She is a human rights activist who is passionate about women’s and children’s issues, particularly as they intersect with issues of disability and accessibility. As a motivational speaker, she has given a TEDx talk on overcoming challenges and empowering every child to reach their potential. She is interested in working toward better access to education and employment for Canadian youth with disabilities. She believes that everyone counts and can be an agent of change in Canada. In 2018, Simone became the youngest recipient to be awarded the Laurie Normand-Starr humanitarian award. She continues her work to this day with projects at home and abroad.
Contact Simone: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ashley Komangaapik Rose Cummings is passionate about destigmatizing mental illness and connecting youth to supports and resources. To this end, she has worked with youth across the North with North in Focus, a for-youth, by-youth organization. The North in Focus team presented at the 2017 Arctic Circle Assembly and in 2018, received the Arctic Inspiration Prize in the Youth Category for $20,000 to create a mental health toolkit to be used across Nunavut. Ashley believes strongly in “nothing about us, without us” and has advocated for greater youth involvement in the decision making process. She has led workshops at Dorchester Penitentiary, working directly with Inuit and Innu inmates to foster a stronger relationship to their heritage. She is also an alumna of the Students on Ice 2015 Arctic Expedition. Ashley is currently studying at Bishop’s University in Sherbrooke, Quebec. When she is not studying, Ashley splits her time between the Yukon and Nunavut.
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Elijah Dietrich is from Winnipeg, Manitoba and is currently studying engineering as a TD scholar at Western University. Elijah founded his high school’s Environmental Action Committee and has conducted multiple research trips to study climate change in Churchill, Manitoba and the Arctic Sea. Elijah co-founded North Forge Startup Youth, a program that empowers high school students to realize their entrepreneurial potential, and organized a conference featuring Canadian executives, entrepreneurs and tech industry leaders. Elijah believes youth are in a perfect position to mitigate climate change and its devastating effects through technological entrepreneurship and is passionate about engaging youth in these fields. Elijah served as one of the co-presidents of his high school’s student council, helped coordinate the donation of over $15,000 to local charities as a member of the Youth in Philanthropy committee, and trained with the Winnipeg Rowing Club. Elijah is excited and dedicated to continuing to promote environmental stewardship and technological entrepreneurship as a member of the Prime Minister’s Youth Council.
Contact Elijah: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tagalik Eccles is from Rankin Inlet, Nunavut. She is passionate about mental health, education, and youth. To support youth and educate them about self-care, Tagalik has worked with Kivalliq Counseling and Support Services. An innovative volunteer, she has organized winter clothing drives in her community to support those in need. She takes pride in her community, constantly inspiring civic engagement. She recently led a campaign to clean up public spaces drawing attention from CBC. Tagalik is entrepreneurial and has started her own sushi business with her sister. She has worked as the recreation coordinator for Rankin Inlet for the past four summers. Tagalik’s vision for Canada is one without food scarcity, where the gap has closed between the North and South.
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Molly French is an Engineering Student at University of Alberta. A resident of Sherwood Park, Alberta, Molly is proud to serve her community. While in high school, she was a Science Expo Ambassador, a Student Senator and a Student Trustee for her school district. Molly has also served on the Strathcona County Youth Council as treasurer. She is passionate about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). She pursues that passion through such ventures as volunteering in a robotics laboratory, peer tutoring and delivering STEM workshops to youth throughout Alberta and the Northwest Territories. She is also a member of the AlbertaSat mechanical team at the University of Alberta, where she will help to launch a satellite to monitor, track and predict wildfires. She is especially interested in working to increase graduation rates for women in post-secondary STEM programs.
Contact Molly: firstname.lastname@example.org
Born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Sagar Grewal attends the University of Calgary, where he is pursuing an undergraduate degree in Biomechanics. He serves and represents his fellow students as a member of the University of Calgary Board of Governors and as the President of the University of Calgary Students’ Union. Previously, as the Faculty Representative of Kinesiology, Sagar successfully advocated for free academic support, and raised nearly one million dollars to create new student study spaces and barrier-free change rooms, to foster inclusivity on campus. His passion for mental health awareness led to Sagar receiving grants to improve resource accessibility, to contribute towards building a resilient campus community. As a strong proponent of healthy participation in sport, Sagar works at the Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre on studies supported by the International Olympic Committee and the National Basketball Association, to help keep our youth healthy and active.
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Lauren Kennedy is a teaching consultant and mother of two living in Paris, Ontario. She is a strong leader with experience and training in youth facilitation, mentorship, and restorative justice. In the pursuit of her interest in anti-bullying and mental health, she co-founded Titans for Titans, an anti-bullying group in her high school, and continued to provide support for the group after graduation. For her work in contributing to a safer and more inclusive school, she was awarded the Premier’s Award for Accepting Schools, and she is eager to bring the same changes to communities across Canada.
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Dana Kenny is from Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Modern Languages at the University of Prince Edward Island. He has served on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity PEI as a Youth Engagement Director, as well as President of the UPEI Student Union on the UPEI Board of Governors. Dana brings with him experience living abroad in Spain and France, where he has studied and worked. He believes in a grassroots approach and is passionate about increasing democratic engagement, promoting and celebrating la Francophonie, and improving supports for victims of sexual assault through policy development and education.
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Pier-Maude comes from rural New Brunswick. Proudly Francophone and Acadian, Pier-Maude identifies as gender fluid and is a member of the LGBTQ2S community. Pier-Maude was the vicepresident of the Conseil Jeunesse Provincial Francophone de la Nouvelle-Écosse. Their passion? To give a voice to people in marginalized communities in decisionmaking processes. For example, Pier-Maude guided a group of young women as part of a youth parliament by helping establish conditions to enable these young women to share their points of view in a safe and trusting environment and to actively participate, despite stigmatization and the lack of female role models in politics. Pier-Maude was also part of a group of students that developed various tools to create safer and inclusive spaces in schools and other public institutions. This initiative generated such interest that the project was expanded throughout New Brunswick. The group’s posters and videos are used to educate people on gender diversity and inclusiveness and can be found in schools, hospitals and other public places.
Contact Pier-Maude: firstname.lastname@example.org
François Lépine-Cossette manages through inclusion. He believes that understanding is achieved by listening. François initiated the Marche Kawaii, in which more than 5,000 youth walked over 80 days from New Brunswick to Ottawa. He was a national youth advisor for the Association des Scouts du Canada and a youth spokesperson for its Anglophone equivalent. As an advisor, he and his colleague Isabelle are working on including youth in decision-making. François is currently studying at UWC Atlantic College and proudly shares his Canadian perspective with students of more than 90 nationalities to develop a more peaceful and sustainable world. His latest project, Mets Ta Couleur, uses art media to develop a sharing platform for First Nations and non-Indigenous youth. What drives him is enabling youth to use their full potential to contribute to developing a better world.
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Kathryn McIntosh’s mission in life is to engineer healthier communities and people. She is passionate about clean drinking water and reducing inefficiencies in the health care system. Kathryn has worked to help end youth homelessness, lobbying with the Nova Scotia Government for permission to create a homeless youth support centre in Cole Harbour Nova Scotia. She has led numerous initiatives within her community, some of which include painting sessions, yoga classes, and a winter clothing drive to aid youth. Beyond her volunteer work, Kathryn has directed short films to raise awareness about important issues such as domestic abuse and mental health. Kathryn is an advocate of science and she believes that with collaboration we can improve the health of our communities.
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François-Olivier Picard is from Quebec City, where he is currently finishing a master’s degree in the Université Laval’s Hautes Études Internationales. As part of his extracurricular activities, he was strongly involved as a leader on campus. He is a former FSA Ulaval debates team member and the former vice-president of external affairs for the students association. He sat on both the Ligue des États Arabes de l’Université Laval and the Bureau International. He recently developed a business to offer running guided tours of Quebec City. He is currently completing his master’s degree practicum with Hydro Québec International’s business development unit. As a Council member, François-Olivier would like to encourage young Canadians to participate in politics and strengthen youth involvement in decision-making processes.
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Neha Rahman is a student at McGill University pursuing a Bachelor of Arts with Joint Honours in History and Classical Studies. As both an immigrant to Canada and a woman of colour, she grew up in Toronto, Ontario where her experiences shaped her drive to be involved in her community and take on leadership roles from a young age. She has always been drawn to activism and mobilization for intersectional feminist and anti-racist causes. In high school she founded a feminist club and organized with students to donate to women’s shelters and raise awareness about issues affecting women of all different lived experiences. She is also passionate about the fight against climate change and in her time at McGill continues to work in anti-oppressive circles to advocate for the marginalized.
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Competitive by nature, Gabe strives to make a difference for his team on the field, court, or rink, just as he has tried to make a difference his community. Raised on a Saskatchewan farm and now living in Vancouver, he is captivated by the cultural differences between rural and urban parts of Canada. Whether up Vancouver hills or through Saskatchewan winters he remains a dedicated cyclist. Find him on Twitter @gabesenecal. Gabe studied Regional and Urban Planning at the University of Saskatchewan, and will be entering Carleton University in September of 2018 for a Master of Public Policy and Administration.
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Sara Wheale lives near Breton, Alberta, where she works as a heavy equipment operator. In 2017, Sara was elected as a County Councillor for Brazeau County. Her roots are in agriculture and she has created and led an organization for raising awareness of agricultural issues. With her professional experience in the oil and gas industry, she has developed a passion for advocating on related subjects. She sees getting oil to tide water as an economic priority for Canada.
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Justin Charles Wong
Justin Charles Wong is a fourth-generation Canadian living in West Vancouver, BC who believes in diversity, perseverance, and that helping others should come naturally. He is an avid singer, chess player, fitness enthusiast, web and mobile developer, and is a recent UBC Computer Engineering graduate from the Faculty of Applied Science. Justin designs and develops websites in addition to providing tailored technical support for his clients. Justin also co-founded an app development team for his high school and produced an application that was well received by more than one thousand users and the West Vancouver Superintendent of Schools. He is passionate about positive youth mental health, access to transportation and education, as well as strategies to mitigate and prevent bullying.
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Riley Yesno is an Anishinaabe woman living in Toronto, Ontario, where she attends university. She is a highly engaged community member, a youth facilitator, a public speaker, and a feminist. Riley has been a school board representative at the provincial level, a youth liaison with an Indigenous-led art collective, and has spent the past two years working to address issues in Indigenous communities with Nishnawbe Aski Nation, and the Institute on Governance, among others. As a First Nations woman who has lived on reserve, she is most passionate about equity for Indigenous people in Canada.
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