Strengthening and expanding integrated youth service networks across Canada

News release

June 3, 2024 | Toronto, Ontario | Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Younger Canadians are facing unique challenges right now, grappling with the effects of war and conflict, climate change, and a rising cost of living. Their mental health needs are complex, and our response needs to mirror that reality. We have an opportunity to listen to our youth and work with them to create better mental health resources and wellness supports right in their communities.

That’s why the Government of Canada is supporting Integrated Youth Services (IYS), a model of care that is transforming how youth-focused mental health and substance use services are delivered across Canada. Instead of using a siloed approach, IYS provides youth with equitable access to “one-stop-shops” with a range of services and supports that contribute to health. This includes mental health and substance use services, alongside primary care, peer support, work and study supports, and more.

Today, the Honourable Ya’ara Saks, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, announced an investment of $59 million in the Integrated Youth Services Network of Networks (IYS-Net) initiative to strengthen and expand this innovative model of care across Canada.

Led by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and partners, including the Graham Boeckh Foundation, IYS-Net is an initiative to link all provincial, territorial, and Indigenous IYS networks. This investment will help these networks take their work to the next level, enabling them to do more research; collect, process and share data; and coordinate their work. The goal is to create a pan-Canadian “learning health system” where research evidence, data, and the lived experiences of youth are used to inform processes, policies and best practices to improve service delivery across Canada.

This funding includes:

  • $9 million over five years for six IYS provincial networks in Québec, Ontario, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island, and the national Indigenous network.
  • $21 million in upcoming funding to expand IYS-Net to all provinces and territories, and more than $10 million to enable the Indigenous IYS network to develop into a true pan-Canadian, distinctions-based, integrated network representing the needs of Indigenous Peoples across Canada.
  • $18 million for the IYS Data Platform to allow researchers, decision makers and other key knowledge users and service providers to have more timely, accurate, comprehensive, and diverse data sets on youth mental health and substance use.

This investment is made possible thanks to support from partners including the Graham Boeckh Foundation (GBF), the Bell-GBF Partnership, Indigenous Services Canada, RBC, the McConnell Foundation, the Hunter Family Foundation and the Medavie Foundation.


“Supporting the mental health and well-being of everyone in Canada is a priority for the Government of Canada. Every person must have access to mental health and substance use resources where and when they need it. With this investment, we are building on the work, knowledge, and advice of youth, researchers, and service providers to build a support system for youth that can adapt to their needs for generations to come, right across the country.”

The Honourable Ya’ara Saks
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health

“This is an investment into the organizations and initiatives that meet Indigenous Peoples where they are, that are culturally relevant. It will help provide Indigenous youth a fair chance to succeed in life. It also brings us closer to a world where everyone can reach their full potential and fully participate in society.”

The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Indigenous Services Canada

“When youth, families, care providers, researchers, and decision makers all work collaboratively, health care can be transformed: this is the principle at the heart of IYS-Net. These investments enable IYS networks to continuously learn from one another and optimize urgently needed functions to support youth directly in their communities. All Canadians will benefit when young people secure equitable access to the mental health, substance use, and health and social services they need.”

Dr. Tammy Clifford
Acting President, Canadian Institutes of Health Research

“Improving engagement, experience and access to mental health and related services for youth, no matter where they live, is at the core of Integrated Youth Services. By investing in IYS-Net we are investing in youth and supporting enhanced collaboration across provinces, territories, and Indigenous communities. Together with our philanthropic partners we look forward to continuing to support IYS initiatives across the country, helping young people achieve their best possible outcomes.”

Ian Boeckh, President
Graham Boeckh Foundation

Quick facts

  • Integrated youth services are culturally relevant, adapted to local contexts and are available to individuals regardless of their initial reason for walking in the door. Youth, typically in the age range of 12 to 25 years old, are consulted through all stages—not just on what services are offered, but also how they're delivered to their peers. The approach is designed and developed with young people and their caregivers and has been gaining momentum across Canada since 2013.

  • Almost all provinces and territories have developed, or are in the process of developing, an IYS network. A network of sites within Indigenous communities Canada-wide has also been established to ensure equitable, culturally relevant support for Indigenous youth.

  • The networks employ a learning health system approach in which research, data, and lived experience generate evidence. That knowledge is then embedded in and applied to processes, policies and practices to continuously innovate and improve health equity, service delivery and cost.

  • IYS-Net is informing Canada's National Standards for Mental Health Services, a Government of Canada priority.

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Yuval Daniel
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Ya'ara Saks
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health

Media Relations
Canadian Institutes of Health Research

At the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) we know that research has the power to change lives. As Canada's health research investment agency, we collaborate with partners and researchers to support the discoveries and innovations that improve our health and strengthen our health care system.

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