Skip Navigation
Ontario, Canada

Give young people more opportunities to contribute to the development of government programs and services by working in partnership with youth to implement a digital engagement tool. (ONT0002)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Ontario, Canada Action Plan

Action Plan Cycle: 2017

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Treasury Board Secretariat

Support Institution(s): Government Civil Society, Private Sector Ministries of Education, Advanced Education and Skills Development, Tourism, Culture and Sport, Citizenship and Immigration, Health, Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Premier’s Council on Youth Opportunities Youth and Youth leaders Youth-led and youth-serving organizations Universities and colleges School boards / School Councils

Policy Areas

E-Government, Public Participation, Subnational

IRM Review

IRM Report: Ontario Final IRM Report 2017

Starred: No

Early Results: Major Major

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Civic Participation Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Issue to be addressed: Youth are digitally connected like never before and have the skill sets and passion to solve problems affecting them locally and globally. Unfortunately, they are not engaged to civic processes in the same way as previous generations so the methods to engage them need to evolve. Primary objective: To engage youth on implementing a digital engagement platform that harnesses their collective energy and existing ways of connecting (e.g. social media, mobile-focused, digitally) to contribute to government policy and program development processes on an ongoing basis. Short description: Ontario will engage youth on how they currently participate civically, how they want to be engaged and how digital tool(s) would support that. OGP challenge: Public Participation – Engaging youth to understand where they are interested and how best to engage them in decisions that impact their lives. Technology and Innovation – Through a collaborative process, a digital engagement tool will be implemented and tested with youth to measure its impact on reaching underrepresented youth populations. Ambition: Engaging youth in the design and implementation of a new digital access tool is a significant undertaking with the benefit to have substantial impact on the next generation of voters.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

2. Give young people more opportunities to contribute to the development of government programs and services by working in partnership with youth to implement a digital engagement tool.

Commitment Text

Status quo or problem/issue to be addressed: Youth are digitally connected like never before and have the skill sets and passion to solve problems affecting them locally and globally. Unfortunately, they are not engaged to civic processes in the same way as previous generations so the methods to engage them need to evolve.

Main objective: To engage youth on implementing a digital engagement platform that harnesses their collective energy and existing ways of connecting (e.g. social media, mobile-focused, digitally) to contribute to government policy and program development processes on an ongoing basis.

Brief description of commitment: Ontario will engage youth on how they currently participate civically, how they want to be engaged and how digital tool(s) would support that.

Ambition: Engaging youth in the design and implementation of a new digital access tool is a significant undertaking with the benefit to have substantial impact on the next generation of voters.

Milestones

1. Engage the Premier's Council on Youth Opportunities and their youth networks on how young people currently engage in civic participation through digital means, as well as in-person, to develop insight on how they want to engage government.

2. Host design lab(s) with the Premier's Council on Youth Opportunities and their youth networks to inform the implementation of a digital engagement tool in a beta phase, for testing and evaluation.

3. Beta-launch a digital engagement tool and establish a baseline for evaluating digital youth civic engagement, and identifying opportunities for improvements.

4. Use feedback from beta testing to launch an updated version of the digital engagement tool and test/measure its impact on digital youth civic engagement, with concurrent evaluation.

5. Continue making updates to the digital engagement tool with the Premier's Council on Youth Opportunities and their youth networks through design lab(s) or other open government tools (e.g. PoliHack).

Commitment Overview

Commitment Aim

Overall Objective & Relevance

The issue that Commitment 2 seeks to address is the low levels and changing nature of youth engagement in the development and design of the Ontario government's programs, policies, and services. Some of the key barriers to youth engagement in Ontario include time constraints, financial restrictions, transportation, experiencing social stigma, having reduced levels of self-confidence, as well as inadequate support from community members and organizations. See, Chan, Meanne, and Joe Lee (2016). Youth Impact Summit: Redefining Youth Civic Engagement in Ontario 2016/2017 Report. https://studioy.marsdd.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/MaRS-YIS-Public-Report-2.pdf [last accessed 10 September 2017]. The understanding of youth civic engagement underpinning Commitment 2 transcends equating civic engagement foremost with participating in elections toward a broader view of technologically mediated digital citizenship. See, Turcotte, M. (2015). Insights on Canadian Society: Political participation and civic engagement of youth. Statistics Canada, 1-17. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/75-006-x/2015001/article/14232-eng.pdf [last accessed 10 September 2017]. See also, Samara (2015). Message Not Delivered: The Myth of Apathetic Youth and the Importance of Contact in Political Participation. http://www.samaracanada.com/docs/default-source/default-document-library/samara-messagenotdelivered-g.pdf?sfvrsn=2, and Hamel, A. V. (2011). From Consumer to Citizen: Digital Media and Youth Civic Engagement. Media Awareness Network, 1-36. http://mediasmarts.ca/sites/mediasmarts/files/pdfs/publication-report/full/civic-engagement.pdf [last accessed 10 September 2017]. The stated objective of Commitment 2 is to 'engage youth on implementing a digital engagement platform that harnesses their collective energy and existing ways of connecting (e.g. social media, mobile-focused, digitally) to contribute to government policy and program development processes on an ongoing basis.' The Youth Strategies Branch of the Ministry of Children and Youth Services hopes that this exercise will have substantial positive impact on the next generation of voters by demonstrating that their contributions can and do make a difference in the functioning of government policies, programs, and services.

This commitment entails the Youth Strategies Branch of the Ministry of Children and Youth Services working in consultation with the Premier's Council on Youth Opportunities (PCYO) to find where and how to use social media platforms as appealing modes of civic engagement for youth. In the words of Sean Twyford, Director, Youth Strategies Branch, Ministry of Children and Youth Services, and the responsible contact for this commitment, the open government pilot initiative

'provides an effective framing for youth engagement. It moves us from being youth centered to having a frame to tie our work and rationale to something more easily understood in terms of why government would do this. The commitment gave us the ability to dedicate staff and resources to this initiative'

The relevance of this commitment, as presented, centers on the OGP values of civic participation, and technology and innovation for openness and accountability. Each of the five milestones seek to open up decision making to Ontario's youth and solicit meaningful input from this demographic to inform decision-making as well as promoting new technologies - or in this case online platforms - offering opportunities for information sharing, public, participation, and collaboration.

At the core of the five cumulative milestones is the development and design of a digital engagement tool that solicits and collects social media and anonymous responses to youth policy questions 'for the purpose of improving government programs and services for Ontario's youth.'

This commitment builds on long standing efforts by the Ontario government to enhance youth engagement in policy development. In recent years this has included such activities as, engaging with youth in pre-budget consultations through both an online forum created to engage Ontarians about decisions affecting them and on Twitter (#budgettalks), See, http://www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/english/youthopportunities/steppingup/steppingup2015/civicengagement.aspx, and http://www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/English/documents/youthopportunities/steppingup/2015exec_summary.pdf [last accessed 18 October 2017]. provincial support for numerous #PoliHack events bringing together various youth sector stakeholders including data specialists, researchers, policymakers and youth who bring their collective knowledge to propose strategies and develop apps aimed at tackling real-world youth-related issues. See, http://www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/English/professionals/steppingup/steppingup2016/civicengagement.aspx [last accessed 18 October 2017]. As noted by Mr. Twyford the benchmark for assessing the success of Commitment 2 will not rest on the number of participant youth voices per se, but rather on demonstrating to the youth of Ontario that 'your voice is actually having an impact on how government is working.'

Specificity and Potential Impact

The commitment language of the individual milestones for Commitment 2 is relatively uniform across milestones 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, and 2.4. In each instance the language used describes an activity that can be construed as verifiable but requiring some interpretation on the part of the reader to identify what the activity sets out to do and determine what would the deliverables be. As such, each of these milestones is assessed as having medium specificity. Although there currently are low levels of youth civic participation See, Chan, Meanne, and Lee (2016), and Samara (2015), op. cit in the province of Ontario, and despite the tool being created in collaboration with relevant beneficiaries, the lack of specificity among the milestones in Commitment 2 precludes one from understanding the scope and scale of the tool to be created. This said, even in the absence of clear indicators or deliverables, the milestones are self-explanatory verifiable activities, and the same holds true for the commitment overall. Based on this assessment Commitment 2 is assessed to be of medium specificity.

The starting point for considering the potential impact of Commitment 2 is rooted in the premise that, 'the increasing popularity of technology means that civic engagement activities need to be redefined to fit a new era of digital citizenship' and 'civic engagement via online activities is under-examined.' See, Chan, Meanne, and Lee (2016) op. cit. For Commitment 2 there is a clear link between the specified objective and the five milestones set out for realizing this goal. Working with Ontario's youth to design and implement a digital engagement tool is a novel method for offering young people opportunities to contribute to the development of government programs and services. It cannot, however, be taken for granted that this particular undertaking will necessarily serve as a bridge to engagement across a wider range of youth issues. The common feature across of the five cumulative milestones is a seeming effort at determining how best to apply 'existing ways of connecting (e.g. social media, mobile-focused, digitally)' to beget enhanced youth engagement. However, realizing the full transformative potential of these 'existing ways of connecting' is contingent upon also identifying and addressing the conditions under which they can most effectively give young people more opportunities to contribute to the development of government programs and services. This said, Commitment 2 is assessed as being a major step forward in the relevant policy area.

Status
Complete

The aim of providing young people with more opportunities to contribute to the development of government programs and services has been a long-standing desire of the Ontario government that predates Ontario's participation in the OGP subnational pilot program. According to Sean Twyford, Director, Youth Strategies Branch, Ministry of Children and Youth Services, and the responsible contact for this commitment, and Tsz-Lung Cheung, Acting Manager, Youth Initiatives and Engagement Unit, Youth Strategies Branch, Ministry of Children and Youth Services, a plan to create a digital engagement platform targeting youth engagement preceded the launch of the Open Government Partnership Action Plan. In 2013, for instance, the Premier's Council on Youth Opportunities (PCYO) was created as an advisory body comprised of 25 youth, young professionals, and leaders, aged 16 to 25, to provide the government with 'advice on how to improve the delivery and design of government programs and services for youth, report on specific challenges and share ideas on how to best support youth.' See, First-Ever Premier's Council on Youth Opportunities https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2013/03/first-ever-premiers-council-on-youth-opportunities.html [last accessed 10 February 2018]. A list of current members is available at: https://www.pas.gov.on.ca/scripts/en/BoardDetails.asp?boardID=142820 [last accessed 10 February 2018]. Minutes of the July 19, 2017 PCYO Subcommittee teleconference meeting on YouthVoiceON (YVO) are available at: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/d6p4z87fuzhngkx/AACxEQOBWatvJevAYXPYJfRJa/Advisory%20groups%20-%20Groupe%20consultatif/Digital%20engagement%20tool%20-%20Outil%20de%20mobilisation%20num%C3%A9rique?amp%3Bpreview=PCYO+Subcommittee+Feedback+-+YouthVoiceON+(2017-07-20).docx&dl=0&preview=PCYO+Subcommittee+Feedback+-+YouthVoiceON+(2017-07-20).docx [last accessed 10 February 2018]. Throughout 2015 and 2016 The PCYO 2015-2016 listening tours heard from some 400 youth across ten areas of the province: the Greater Toronto Area (East and West), Hamilton, Windsor, Sudbury, Chatham-Kent, Centre Wellington, North Wellington/ Mapleton Township, Uxbridge, and Amherstview. See, http://www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/English/professionals/oyap/PCYO-blog.aspx [last accessed 10 February 2018] listening tours were used to collect information about key themes, action items, and questions to be considered vis-Ã -vis leveraging digital communication technologies to promote youth engagement. Some of the main themes covered during these meetings included: how to engage with students; types of resources needed to facilitate conversations; feedback mechanisms; engaging youth using their mother tongue; dealing with digital inequalities; meeting the needs of vulnerable youth; understanding the impact of feedback; protecting privacy; evaluation frameworks to demonstrate impact of the YouthVoice platform. The Ontario government's involvement in the subnational pilot program was pivotal in helping to hasten the design, implementation and launch of the platform. See, PCYO Listening Tour / Open Government Workshop - Key Themes Summary, Action Items and Follow-Up Questions 02-02-2017 https://www.dropbox.com/sh/d6p4z87fuzhngkx/AACxEQOBWatvJevAYXPYJfRJa/Advisory%20groups%20-%20Groupe%20consultatif/Digital%20engagement%20tool%20-%20Outil%20de%20mobilisation%20num%C3%A9rique?amp%3Bpreview=PCYO+Subcommittee+Feedback+-+YouthVoiceON+(2017-07-20).docx&dl=0&preview=PCYO+Listening+Tour+-+Open+Government+Workshop+Key+Themes+(2017-02-22).docx [last accessed 10 February 2018] The individual milestones accompanying this commitment were completed within the twelve months of the pilot program and updating is ongoing. A breakdown of the project plan for Commitment 1 is available at: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/d6p4z87fuzhngkx/AABFkd_o8p_1Cup0kUuOBnUCa/Project%20Plans%20-%20Plans%20des%20projets/Youth%20Engagement%20-%20Participation%20des%20jeunes?dl=0&preview=Youth+Engagement+Project+Plan.docx [last accessed 10 February 2018]

Milestone 2.1. Engage with youth to develop insight

Since its founding in 2013, staff from the Youth Strategies Branch of the Ministry of Children and Youth Services (MCYS) meet regularly with representatives of Premier's Council on Youth Services (PCYO). In January and February 2017, a Subcommittee consisting of representatives from the Ministry, the Treasury Board Secretariat, and the PCYO was formed to provide input and feedback about the YouthVoiceON digital engagement platform. As previously noted, throughout 2017 elements of Commitment 2 were discussed at three meeting of the PCYO (March 10-11, Timmins; May 28-29, Toronto; October 1-2, Toronto) and one teleconference meeting of the PCYO Subcommittee on YouthVoiceON. See, https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ms9hij0zzy8o7kv/AADtTwrBJJHZMSdKUmiiaZ6_a/Digital%20engagement%20tool%20-%20Outil%20de%20mobilisation%20num%C3%A9rique?dl=0 [last accessed 10 February 2018]. Note: Agendas and summary notes of the PCYO meetings are not publicly available. At each of the PCYO meetings time was scheduled to discuss issues regarding YouthVoiceON. For instance, at the Timmins meeting, the discussion involved members of the Mattagami First Nation and served as a soft launch of the YouthVoiceON platform. Here, the discussions focused on challenges associated with reaching and connecting with rural and remote youth. The May meeting in Toronto set aside 40 minutes for providing and overview and receiving feedback about the platform. The meeting of the PCYO Subcommittee on YouthVoiceON (YVO) coincided with the release of the OGO's self-assessment and online survey. Participants at this meeting offered ideas and feedback on: strategies for making YouthVoiceON a feature in schools; strategies for increasing levels of youth feedback about the platform; strategies to diffuse information about the platform throughout PCYO networks; linking the platform to PCYO meetings; and a general discussion about youth engagement. See, PCYO Subcommittee on YouthVoiceON (YVO) Summary Notes, Teleconference Meeting July 19, 2017. https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ms9hij0zzy8o7kv/AADtTwrBJJHZMSdKUmiiaZ6_a/Digital%20engagement%20tool%20-%20Outil%20de%20mobilisation%20num%C3%A9rique?dl=0&preview=PCYO+Subcommittee+Feedback+-+YouthVoiceON+(2017-07-20).docx [last accessed 10 February 2018] At the October PCYO meeting 90 minutes was allotted for Council members to provide advice on the tool and its formal launch.

A consistent theme throughout the meetings was the need to make clear how youth feedback obtained via the YouthVoiceON platform was being used to guide and inform government policies and programs. PCYO members made it clear that, a key aspect of building a trust relationship was ensuring that youth knew why they were spending time providing input and advice to the government. It appears that the government has acted on this advice insofar as Step 4 of the €˜How this works' explanation provided on the http://youthvoiceontario.ca homepage specifies that 'Feedback submitted to the YouthVoiceON site via Twitter or anonymous commenting below will be moderated to remove personal or identifying information. It will then be collected and grouped for analysis by the YouthVoiceON team. The YouthVoiceON team will help government work through the analysis to ensure youth voice is heard and understood.'

Milestone 2.2. Host design lab(s) with the Premier's Council on Youth Opportunities and their youth networks to inform the implementation of a digital engagement tool in a beta phase, for testing and evaluation.

In operationalizing this milestone, representatives from the Youth Strategies Branch of the Ministry of Children and Youth Services (MCYS) hosted meetings and workshops (i.e., Design labs) with PCYO members and a range of subject matter experts from the public sector. The Design labs brought together members of the PCYO and subject matter (e.g. Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario) to co-create protocols for the YouthVoiceON platform, to influence its design, was well as to evaluate its effectiveness by providing feedback to its beta launch. Specific outcomes emerging from this process include: Agenda's, minutes, and other salient information about these meetings and workshops is not publicly available. Nor was any such information provided to the IRM researcher

  • Co-development of a privacy protocol through a process involving the following subject matter experts: the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services' iNetwork; the Ministry of Children and Youth Services' Legal Services Branch and Access and Privacy Office; the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario.
  • Co-development and design of the YouthVoiceON platform through interactions with the following subject matter experts: members of the Premier's Council on Youth Opportunities; youth attending the Premier's Council on Youth Opportunities Listening Tour.

Other subject matter experts engaged in this process included: Toronto Police Services; the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario; and members of the Directors' Working Group on Youth Opportunities (consisting of 20 youth-serving ministries).

According to the OGO's July 2017 Self-Assessment Report, See, Open Government Partnership: progress update https://www.ontario.ca/page/open-government-partnership-progress-update#section-7 [last accessed 10 February 2018] the design labs and workshops along with the interactions with subject matter experts resulted in the co-creation of a series of documents - Privacy Impact Assessment, Privacy Risk Assessment, Privacy Risk Design Assessment, Social Media Risk Spectrum Protocol, Ongoing Accessibility Assessment - to guide the platform protocols. These documents are not publicly archived online.

In the autumn of 2017 the PCYO embarked on a listening tour/open government work shop, the aim of which was, in part, to gather further information about how best to continue moving forward with the development and implementation of YouthVoiceON. The 2017 listening tour visited the Fort William First Nation and Sault Ste. Marie in Northern Ontario, and Peterborough, Brantford, Kitchener, and London in Southern Ontario. Agendas, minutes, and other salient information about the Listening Tour stops are not publicly available. There is, however, summary document available online. See, PCYO Listening Tour / Open Government Workshop - Key Themes Summary, Action Items and Follow-Up Questions. https://www.dropbox.com/sh/d6p4z87fuzhngkx/AACxEQOBWatvJevAYXPYJfRJa/Advisory%20groups%20-%20Groupe%20consultatif/Digital%20engagement%20tool%20-%20Outil%20de%20mobilisation%20num%C3%A9rique?amp%3Bpreview=PCYO+Subcommittee+Feedback+-+YouthVoiceON+(2017-07-20).docx&dl=0&preview=PCYO+Listening+Tour+-+Open+Government+Workshop+Key+Themes+(2017-02-22).docx [last accessed 10 February 2018]. The information gathered from this tour was not directly relevant to Ontario's OGP Action Plan but is reflective of continuing efforts to update, improve, and promote the platform in accordance with the views of Ontario youth.

Milestone 2.3. Beta-launch a digital engagement tool and establish a baseline for evaluating digital youth civic engagement, and identifying opportunities for improvements.

Beta-testing of the YouthVoiceON platform took place from August to October 2017. This platform is linked with a Twitter account and solicits and collects anonymous responses to youth policy questions 'for the purpose of improving government programs and services for Ontario's youth.' See also, Ontario Creating More Opportunities for Youth to Shape Policy, https://news.ontario.ca/mcys/en/2017/10/ontario-creating-more-opportunities-for-youth-to-shape-policy.html [last accessed 10 February 2018]. As outlined at the www.youthvoiceontario.ca website, the platform works on the basis of four steps.

The technical design of the platform was conducted in-house in accord with feedback obtained from members of the PCYO and was led by Tsz-Lung Cheung. This process involved - and continues to involve - presenting suggested modifications to the platform to Council members, soliciting their feedback, modifying the platform accordingly, and soliciting additional feedback. To this end, the PCYO was and continues to be the driving-force for many aspects of this process from conception to execution to outreach insofar as its input and counsel was actively sought prior to the implementation of Commitment 2, and it will continue to play a key advisory role on a diverse range of activities affecting youth-serving Ministries. The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario also is involved given the need to protect the privacy of those youth using the tool.

A core consideration throughout the development and implementation of the YouthVoiceON platform has and continues to be that this platform is meant to function as a tool to support dialogue between youth and government about salient policy issues rather than platform for party-politics. To facilitate dialogue, new questions are regularly posed on the platform, to which young people from across the province are asked to comment. For those overseeing the implementation of Commitment 2, the hope is that with the platform now in place other Ministries will begin to use it as a mechanism for engaging with youth about issues falling under their respective Ministerial jurisdictions. For example, the current climate dialogue was an initiative of the province's Climate Change Secretariat. In the words of Tsz-Lung Cheung,

'We're [MCYS] not driving the discussion or policy topics. Our ultimate goal is to have editorial control [on what is being discussed]. People, Ministries, etcetera submit topics, and we select them. We have the thing to use, and they [other agencies] ask to use it. The key is the tool. As for the topic itself, we want to see the youth angle.'

As of February, 2018 there have been three topics of discussion, selected by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services. During the beta-testing phase, discussion focused on youth mentorship. This was followed by a discussion about post-secondary education in the province, and, most recently, a discussion about climate change. Visitors to the http://www.youthvoiceontario.ca website are asked three questions: What motivates you to take action on climate change? How are you fighting climate change in your home, school or community? How can we encourage young people in Ontario to help lead the fight against climate change? Users have the option of submitting responses via the platform or joining a twitter-based conversation about these issues. Two planned future discussions include one about improving concussion awareness in the Ontario school curriculum and ensuring better treatment (i.e., Rowan' Law), See, http://rowanslaw.ca/ [last accessed 10 February 2018]. and one about access to refugee settlement services in the province. Visitors to the platform are able to respond to the questions, read Tweets, and contribute to the conversations. Once conversation periods have ended, the results are meant to be reported via the @YouthVoiceON and @VoixDesJeunesON twitter accounts. In addition, information is meant to be provided about how the comments, ideas, and views received are contributing to government policy. At the time of writing no such information has been posted about the preceding discussions.

Milestones 2.4. Use feedback from beta testing to launch an updated version of the digital engagement tool and test/measure its impact on digital youth civic engagement, with concurrent evaluation.

Milestones 2.5. Continue making updates to the digital engagement tool with the Premier's Council on Youth Opportunities and their youth networks through design lab(s) or other open government tools (e.g. PoliHack).

Milestones 2.4 and 2.5 are directly connected to milestone 2.3. They focus on the gathering user feedback from the beta-testing to revise/update the http://youthvoiceontario.ca/ website to guide and inform platform updates in consultation with the PCYO. See, Open Government Partnership - Project Plan, https://www.dropbox.com/sh/d6p4z87fuzhngkx/AABFkd_o8p_1Cup0kUuOBnUCa/Project%20Plans%20-%20Plans%20des%20projets/Youth%20Engagement%20-%20Participation%20des%20jeunes?amp%3Bpreview=Youth+Engagement+Project+Plan.docx&dl=0&preview=Youth+Engagement+Project+Plan.docx [last accessed 10 February 2018]. As noted, above, the planned beta-testing period (i.e., Milestone 2.4) took place between August and October 2017. When asked about this process, Tsz-Lung Cheung, noted that despite people engaging with the platform throughout this period and their having ample opportunity to provide feedback via the platform, very minimal public feedback was actually received. In his words, 'feedback was requested, but not received.' Efforts to obtain public feedback about the platform remain in place as is evidenced by prominent posting of a Help us improve! icon on the platform.

Early results: did it open government?
Civic Participation: Major

Commitment 2 aims to facilitate and enhance youth engagement in the development and design of the Ontario government's programs, policies, and services through the development and implementation of an online platform. The commitment is rooted in the notion that youth-government dialogue can be enhanced by seeking to connect with youth through their preferred communication channels. The implementation of the YouthVoiceON platform and its accompanying Twitter accounts marks an important development in the government's youth engagement efforts.

Considering it is still the early days of the platform, much is yet to be discovered about how this tool can be most effectively used to catalyze change in policy issues of importance to youth. To this end, those most closely aligned with Commitment 2 maintain that it is still early days and that there is institutional inertia to overcome not least in terms of catalysing change in established channels of government communication. One clear sign of hope rests in the number of Twitter followers the @YouthON account has acquired in a very short period of time.