The Ottawa Youth Engagement Committee (OYEC) is a committee to help encourage youth engagement and to amplify youth voice and representation at the City of Ottawa. OYEC is working to increase youth engagement in decision making within the City of Ottawa. OYEC will also strive to engage the non-engaged and underrepresented communities, in action and through representation. To learn more about this Committee, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re between the ages of 15 – 24 and you would like to become an OYEC member, please complete the application form by visiting Ottawa.ca New members are selected throughout the year as needed.
Article - OttYouth Portal
Calling all Ottawa youth! Or #OttYouth as our City might like to put it.
Last month the City launched its new tool for youth, the Ott Youth Portal. The idea for this one-of-a-kind hub came from the 2013 Youth Summit Action Plan with the goal of improving the City’s communication with the youth of Ottawa. To ensure that this website is appealing to its target audience, youth focus groups were consulted, providing the city with feedback on the design, content, and messaging.
Not only is this website super user-friendly, it also has a unique look and feel, separate from the general City website. It’s a place for us youth, all to ourselves!. Ott Youth highlights programs and services directed at youth. Here you’ll find opportunities for employment, volunteering, and trainings and information about services such as transportation and recreation. Awesome, right?
The website can also direct you when you’re not sure where to turn and you need some extra help, whether you’re dealing with mental health or financial issues. And don’t forget the best part about being a youth: FUN! There’s a place for that too on the website where you can find out about upcoming events and activities.
Our City is working hard to make space for a youth voice but they can’t do it without you. The best way to have your voice heard is to get involved and engaged in your community. Here are some exciting things that are going on now which you can participate in:
Stay in touch and get involved in your city through the Ott Youth Portal and you never know what other doors may open! For any questions, comments, and suggestions e-mail the city at email@example.com .
Article: E–Cigarettes in Ottawa: To Vape or not to Vape?
By: Sadad Rahman
Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes for short have seen a large rise in popularity over the past years. If you walk into many convenience or drug stores, it is likely that you will notice small kiosks or stands with e-cig or "vaping" displays. An e-cigarette is typically a narrow cylindrical device designed to mimic the appearance of cigarettes, and function using a battery-powered core that vaporizes an internal liquid store, creating "smoke" vapour. The e-cigarette industry is quite large, with sales of 1 billion dollars in 2015, and 15% of high school students reporting that they have used an e-cigarette in their lifetime, sometimes with nicotine additives. Many youth have taken to purchasing and smoking these e-cigs, and often they are current or former smokers seeking to kick the habit or find an alternative in situations where they are prohibited from smoking.
While many youth may see e-cigarettes as a safe and progressive step in limiting smoking habits, it actually has many associated concerns. To begin, e-cigarettes are not widely regulated, due to it being a young industry. Vendors may sell e-cigs from many different sources, and it is not always guaranteed what ingredients or chemicals are used to make the liquid found inside the e-cigs. Health Canada prohibits the importation or sale of e-cigarettes containing nicotine, but yet Ottawa Public Health frequently receives complaints regarding retailers selling e-cigarettes with nicotine. The bottom line is that it is not guaranteed what you are ingesting when vaping. Following on the point that it is a young industry, there are currently very few limited studies on the beneficial or adverse health effects of e-cigs. Health Canada has actually banned the sale of any e-cigarettes that claim to have some sort of therapeutic effect. E-cigs also pose the risk of attracting non-smoking youth to the smoking culture, and can lead to them purchasing actual tobacco and nicotine containing products. In addition, many complaints received by the city about vaping include the use of e-cigarettes in public areas such as on the bus or in malls, producing vapour smoke that is irritable to others. There is currently no research about the health risks associated with inhaling this second hand vapour, adding to the risks of vaping in enclosed public spaces.
It is true that under proper regulatory conditions and safe use, e-cigarettes can be an effective tobacco cessation tool, but in its current state it simply is not there yet. It adds further complications to smoking law enforcement efforts, normalizes the image of smoking among youth, and undermines smoke-free regulations in our city. As more research is done based around harm reduction and its effectiveness in kicking smoking habits, hopefully e-cigarettes can be properly utilized to reduce smoking among youth in Ottawa. Citizens that wish to seek assistance with smoking cessation can use information found on the city website at: Ottawa.ca/health. Youth can also talk to their public health nurse at their school, or visit the more youth oriented Exposé Ottawa website: exposeottawa.ca.
Sources: Etter, Jean-François. Electronic cigarettes: a survey of users. BMC Public Health. 2010.
Centres of Disease Control and Prevention. Notes from the Field: Electronic Cigarette Use Among Middle and High School Students — United States, 2011–2012. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Online. Retrieved 01-22-2014. Non Smokers' Rights Association. The Buzz on E-Cigarettes. Booklet. 2012.