Thunder Bay Youth Inclusion Program (YIP)

Brief Description

The Thunder Bay Youth Inclusion Program (YIP) is a neighbourhood-based initiative that aims to prevent crime and promote well-being through proactive engagement, programming, public education, and individualized support. Originally, YIP was developed in 2000 by the Youth Justice Board (UK) as part of a national strategy for proactively tackling youth crime in England and WalesFootnote1. Inspired by the original model, the Thunder Bay YIP also expands on it by: taking a strength-based approach to promote positive youth development; being open to all youth in Thunder Bay; and offering elements targeted at the individual, family, neighbourhood, community, and systems levels. The program is centered on systems navigation, mentoring training; youth development; skills training; and outreach services.


The main goals of the Thunder Bay YIP are to:

  • Decrease risk factors and increase protective factors;
  • Reduce behaviours related to crime;
  • Improve awareness and understanding of challenges youth face; and
  • Improve programs, services, community agencies in the city of Thunder Bay by making them more inclusive, responsive, accessible and youth-friendly.


The appropriate clientele for the Thunder Bay YIP is all youth aged 12-24 years (including vulnerable youth and youth at risk of becoming vulnerable) within Thunder Bay as well as peers, families and community members. This is a unique feature of the Thunder Bay YIP as previous YIP programs targeted “at-risk” youth. While being “at-risk” is not a requirement for participation in this program, YIP staff offer individualized, one-to-one support for youth who are believed to be most vulnerable to poor outcomes. Participants can be referred to Thunder Bay YIP through service providers, family, peers, or self-referrals.

Core Components

The Thunder Bay YIP consists of:

  • Neighbourhood-Based Programming: provides a range of prosocial and educational group activities and opportunities to youth living in three priority neighbourhoods (e.g., educational, recreational and cultural activities), and connects participants to community resources as required (targets all youth).
  • Community Engagement, Programming, & Outreach: Promotes YIP, offers programming outside of the three priority neighbourhoods, facilitates participation in YIP activities, community events and youth-led projects (targets all youth, with emphasis on Indigenous youth).
  • One-to-One Supports: Provides individualized supports to at-risk youth from all neighbourhoods, works toward achievement of personal development goals, systems navigation, and connects participants to community resources as required (targets at-risk youth).
  • Public Education Campaign: Developed and implemented to raise awareness about the challenges Indigenous youth face when they move to Thunder Bay to attend school (targets all people living in Thunder Bay).

Implementation Information

Some of the critical elements for the implementation of this program or initiative include the following:

  • Organizational requirements: The lead organization must acquire information about other existing services, resources, and organizations within the community. This will help program facilitators and youth workers determine which resources most adequately address each participant’s unique needs.
  • Partnerships: The success of the Thunder Bay YIP depends on its many partnerships with schools, police agencies and other community-based organizations. Partnerships with Northern communities, Indigenous schools, education centres and other organizations are also key to the success of the program.
  • Training and technical assistance: The program provides different support/programs and as such staff require training in a multitude of areas, including but not limited to, motivational interviewing, mental health first aid, personal safety training, program facilitation/delivery and engagement techniques. Technology plays a large part in the success of marketing, connecting and providing programming to young people. Many platforms are utilized and training is required in order to appropriately support the program.
  • Risk assessment tools: The program is taking a strengths based approach to risk assessments and utilizing the Child and Youth Resilience Measure (CYRM-R) as well as the Adult Resilience Measure (ARM-R) created by Dalhousie University.
  • Materials & resources: Space, materials, and equipment are required to meet with partners and offer programming outside of the neighbourhood sites. Incentives, including food, are also a key input as it is a draw for many youth. Transportation is required to facilitate youth participation in activities and programming.

International Endorsements

The most recognized classification systems of evidence-based crime prevention programs have classified this program or initiative as follows:

  • Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development: Not applicable.
  • Crime Solutions/OJJDP Model Program Guide: Not applicable.
  • SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices: Not applicable.
  • Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy: Not applicable.

Gathering Canadian Knowledge

Canadian Implementation Sites

Public Safety Canada’s National Crime Prevention Strategy provided funding to implement the Thunder Bay YIP in three neighbourhoods in Thunder Bay (Ontario) between 2018 and 2023. The Thunder Bay YIP is being implemented by the City of Thunder Bay.

Main Findings from Canadian Outcome Evaluation Studies

As part of Public Safety Canada’s funding, an outcome evaluation study of the Thunder Bay Youth Inclusion Program was carried out between 2018 and 2023 by the Centre for Rural and Northern Health Research (CRaHNR) at Lakehead University. The evaluation methodology included a mixed-methods design, including qualitative (e.g., interviews) and quantitative (e.g., questionnaires) measures.

Results from this evaluation showed the following:

  • Over the 5-year period, the program offered 508 separate events and 1228 hours of programming, including a variety of arts, recreational, cultural, and social activities.
  • 157 youth connected with Navigators (i.e., mentors), 3419 attended neighbourhood programs, and 126 helped the public education campaign, with most participating youth being between the age of 12 and 24.
  • Of the youth that participated in Navigators, the mentorship portion of the program, 80 of 131 youth (61%) completed at least some of their self-identified goals (53 completed all of their goals, and 27 completed at least one goal).
  • Additionally, 25 of 33 (76%) of youth surveyed reported having experience positive changes due to their connection with their navigator and 28 of the 33 (85%) reported gains related to their development (e.g., feeling more likely to succeed, feeling better about themselves, gaining new skills or experiences, and learning new things).
  • Staff (n = 5) indicted that engagement activities (e.g., neighbourhood BBQs) and programs were well-attended and that youth and their parents felt safe, welcomed, and engaged with the programming and that the 126 youth involved in the public education campaigns well exceeded their target number of 5 participants, demonstrating high levels of engagement from youth

Cost Information

A cost analysis was conducted on the Youth Inclusion Program. The findings from this study have shown the following:

  • From August 2018 to June 2023, $3,608,763.45 was used for the programs development and implementation of its Programming and Navigator elements.
  • The main YIP Programming costs included staffing, renting space, materials and equipment (e.g., cooking ingredients, crafting materials, games and sports equipment) and transportation.
  • The main Youth Navigator costs included staffing, renting space, food, transportation, cellphones for Navigators to connect with youth and supervisors of the program, and discretionary funds to support youth.


Centre for Rural and Northern Health Research. (2023). Final evaluation report: Thunder Bay Youth Inclusion Program [Unpublished final evaluation report]. Submitted to Public Safety Canada.

For more information on this program, contact:

Kaitlin Prezio

Project Manager, Youth Inclusion Program

111a Syndicate Avenue, South Thunder Bay, ON, P7E 6S4

Telephone: (807) 632-8038



Record Entry Date - 2020-12-15
Record Updated On - 2023-12-11
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    For more information on the Youth Inclusion Program, refer to the program descriptive sheet.

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