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 YIP is set to be conducted by an external evaluator. This evaluation is currently in progress, results are not yet available at this time.

Cost Information

No information available.


There is no Canadian reference available at this time.

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 - 2021-04-29
  1. 1

    For more information on the Youth Inclusion Program, refer to the program descriptive sheet.

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