Middle school students reading from books and devices in the park


The exchange was very positive for the northern participants. Some students had never been away from their community and this helped them to see Canada from a different lens. In addition, it has changed attitudes and given them a new perspective toward life, especially educationally. The exchange helped them to see what life is like in both worlds and also helped them to appreciate their northern heritage and respect for the southern culture and values. In essence, the program broadens horizons and brings new ideas to the youth.

-Paastsaali High School, NU

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to participate in the Youth Exchanges Canada Program?

YEC has a $75 participation fee per group member, which is designed to be included in your group’s fundraising plan and submitted as one cheque per group prior to the start of the exchange.

What costs are covered by the program?

Our funding source covers the travel costs of all participants and program organizers, necessary accommodations, food for travel if required, and special measures funding for eligible groups with barriers to participation. The local hosting costs are the responsibility of the group.

Can we choose where we go?

In most cases, no. Due to the extensive logistics and administrative work that goes into creating ideal twinning between groups, individual requests cannot generally be accommodated. The exception to this is pretwinned groups who apply to YEC with a specific other group in mind. Both groups must note the name of the other in their application.

What are the eligibility requirements for participation?

Youth between 12 and 17 are eligible to participate in YEC program, and can only participate once. Schools or community organizations are able to apply in subsequent years, but must recruit a different group of youth.

What are special measures funding and how do I know if I’m eligible?

YEC aims to be accessible for as many Canadian youth as possible, and special measures funding provides additional support to groups with further barriers to participation. Some examples of situations we dispense special measures funding include:

  • Supporting groups with accommodations including common stay arrangements if billeting is not an option, or providing food support should it be a barrier.
  • Financial support for the funding of accessible vehicles or programming to support youth with disabilities.
  • Waiving or modifying participation fees.
  • Additional group leaders for younger groups or those that need more support.

If you have questions or concerns about your group’s ability to participate due to barriers, please contact us here

Do I apply on my own or as part of a group?

As part of a group. Due to the large role that local group organizers play in planning the exchange, group applications are the most effective way to facilitate a positive exchange experience. If you are an individual youth interested in participating in YEC, we encourage you to share information with school and community groups you’re a part of!

What can I do if YEC is too expensive for my youth?

Our program aims to be accessible to as many Canadian youth as possible, and YEC’s flexibility in types of activities, group size, and length of exchange mean that budgets can be built around the financial contexts of your group and community. We’ve seen many groups develop amazing, low-cost program plans. Community partnerships, fundraising, in-kind donations, and discounted tickets are all ways that costs have been reduced in the past. Along with what’s listed above, our special measures funding allows for some structural cost reduction for additional support in situations where there are financial barriers. We encourage you to reach out to us for any further questions here

Who plans the programming and travel?

Local groups plan and develop host plans with support from their group leaders, which include accommodations, activities, and local transportation. YEC’s Regional Coordinators facilitate training sessions with leaders prior to the exchange and provide support throughout. YEC’s travel agents handle the booking of travel between communities.

What kinds of activities will we be doing on exchange?

It depends on many factors! Your organizers will work with the other exchange group to come up with activities that are age appropriate, align with your skills and interests, and give you a broad understanding of your new community. All program plans include community service activities at the beginning and end of the exchange, and are developed through constant communication between each group’s exchange leaders.