• News
  • January 24, 2017

Ontario Providing Innovating Learning Opportunities For Thunder Bay Youth

Experiential Learning Program Helping More Students Succeed

Ontario is supporting students in Thunder Bay by investing in innovative experiential learning and leadership opportunities outside of the classroom that help them earn high school credits. Education Minister Mitzie Hunter was in Thunder Bay today to announce Ontario’s investment in a collaborative initiative between the Lakehead District School Board’s Adult Education Centre and Roots to Harvest that gives local students paid placements to help them earn high school credits. Students work on community farms and in the gardens maintained by Roots to Harvest, providing them with a range of transferable skills such as:

  • Planting/harvesting a community garden
  • Marketing and selling products in the community
  • Caring for small farm animals
  • Bee keeping and honey extraction.

Providing summer and after-school programs for children and youth to learn beyond the classroom is an important part of the government’s plan to create jobs, grow the economy and help people in their everyday lives. 


“Our government is committed to working together with school boards and not-for-profit community partners to offer children and youth dynamic opportunities that help them focus on learning, gain work experience and build a promising future.”

— Mitzie Hunter, Minister of Education 

"Preparing young people in Thunder Bay with the skills they need to prosper in the future is crucial to our plan to grow the economy and help people in their everyday lives. By allowing students to earn high school credits while learning important transferable skills we are giving our kids a head start on their future successes."

— Michael Gravelle, MPP Thunder Bay-Superior North 

“I’m proud of our government’s support for innovative programs like the partnership between Lakehead Public Schools and Roots to a New Harvest, which provides hands-on learning in the Agri -Food area—an area of critical importance to the health and prosperity of our Communities. This program, in addition to ensuring that our children and youth are receiving important skills, is also assisting adult learners with the completion of their secondary school studies.”

— Bill Mauro, MPP Thunder Bay-Atikokan 


  • Ontario invested $45,000 through the Focus on Youth Summer Program to support the collaboration between the Lakehead District School Board’s Adult Education Centre and Roots to Harvest.
  • The Focus on Youth Summer Program was created in 2007 through Ontario’s $4 million investment to help school boards partner with community agencies. This investment increased to $8 million in 2015-16.
  • As of 2015-16, the program has expanded from its original areas of Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton, Windsor and Durham to regions including Thunder Bay, Sudbury, Peterborough, Brantford and Kingston.
  • Since 2007, 145,000 children and youth from under-serviced areas have participated in daily summer programming.
  • Approximately 8,000 young people have been employed through the program since 2007.
  • A key goal of the Highly Skilled Workforce Strategy is to increase experiential learning opportunities for students.



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