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What do millennials want civic leaders to address? Affordability, transit and employment

74 per cent of GTHA millennials willing to leave if issues unresolved

Toronto, March 21, 2018 — Affordability, transit and employment are the top three issues millennials living in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area care about, and nearly three-quarters resolved. This according to a new survey of 1,605 Canadians by Maru/Matchbox on behalf of students of Centennial College’s public relations and corporate communications program and CivicAction, a not-for-profit that creates collective action on big urban challenges.

Set out to uncover what millennials care about, the survey also looked at how young people intend to generate community impact. The results will be considered as CivicAction informs its agenda for the 2019 CivicAction summit and will be key conversation starters leading up to the provincial and municipal elections.

“These results send a clear message to the leaders of today about what issues the future leaders of tomorrow care about,” says Sevaun Palvetzian, CEO of CivicAction. “As the largest generation to walk the planet, millennials will reshape urban life with their values and outlook.”

“We are millennials asking millennials,” says Beata Carissa, one of six public relations and corporate communications students at Centennial College working on the ‘Your City, Your Way’ campaign, which also includes a video, a speaking competition and a social media strategy.

Millennials, aged 18 to 37, often get a bad rap for being ‘click activists’ or ‘slactivists,’ but the survey results debunked this myth:

  • More than two-thirds (69 per cent) of millennials in the GTHA plan to vote in an election within the next year.
  • Though the number of non-millennials in the GTHA is higher when it comes to voting (80 per cent), millennials and older generations are equally likely to sign a petition, volunteer for a charitable cause, discuss political issues face-to-face and online, and attend a political meeting or speech.
  • Millennials in the GTHA scored higher in less traditional forms of civic activity compared to their older counterparts, including willingness to boycott a product (36 per cent vs. 29 per cent) and attend a protest or demonstration (22 per cent vs. 14 per cent).
  • Millennials in GTHA also reported that they have discussed political issues face-to-face (35 per cent) more than they have online (19 per cent).
  • When asked what prevents greater participation in civic activity, millennials say they do not have time (56 per cent), they have no interest (31 per cent), and they do not know how to get involved (31 per cent).

About the survey:

From March 7 to March 11, 2018, an online survey was conducted among 1,605 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. Out of these 1,605 adults, 173 were millennials living in the GTHA. The margin of error for the total sample — which measures sampling variability — is +/- 2.4%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to education, age, gender and region (and in Quebec, language) Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

About Centennial College and the Story Arts Centre:

Established in 1966, Centennial College is Ontario’s first public college, primarily serving the eastern portion of the GTA through four campuses. It has a record of exemplary teaching, innovative programming and partnership building. With a full-time enrolment of 22,000 students, Centennial is recognized as one of the most culturally diverse post-secondary institutions in Canada.

The Story Arts Centre is home to Centennial’s School of Communications, Media, Arts and Design, offering programs such as public relations and corporate communications, advertising, journalism, broadcasting and film, animation, art and design, and performance programs such as music and dance.

About CivicAction:

CivicAction is a premier civic engagement organization that brings together senior executives and rising leaders from all sectors to tackle challenges facing the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. CivicAction builds partnerships and takes action through campaigns, programs and organizations that transform our region. For more information, visit or follow CivicAction on Twitter @CivicActionGTHA.


A video with interviews of millennials supporting the survey is available at (video file available upon request).

For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Jennifer Bull
Media Relations, Centennial College
Tel: 905-903-4240

Jeff Junke
Communications Manager, CivicAction
Tel: (416) 309-4480 x 533

Donna Lindell
Faculty Supervisor, Centennial College
Tel: 416-289-5000 ext. 8738

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