Whitehorse Daily Star

Encounter with Canada evaporates

Courtesy of the COVID-19 pandemic, a program particularly popular among northern students has folded.

By Tim Giilck on January 18, 2021

Courtesy of the COVID-19 pandemic, a program particularly popular among northern students has folded.

The Encounter with Canada program announced its closure last week.

“When Encounters with Canada launched in 1982, its mission was to promote ‘a better understanding of Canada among young Canadians,’” the program said in the announcement.

“Since then, the Ottawa-based program has been a formative experience for more than 113,000 youths who have travelled from across Canada to attend week-long sessions.

“It has been a flagship program of Historica Canada since 2006, when we assumed responsibility for operations,” the program said in the announcement.

“Unfortunately, the challenges and costs of navigating the program through COVID-19 have reached the breaking point. We are therefore announcing the full closure of the program, which suspended operations last March.

“We regret the impact on young Canadians who hoped to attend the program in future.”

The grounds, facility and other elements of the program’s physical infrastructure – the Historica Canada Centre – will be put up for sale later this year.

Initially, some local principals, such as Peter Giangrande of Porter Creek Secondary School, were eager to do an interview with the Star on the subject of the well-respected program.

However, officials from the Department of Education kiboshed the idea.

They said the program is not a Yukon project, and the principals were “too busy” to comment on a non-territorial program.

In the end, Susie Ross, a communications spokesperson for the department, would offer only this statement.

“During the 2019-20 school year, 28 students from Yukon participated in the program.

“Encounters with Canada was a great opportunity for our students to interact with students from across Canada.”

Comments (11)

Up 3 Down 0

Trevor Braun on Jan 22, 2021 at 2:21 pm

I participated in Encounters with Canada in 1989. I remember most kids from Faro wanted to participate with Encounters got to at some point in Grade 10,11,12. My brother went several years before I went. It was a great program that many Yukon kids especially rural Yukon kids got to participate in. We had to pay something (or our parents got to) I don't remember the price but I still have fond memories of the experience many that I would not have had. We went to Chalk River to learn about Nuclear Energy, we went to a Research farm and got to see a Cow with a window into its stomach and we had a very exciting presentation from a Mad Scientist that could have been from Back to the Future. I met kids from all over Canada and made some good friends.

It is too bad this program will not survive Covid times, hopefully there will be a new program come along to fill the gap- there usually is.

It was very disappointing to read YTG Dept of Ed lack of interest and muzzling of a Principal that wanted to speak about the program. This approach is shameful and sends very mixed messaging to students the Dept of Ed serves. We want kids to think for themselves, to be able to speak and share their thoughts but we can not allow their teachers and principals to share their thoughts? Insane. Not the first time I have heard teachers being muzzled and I won't be surprised if this compromises a contract I have with the Dept of Ed.

Up 1 Down 0

Jake The Bosun on Jan 22, 2021 at 1:32 pm

Imagine if we had even spent a percentage of the money we gave away to Bombardier and SNC and .... on our own health research and vaccine production facilities ?

Up 5 Down 0

Jake The Bosun on Jan 22, 2021 at 6:07 am

I suppose all programs end eventually, that seems natural. I could accept this if the money returned to General Revenue to fund a future program of equal or greater value, but it won't.
We should brace ourselves, Trudeau increased the money supply in unprecedented fashion, but Government (all levels) need to recover enough cash to become financially stable again, or we have no future, this is only the start.
I fear without a strong focus on increased Government efficiency (sigh) it will all be for not. The future Yukon castes will be rich, government, and poor.

Up 8 Down 7

JSmonk on Jan 20, 2021 at 11:10 am

They should bring back this program and include paying for other countries students to come here as well. Truly diversify the opportunity for the kids. This is a blow to the community. Losing this program is only going to hurt the youth of today.

Diversity is Prosperity.

Up 6 Down 4

Josey Wales on Jan 20, 2021 at 5:30 am

Hey TMYK...no, no they cannot have anyone speaking freely.
In a very clear direction you will be herded in...off into the digital ghetto.
For those unable to see that, willfully ignorant, potentially regular ignorant...or complicit you may very well be?
Not you TMYK in particular, but those who speak freely on these team red fools.

Serious, SERIOUS Gaslighting is being orchestrated seems daily, during this Kung Flu plandemic. Not even just here, but near everywhere...and our "leadership" has a vast collection of snake oil sales "persons" with their network of sycophants. Currently it seems, they are seeking new tenants for said "Digital Ghetto"...?

Seems not related, but very much is...
"Make Orwell Fiction Again" said a genius I cannot pinpoint.

Up 13 Down 7

Wilf Carter on Jan 19, 2021 at 11:20 am

Larry, where's the money for this great program for our kids?

Up 16 Down 4

Josey Wales on Jan 19, 2021 at 9:40 am

hmm...kinda ironic?
as this era brought us our CCoR&F's , it too...evaporated THIS year.
By the same regime...clic clic.

Up 26 Down 4

TMYK on Jan 19, 2021 at 7:46 am

And yet again the Liberals silence the people. We can't have anyone speaking out of turn can we.

Up 23 Down 6

Wilf Carter on Jan 18, 2021 at 9:57 pm

Here we go folks Federal liberal government killing another interesting program but has money to give another country in South AFC.

Up 20 Down 2

melba on Jan 18, 2021 at 4:58 pm

I have never heard of this program. 28 students a year got flown across the country to check it out. I wonder how they were selected. I hope they were kids who otherwise likely would not have had a chance to see the country.

Up 24 Down 2

Megan Slobodin on Jan 18, 2021 at 4:29 pm

What a shameful response from the Yukon Government Department of Education on a stellar connective and unifying program for Canadian high school students from right across Canada. Yukon in particular benefitted richly from this program, as Yukon participants were always guaranteed places, and it was not population-based. Both of our sons participated in Encounters with Canada, which helped to expand their mental horizons and connect with others of their own age across our nation. It is particularly sad if the Yukon Government cannot bring itself to champion a national program from which so many of its own high school students benefitted, on the basis that it is "not a Yukon project." Let us all ask each of our MLAs which "Yukon project" they support instead that hits all those same targets.

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