Mentor Canada is committed to expanding access to mentoring for youth in Canada. In collaboration with diverse stakeholders, Mentor Canada builds sector capacity to empower every young person to fulfil their potential.
As a backbone organization, Mentor Canada plays a coordinating role in linking researchers, service providers, service recipients, funders and volunteers to achieve real collective impact.
Our work is focused in four key areas: research, technology, partnership networks, awareness building and outreach. This work will support the development of:
- Evidence-based, practitioner-approved guidelines for building and sustaining quality youth mentoring programs
- Tools and resources for mentoring practitioners that provide just in time learning and ongoing professional development
- Strategies to address gaps in mentoring services and opportunities, giving more youth access to a mentor
The lack of research on youth mentoring in Canada is an important barrier to generating evidence-based policies and practices which have the potential to improve the effectiveness and reach of mentoring for young people across the country. With support from the Government of Canada’s Youth Employment and Skills Strategy and BMO Financial Group, Mentor Canada launched The State of Mentoring Research Initiative in 2019 to address this barrier and collect essential data about youth mentoring.
Mentor Canada worked with the Social Research and Demonstration Corporation (SRDC) – a non-profit research organization with almost 30 years’ experience providing high-quality research and evaluation support for evidence-informed decision-making – to carry out the research.
Mapping the Mentoring Gap
This is the first of three studies conducted as part of The State of Mentoring in Canada. Its objectives are to understand young adults’ access to and experiences of mentoring during their childhood and adolescence (up to 18 years of age). Between January and March 2020, 2,838 young adults aged 18 to 30 participated in the National Youth Mentoring Survey, a nationally representative online survey. To supplement the survey findings, we conducted 19 one-on-one interviews with young adults.
Capturing the Mentoring Landscape
This study seeks to increase our understanding of the prevalence, scope, structure, strengths and challenges of youth mentoring programs and services across Canada. 150 youth-serving organizations participated in the Canadian Survey of Youth Development and Mentoring Organizations between April and September 2020.
Raising the Profile of Mentoring
This third study explores adults’ views about youth mentoring as well as their interest and capacity to become mentors to young people outside of their immediate family. The goal is to better understand the barriers and facilitators to mentoring and ultimately increase the number of adults who mentor. Between September and November 2020, 3,500 adults in Canada participated in a nationally representative online survey. In addition, 18 interviews were conducted with adults who had previous experience as a mentor to young people.
To bridge the gap between researchers and service providers, Mentor Canada, the University of Alberta, and the Alberta Mentoring Partnership have spearheaded a new Canadian Centre for Mentoring Research (CCMR). The CCMR’s mission is to advance knowledge about youth mentoring in Canada by generating and supporting rigorous and innovative research. The CCMR is building a network of academics in the field of mentoring to share research, knowledge, best practice, and expand the evidence base in Canada. The State of Mentoring Research Initiative and the work of the CCMR will support the development of tools and resources to improve the quality of mentoring services in Canada.
Thank you to all those who participated in our studies. Together, we are improving the effectiveness of quality mentoring relationships for youth and young adults across Canada.
Interactive data dashboard now available: explore detailed results from our research about young people's mentoring experiences
With this new data dashboard available on our website, you can explore the 3 major research questions in detail by refining data with respondents' demographic characteristics.
Sharing high-level findings from our research: discover the Experiences and Perspectives of Mentors and Mentees from across Canada.
We are pleased to share some high-level findings with you from our three studies, such as motivations to becoming a mentor, barriers to accessing a mentor, challenging parts of mentoring, and much more.
Technology is critical to growing the mentoring movement in Canada. Work is underway to identify cutting-edge technology that will increase the quality, accessibility and capacity of mentoring initiatives. We recognize that these solutions must be flexible, scalable and reflect the diverse needs of communities.
Our work will build on the findings of The State of Mentoring Research Initiative with a focus on:
- Auditing technology platforms to assess their applicability in the pan-Canadian context including online access, broadband capabilities and community expectations
- Engaging with partners and stakeholders, including technology-focused sessions at the Canadian Mentoring Symposium 2020 in Ottawa
- Testing the technologies identified through the research for national scaling and amplification, including digital platforms that facilitate mentor-mentee matching, and gathering data for metrics to quantify and assess mentoring initiatives
- Developing and delivering a curated resource centre that includes a comprehensive collection of mentoring literature, tools, and training
To grow the mentoring movement in Canada, our work must be informed from the ground up. Mentor Canada’s partnership efforts will focus on building a national network of mentoring organizations. We will leverage existing networks and learn from their successes by:
- Facilitating knowledge transfer among providers, mentoring partnerships and academics
- Organizing opportunities for communities of practice
- Creating tools, training and professional development for service providers
- Supporting the Canadian Mentoring Research Network (CMRN), to share research, best practice, and expand the evidence base
As we undertake this critical work, we are reaching out to existing collaborations to identify best practice in network models that meet diverse audiences needs. Using the results of The State of Mentoring Research Initiative, we will develop a map of Canadian service providers, organizations and partnerships and identify network gaps and opportunities. Through our network, we will share grassroots experiences and innovations in service delivery to improve the quality of mentoring programs.
Awareness building and stakeholder communications
Mentor Canada is actively engaged in public engagement, knowledge mobilization and information sharing to support the mentoring sector. We are also committed to raising public awareness about the positive impact of youth mentoring. Through awareness building campaigns, online engagement, and events, our communications team is leading our stakeholder and public engagement work.
Upcoming campaigns and events include:
- Canadian Mentoring Symposium 2020 – an annual national dialogue featuring new research, innovative practices and dynamic networking opportunities for mentoring organizations, government, academic, corporate and community partners
- Mentoring Month in January 2020, awareness campaign – to spread the word about the value of mentoring
- Employer Outreach Events – hosted in collaboration with business and community partners to recruit more mentors
- Social Media Campaigns – to build awareness and engagement within and outside the mentoring sector
- Research Updates – to mobilize the knowledge from The State of Mentoring in Canada Initiative and build a Canadian Mentoring Research Network