Presented by CIVIX

The Results

Canadian youth share their priorities for Budget 2024 through national consultation

Between November 2023 and April 2024, more than 5,000 Canadian students participated in the Student Budget Consultation, an annual initiative coordinated by CIVIX to engage youth in the federal government’s pre-budget consultation process.

More than 600 schools from throughout Canada, representing all provinces, registered to participate in the 2024 consultation.

Through a variety of video content and hands-on activities, students explored budget concepts, learned about the federal government’s expenditures and sources of revenue, discussed the state of the economy and listened to journalists and pundits discuss focus areas for Budget 2024. In the culminating activity, students completed an online survey with 35 questions focused on a variety of public policies.

To prepare preliminary findings of the perceptions and priorities of young Canadians, Vox Pop Labs analyzed the responses from the initial group of participants, totaling nearly 2,000 Canadian youth, aged 12 to 18. 

The top priorities among youth for Budget 2024 include addressing the high cost of living, building more affordable housing and increasing access to health care for Canadians.

When asked about the most critical areas where the federal government could support young Canadians specifically, students ranked housing affordability, access to affordable education, student debt, and increased employment opportunities as the most important.

Other points of interest in the preliminary survey results include:

  • Cost of Living – The high cost of living is the top priority for students. Most feel government policies haven’t helped, and some feel these policies worsened their household’s financial situation. Students believe federal policies contribute more to the cost of living crisis than price-gouging by corporations, and are divided on tax cuts as a solution.
  • Fiscal Policy – Students are divided on government spending versus lower taxes and the importance of reducing the federal deficit. 59% of respondents prefer lower taxes and fewer government services, while 41% prefer higher taxes and more government spending (compared to 53% vs. 47% in last year’s survey). 
  • Wealth Inequality – A significant majority sees the income gap as too large, and believe wealthy people and corporations should contribute more to society. Less than half support a guaranteed minimum income for all Canadians.
  • Climate Change – Students acknowledge Canada’s responsibility to act on climate change, yet support wanes when faced with higher economic costs. Opinions are mixed on government efforts against natural disasters.
  • Health Care – Students strongly support expanded healthcare services, including dental care and prescription drugs. They also strongly agree on increasing federal health care funding to provinces and territories.
  • Supporting Young Canadians – Youth priorities include addressing cost of living, increasing affordable housing, and enhancing health care. Housing affordability is a key issue, with the majority doubting homeownership feasibility.
  • Education – Affordable post-secondary education and reasonable student debt are lower priorities, though there is some support for free post-secondary education at the cost of higher taxes.
  • Mental Health – Students overwhelmingly support increases in mental health services, despite ranking it as one of the least important ways the federal government could take to support young Canadians. 
  • Future Outlook – The majority of Canadian students are optimistic about their personal future but less so about Canada’s or the world’s future. Nearly half believe young Canadians will be worse off than their parents and expect the Canadian economy to decline.
  • Canadian Culture – Mixed views on funding levels for protecting the French language and CBC/Radio-Canada. 
  • Foreign Aid – Over a third of students believe that Canada is not doing enough to support the Palestinian people. Overall, students show more concern for how Canada is currently supporting the Middle East crisis compared to the Ukraine war.
  • Institutional Trust and Political Interest – Students express high trust in professionals like doctors and teachers, but low trust in elected officials and media.

With recent discussions about a national school food program, it is also worth noting that nearly two-thirds of students supported the idea of a school meal program for all students in 2023.

A preliminary report on the 2024 survey results was shared with the Department of Finance in March 2024 during the pre-budget consultation period, and the final results will be shared with all Members of Parliament and the political parties represented in the House of Commons later this spring.

To view infographics related to the survey results, click here.

To view the preliminary results report, click here.


About the Student Budget Consultation

The Student Budget Consultation provides youth with an opportunity to learn about budgeting and public finance, and share their priorities for the upcoming budget. 

The 2021 Canadian census was used to weight the data collected in order to reflect the distribution of males and females, aged 12 to 18, in Canada.

The 2024 Student Budget Consultation was organized by CIVIX, with the support of the Government of Canada and several private foundations.

The 2024 Student Budget Consultation survey was designed in collaboration with Vox Pop Labs.



CIVIX is a registered charity dedicated to strengthening democracy through civic education. CIVIX provides experiential learning opportunities to help young Canadians practice the habits of active and informed citizenship, and connect with their democratic institutions.

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