Our Mission

Our mission is to develop diverse youth as engaged, caring citizens and capable contributors and leaders for a better Canada.

Katimavik collaborates with other organizations to foster understanding, respect and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and with Canada’s other diverse cultures, regions and the environment.


Our name comes from an Inuktitut word that represents the concept of ``a meeting point``. It captures the essence of the organization.

Our Vision

Diverse, engaged and empowered youth working together to create just relationships and transform communities, the environment and themselves for a better Canada.

Our Commitment

Katimavik complies with the Employment Equity Act and the
Canadian Human Rights Act.

We are committed to fostering an inclusive and diverse workplace where every team member is valued, respected, and empowered to thrive. We believe that our strength lies in the rich tapestry of backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences that each employee brings to our organization.

Katimavik does not discriminate on the basis of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, family status, genetic characteristics, and/or disability.

Katimavik is committed to providing an inclusive and barrier-free work environment.

We believe that by embracing diversity and fostering an inclusive environment, we not only enhance our organizational culture but also enrich the impact we make in the communities we serve.

Together, we are stronger and better equipped to inspire the next
generation of leaders.


Katimavik is pleased and honoured to acknowledge its Co-founders, the late Honourable Senator Jacques Hébert and late Honourable Barney Danson. Both Sen. Hébert and Mr. Danson worked tirelessly to create an organization that would allow Canadian youth the opportunity to engage in meaningful community service and discover the richness of the country. In 1977 their idea became a reality and Katimavik was born.

Katimavik was founded by two incredibly accomplished, dedicated and passionate human beings who saw the vast potential in Canada’s young people.” said Katimavik Chief Executive Officer John-Frederick Cameron.

Empowered by a deep love for our great country, Mr. Danson and Sen. Hébert built Katimavik with the values of public service, selflessness, and dedication. Canada’s young people and communities around the country continue to benefit from their leadership and example. We are humbled by the magnitude and genius of their mission and vision and celebrate it every day.”


Barney Danson

Barney Danson (1921 – 2011) was born and raised in Toronto. As a teenager he joined the Canadian Armed Forces, eventually rising to the rank of Lieutenant. In 1944 he fought and was injured during World War II in the Battle of Normandy. After returning home, Mr. Danson formed the Danson Corporation, a plastics company that would soon become immensely successful. In 1968 he was elected to the House of Commons for the first time, representing the Toronto riding of York North.

In 1974 he was appointed as Minister of State for Urban Affairs by Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau. Two years later, he became the Minister of National Defence.

Throughout his life, Mr. Danson’s mission was to give back to the community, serving on numerous non-profit boards and councils, including the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, the Canadian War Museum, Ballet Opera House Corporation, and the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business.


Jacques Hébert

Jacques Hébert (1923 – 2007) was born in Montréal and studied at Saint Dunstan’s University in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Prior to his political career, he was a journalist and owned two publishing companies.

Throughout his public life, Mr. Hébert mission was to give youth the skills, knowledge, and experience to play an active role in society.

A year after Katimavik was created, Mr. Hébert was named an Officer of the Order of Canada. In 1983 he was appointed as a Canadian Senator, a position he held for 15 years.

After co-founding the organization, Mr. Hébert remained involved in Katimavik throughout the rest of his life, serving as its Chair for a number of years. In 1986, he went on a 21-day hunger strike to protest the first attempt to dismantle the program by the newly-elected Government of the day. Funding was restored and Katimavik survived. During the hunger strike, Mr. Hébert lost 27 pounds.

Beyond his advocacy for youth engagement, Mr. Hébert was known as a charismatic storyteller with a great sense of humour and a natural ability to connect with people from all walks of life.

Our Story

Relive the history of Katimavik, from 1977 to today.

1977: Genesis and Ideals

Katimavik (which means “gathering together”, or “meeting place” in the Inuktitut language) was founded by the late Honourable Jacques Hébert, a Canadian Senator, and late Honourable Barney Danson, then the Federal Minister of National Defence, to develop youth and foster civic engagement through community service. In its first year, Katimavik mobilized 1000 participants who worked on projects in over 40 communities.

1977 – 1986: Maturity and Growth

In its first glory years, many Canadians discovered other regions of Canada for the first time. They learned languages and acquired skills, while growing in body and mind.

1985: Katimavik Honoured 

As its alumni ranks swelled to 15,000, Katimavik’s influence also grew. During International Youth Year, the United Nations honoured Katimavik with an award for its environmental involvement.

1986: The Difficult Years 

Katimavik’s federal funding was interrupted. The program survived, much diminished, as an outdoor recreational and training centre in the Montréal suburb of Île-Perrot.

1994: Rebirth

Katimavik’s budget was reinstated, and in 1994, 66 participants from Ontario, Québec and New Brunswick took on projects in six communities. Annual participation has since grown to over 1,000 yearly in some 90 communities.

1999: International Recognition

Katimavik took part in the IANYS conference in El Paso. A five year strategic plan was being deployed and to help guide Katimavik into the new millennium and the first Meet Your MP events were held on Parliament Hill.

2000 – 2001: Two New Programs

Two test projects are established for the duration of one year: “Leader 16-19” and “Leader Plus 22-26”. They were sponsored by Canadian Heritage.

2004: Trip to Ghana

Katimavik participated in the International Association of National Youth Service (IANYS) international conference in Accra, Ghana. Katimavik signed a partnership with Vancouver Island University that provided university credits for our participants (until 2012).

2005: University Credits

Capilano University in North Vancouver, British Columbia, recognized the Katimavik program by awarding credits to students who successfully complete the program (until 2012).

2006: ROI Proven

Katimavik was able to report that each dollar spent by the Katimavik program generates a return of $2.20 in each of the communities that work with our participants.

2007 – 2008: Program Modernized

Several modifications were made to the learning program. The objective is to allow Katimavik to more efficiently and scientifically measure the progression of each youth’s personal development progress.

2008 – 2009: Competency Model Adopted

Katimavik restructured the learning program for participants. Instead of focusing solely on improving skill-sets, the new model favours the development of our participants’ personal, social and professional competencies.

Funding received from the Secrétariat à la jeunesse allows Katimavik to establish its eco-internship program. It is intended to provide a professional experience in an environmental organization to youth interested in environmental issues and practices.

2008 – 2012: Building Relationship with
Indigenous Communities

Katimavik launches a new program where participants are placed in at least one community that has a significant Indigenous population. These programs provided valuable lessons for engaging with Indigenous communities and youth in order to understand their history and contributions to Canada, and to build meaningful relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

2009: 6 Months Programs Introduced 

Starting in September 2009, Katimavik offered the following programs: “Eco-citizenship and Active Living”, “Second Language and Cultural Identity” and “Cultural Discovery and Civic-Engagement”.

2009- 2010: Postsecondary Credit  

Cégep Marie-Victorin (QC, 2009) and George Brown College (ON, 2010) recognized the Katimavik program by awarding credits to students that complete the program (until 2012).

2010 – 2011: A Renewed Focus on Community Impact

The communities that host Katimavik groups are selected based on criteria that reflect the areas of impact targeted by Katimavik: social services, poverty reduction, formal & non-formal education (focus on literacy), arts, culture & heritage, sports and leisure, environment & sustainable development – media & communications and social justice.

2011 – 2012: A Successful Year With a Difficult Announcement at the End

In the 2011-2012 fiscal year Katimavik brought together more than 1000 young Canadians to contribute to the social and economic well-being of 54 Canadian communities; Katimavik provided over 600 not-for-profit organizations with nearly 660 000 hours of service to benefit those communities.

Unfortunately, we suffered an unexpected blow with the March 29th federal government budget announcement. Despite strong words of support and encouragement from both the Prime Minister and the Minister of Canadian Heritage in our previous annual reports, as well as the very positive summative evaluation of our program released by Canadian Heritage mere weeks prior to the budget announcement, the clear alignment with this government’s policy aims and priorities, and the indisputable value created by Katimavik for its participants and community partners, the federal government cut its funding to Katimavik.

2012: The Relaunch

Alumni have been active in keeping Katimavik active and very much alive. The Eco-internship programs generated fantastic results for the communities and for the youth that participated.

2014: Indigenous Youth in Transition 

Katimavik works with Indigenous communities and organizations to support the development of Indigenous youth in their goal to become capable contributors to their families and communities. IYIT involves dedicated postsecondary partners and traditional cultural and language teachers.

2016: Supporting Truth and Reconciliation 

Katimavik commits to making active reconciliation an integral part of all Katimavik programming. The goal: informed and engaged Katimavik youth will become the leaders in reconciliation for future generations.

2018: Relaunch of National Experience  

Katimavik’s well-known National Experience relaunches as part of the government’s Canada Service Corps initiative. Diverse youth from across the country have the opportunity to participate in 6-month volunteer service projects, gaining valuable skills and contributing to community development.

2021: New Program Launch 

Katimavik launches new employability program, FuturePerfect, supported by the Employment and Social Development Canada. 

FuturePerfect offers youth (up to 30 years old) a vital stepping stone to a successful career by boosting their employability and professionalism while providing work experience with long-term employment potential.

2024: Brand Refresh 

Katimavik unveils a Brand Refresh and an update of its iconic logo. A new website highlights these changes, further cementing Katimavik’s legacy for
generations to come.

Our Annual Reports

Find and consult our annual reports for the last ten years.