Newcomer Youth Access to Recreation in Toronto: Relationships, Resources and Relevance

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Executive Summary: Toronto is one of the top immigrant-receiving cities in the world and home to more than 65,000 newcomer youth. Supports for youth settlement in this context would be an important priority for youth serving systems, as settlement adds to the psychological and social stresses common in adolescence, making it an even more difficult period of transition and adjustment.

Participation in out-of-school-time recreational activities offers benefits to newcomer youth experiencing the challenges of settlement, including opportunities for newcomer youth to make friends and build support networks in their new country, to practice English, to maintain good health and cope with stress, and to foster leadership and employment skills.

Despite the many benefits of recreation, newcomer youth participate at much lower rates compared to their peers. According to the 2005 General Social Survey, 32% of children whose parents were recent immigrants participated in sports compared to 55% of children whose parents were born in Canada.