Towards a better understanding of NEET youth in Ontario

Unlocking the potential of young people who are not employed, in education or in training

About 12% of Ontario’s youth are NEET – not in employment, education or training. Until now, little research has been done on the needs, perspectives and challenges faced by youth, or the costs associated with their disconnection from school and work.

The Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services engaged Blueprint to design and undertake a research project on NEET youth to help inform the development of policy and programs to serve this population.

Blueprint surveyed more than 900 NEET youth in the province to find out about their life circumstances, attitudes, goals and challenges. We also analyzed Statistics Canada surveys, government administrative data, and conducted focus groups with youth-serving agencies. We partnered with United Way Greater Toronto to engage community agencies in the focus groups and to administer the youth survey.

We found that the fiscal costs associated with the consequences of being NEET including health care, social assistance, homelessness and crime total $1.92 billion a year. The costs associated with foregone earnings of NEET youth total $6.4billion annually. These findings highlight the significant financial impact of NEET youth for the province of Ontario, as well as for NEET youth themselves.

While we found that many NEET youth face complex challenges, there is also huge social and economic potential that could be unlocked by better addressing and preventing these challenges. Investing time, effort and resources in improved policies and programs across multiple youth-serving sectors could generate significant social and economic benefits for all Ontarians.

Read our final report

About 12% of Ontario’s youth are NEET – not in employment, education or training. Until now, little research has been done on the needs, perspectives and challenges faced by youth, or the costs associated with their disconnection from school and work.

The Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services engaged Blueprint to design and undertake a research project on NEET youth to help inform the development of policy and programs to serve this population.

Blueprint surveyed more than 900 NEET youth in the province to find out about their life circumstances, attitudes, goals and challenges. We also analyzed Statistics Canada surveys, government administrative data, and conducted focus groups with youth-serving agencies. We partnered with United Way Greater Toronto to engage community agencies in the focus groups and to administer the youth survey.

We found that the fiscal costs associated with the consequences of being NEET including health care, social assistance, homelessness and crime total $1.92 billion a year. The costs associated with foregone earnings of NEET youth total $6.4billion annually. These findings highlight the significant financial impact of NEET youth for the province of Ontario, as well as for NEET youth themselves.

While we found that many NEET youth face complex challenges, there is also huge social and economic potential that could be unlocked by better addressing and preventing these challenges. Investing time, effort and resources in improved policies and programs across multiple youth-serving sectors could generate significant social and economic benefits for all Ontarians.

Read our final report