Youth Leadership Initiative.

Youth Leadership Initiative 

Future Leaders shaping the Future Workplace .

Did you know that post-secondary students with disabilities experience greater difficulties with gaining employment in comparison to their peers, and typically have higher unemployment and underemployment rates? 

The Disability Foundation’s Youth Leadership Initiative empowers youth with disabilities to lead a national three-year project to identify and articulate often overlooked attitudinal barriers to transitioning from studies to the workplace, as well as producing a solution to help break down those barriers. This project is run by a diverse group of young paid interns including those with disabilities who are working together to perform research and identify barriers, brainstorm solutions, and create a multimedia toolkit to support employers and post-secondary students with disabilities in the job seeking process. 

We are proud to have partnered with Royal Roads University for this project, who will be providing a Leadership Foundations program and peer mentorship in a Community of Practice. 

Read our Press Release

How can you help?

Are you between the ages of 17 to 29 and living with a disability in Canada? 

Take the Survey

Your voice matters! The Youth with Disabilities and Employment survey is still open for submission. Share your employment story in this short survey.

Let’s shape our future workplaces together!

Thank you for your participation!

What’s Coming Next?

Volunteer Opportunity!

In addition to taking the survey, you can also join our focus group if you have more to share about getting employment in Canada. Contact Serena Bains or stay tuned on our social media for more information.

About Our Logo 

It is a symbol of youthfulness and momentum. 

If we view ourselves as colours, we all start off as primary before finding ourselves and transforming into our secondary colour. The figures in the logo are moving forward, full speed ahead with their fists in the air, and ready to take on the world as a team! 

We believe our logo reflects our courage to make an impact and our commitment to grow through challenges. And these cannot be achieved without your support. Let’s shape our inclusive workplaces together! 


Meet our YLI Team!
Learn about how this project helps develop our interns as future leaders. 
Everything you need to know about the YLI
What is the YLI? What inspired us to start this research project? What are the progress & next steps? 
Learn about the YLI project in this 5-minute video.

Our results so far

Here’s what Canadians aged 17-29 have to say about their employment journeys so far.

Meet Our Team

headshot of Alice Pan

Alice Pan

Having completed a Bachelor of Commerce with a major in Marketing and gaining work experience in the import/export industry, Alice is applying her diverse skills to her role as a Youth Leadership Initiative Coordinator at the Disability Foundation. As a compassionate and reliable person with a disability, she is committed to serve the youth community and promote diversity, inclusion and accessibility. Curious by nature, Alice enjoys travelling and learning about different cultures and history. By discovering the uniqueness of each destination, she is able to broaden her horizons and understand that “there’s no one way to live life”. 


Serena Bains posing in her graduation gown.

Serena Bains 

Serena is a Youth Leadership Initiative Coordinator with the Disability Foundation and a fourth-year Health Sciences student at SFU in the Population and Quantitative sciences stream. She is passionate about disability justice and supporting marginalized communities to receive the resources and rights they deserve. Serena’s interests include politics, painting and playing softball. She is excited to work with the Disability Foundation to further the vision of empowering and inspiring people with physical disabilities to re-imagine what is possible. 


Max Muratov outside smiling.

Max Muratov 

Max is the Head Researcher of the Youth Leadership Initiative, and he is also a graduate student from SFU in the political science program. Max’s interests include, soccer, reading, and movies. This project is a great opportunity to apply the research skills that he learned in university, and it is an opportunity to make a valuable contribution. Overall, he is excited to be working alongside such a diverse and talented team. 


Jaiah Howe

Jaiah is one of the Youth Leadership Initiative Coordinators with the Disability Foundation. She is an ongoing Bachelors of Sociology candidate at York University as well as a first-year Assaulted Women & Children Counsellor/Advocate student at George Brown College. Jaiah is passionate about the intersections of reproductive & disability justice and supporting marginalized communities to receive the resources and rights they deserve for family planning. Her interests include research, birthwork and politics. She is excited to work with the Disability Foundation to further the vision of empowering and supporting people with disabilities to re-imagine what is possible!


Joshua Cabecinha-Alati  

Josh is our newest Youth Leadership Initiative Coordinator with the Disability Foundation. As a graduate from the University of Toronto with a double major in Political Science and Disability Studies, he has worked to support at risk youth and community members, previously working in the political sector. In his free time Josh enjoys reading, family time and practicing Muay Thai and boxing. Passionate about disability equity and social rights activism, Josh is looking forward to working in tandem with the Disability Foundation and YLI team to support and provide engaging opportunities for people with disabilities in Canada.