YMCA Canada

Canada – National Council of YMCAs

Date of foundation of the YMCA: 1851
Membership Status: Full
Full member of the World Alliance of YMCAs since: 1855

Brief YMCA History

YMCA Canada is a federation of the YMCAs and YMCA-YWCAs in Canada. The first Canadian YMCA was founded in 1851 in Montréal, Canada. By 1900, 36 Associations had been founded and were actively providing programming to communities across Canada.

The purpose of the national office of YMCA Canada is to support local Associations in the achievement of their mission. Canadian YMCAs deliver a comprehensive range of educational, social and recreational services to people of all ages, walks of life, cultural backgrounds and religions. These services include programs in the areas of health, fitness and recreation leadership development, child care, community development, adult education, employment training and counseling, camping and environmental education, housing and shelters, refugee and immigrant settlement and international development and global education.

Services to Member Associations
While the principle of local autonomy and independence is a bedrock principle of the YMCA, since the formation of YMCA Canada as the national body in 1912, it has been recognized that YMCAs can achieve many goals through collective action and collaboration.

YMCA Canada provides member Associations with advice, assistance, and best practices in the areas of public policy, knowledge management, human resources and leadership development, program development and facility management. Leading-edge program and management resources are accessible on-line through an e-library or may be ordered.

Through an established nationwide collaborative system there is a service delivery model that provides professional and technical assistance to the 53 local YMCAs and YMCA-YWCAs. Services that Associations may arrange for include training and development for board members and senior management; assistance with the CEO selection process; and advice and assistance with the development of specific programs, including an International partnership.

Organizational Structure
The National Council of YMCAs is composed of two representatives from each local Association. The Council elects a volunteer National Board that recommends principle policy directions for YMCA Canada and guides the implementation of the policy initiatives identified by member Associations. A volunteer who has served at the local level may be nominated as a director of the National Board, and directors are elected to serve a three-year term of office. As YMCA volunteers come from a wide variety of professional and social service backgrounds, the composition of the National Board reflects this diversity of occupational backgrounds and experiences.

Main Programmes

The YMCA in Canada is a charity that provides health, education and social services, contributing to the mix of public, private and charitable programs and facilities available to Canadians. YMCA programs are responses to community needs.

The YMCA’s program areas are:
Camping – Through 28 resident camps and literally hundreds of day camps, children find fun, adventure, and skill building opportunities in a natural environment; environmental education is a key component of these programs.

Childcare – The YMCA is Canada’s largest provider of non-profit child care and offers affordable care for children through our centres, home-based care networks, and workplace sites.

Employment Counselling and Training – Many YMCAs offer small business start-up, job search support, literacy training, academic upgrading, mentoring, vocational assessment and other services to help with school-work transitions.

Health Promotion – An annual YMCA membership is the anchor of a healthy lifestyle. At the YMCA, members and participants pursue a physical activity or sport that provides them with lifetime of relaxation, pleasure and health benefits. Other programs are aimed at helping people recover from injury or illness and deal with physical limitations.

International Development – Canadian YMCAs are partnered with YMCAs in almost 30 countries to exchange human, financial and technical resources and organize a range of public engagement programs, including the commemoration of YMCA World Peace Week each November.

Outreach – Refugee and immigrant settlement services, language assessment and instruction, information/referral services, substance abuse intervention services, shelters and youth drop-in centres are among the YMCA’s community development initiatives.

Short-term Accommodation – YMCAs in 11 cities offer affordable, centrally-located accommodation for various purposes, including support for people in transition, travellers and newcomers.

Recreation – Most YMCAs organize aquatics, basketball and other sports leagues, dance, art, and music classes, as well as a range of special interest activities for all ages.

Mission Statement

The YMCA in Canada is dedicated to the growth of all persons in spirit, mind and body, and in a sense of responsibility to each other and the global community.

(Adopted 1970, Amended 1995)

YMCA Canada fosters and stimulates the development of strong member associations and to advocate on their behalf regionally, nationally, and internationally.

Guiding Principles

YMCA Canada is:

Ethical & Accountable – as it upholds the federation’s values, constitution and by-laws while being transparent and trusted.

Collaborative – in that it supports and acts in concert with the aspirations and expectations of member associations.

Open & Responsive – by welcoming ideas, encouraging dialogue and taking a leadership role in response to member associations’ needs.
Proactive – by advancing and protecting the interests of member associations and leveraging their work for maximum impact.

Federation Strategic Plan
Through a collaborative development process, a federation strategic plan was approved at the 2011 YMCA Canada Annual General Meeting. Canada’s YMCAs are uniquely positioned to be a powerful force for lasting change in the lives of millions of individuals and thousands of communities. This plan will assist YMCAs in Canada to strengthening the foundations of community. Key priorities of the 2011 to 2016 plan are:

–    Nurturing the potential of children, teens, and young adults
–    Promoting healthy living
–    Fostering social responsibility

Address National Office

YMCA Canada
CEO, Peter Dinsdale
1867 Yonge Street, Suite 601
Toronto ON M4S 1Y5

Phone  (416) 967-9622
Fax  (416) 967-9618


YMCA Location in Canada

On-line presence