Canmore Young Adult Network (CYAN) is an organization led by young adults for young adults. CYAN’s mission is to strengthen Canmore by connecting young adults (18 to 35) with each other and local resources while empowering young adult voices in our community. Our organization was set up in 2017, to help young adults connect to local resources and engage with their community. Given Canmore’s reputation as a mountain town, it attracts many new, young workers.
However, in Canmore, based on CYAN’s 2020 annual survey, 65% of respondents do not expect to stay in Canmore beyond 7 years, and one of the contributing factors to this is due to the high cost of living. Canmore faces one of the highest cost of livings in Canada, according to a 2017 price index from the government of Alberta. (Average house price is over $1M), and a one-bedroom in a shared apartment costs approximately $1000/month. Per the Town of Canmore website on August 30, 2021, the Living Wage in Canmore jumped from 22.76 per hour in 2017 to 30.97 per hour in 2020 (https://canmore.ca/town-hall/community-statistics/local-economy). Yet many young adults who move to Canmore are employed in low paying hospitality and service industry positions.
This difficult situation was made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic which hit young adults disproportionally. CYAN’s 2020 COVID-19 survey found that 65% of young adults were either laid off, had reduced working hours, or were already unemployed. In the same survey, young adults identified that they need support with social connection (33%), mental health (30%), employment (27.5%) and financial security (22.5%).
Our organization seeks to address these socioeconomic programs by providing affordable programming, including programming that amplifies young adult voices, therefore building a more inclusive community and investing in Canmore’s future by investing in its young adults. CYAN’s work is crucial and impactful, particularly as Alberta reopens.