Illustration by Stephanie Aleluya

The voices of many Canadians have been heard throughout this pandemic: health professionals, scientists, politicians, media personalities and private citizens. Yet, there is one group whose stories have not been told, and whose perspectives have not been sought – our youth. This despite the fact that they will be forced to deal with the long-term and lasting consequences of the pandemic.

This project highlights how the pandemic has affected youth from various communities, in their own words. It is imperative that we learn and understand their needs, which can then inform the public at large as well as policy-makers on how to foster positive environments for growth now and in the future.

In Their Own Words
by Umayangga Yogalingam

Academics, researchers, educators and politicians have all voiced their opinions and observations about how the pandemic has wreaked havoc on children and youths’ health and well-being. Missing from the conversation? The kids.

In Their Own Words
by Stacie Smith

Preparing to graduate from Dalhousie University last spring was an extremely stressful time of uncertainty for me; classes were switched online quickly and the fear of not being able to graduate on time was a reality.

In Their Own Words
by Mathankki Ramasamy

Food insecurity among post-secondary students is not new, nor has it been caused by the pandemic. Rather, it has been a severe issue in Canada for quite a while. The image of the starving student has, in fact, been romanticized for decades.

Canadian Youth COVID-19 Experiences


Grade 9
Airdrie, Alberta

Gavin Sanness

Grade 12

Mackenzie Cooper

Grade 10

Mackenzie Campbell (they/them)

Treaty Six Territory, Saskatchewan


In Their Own Words
by Keren Vince

Who knew I would miss the simple smile of a stranger walking by me at the grocery store. Who knew I would miss that snarky side-eye by a random person judging me as I walked past them at the mall. Who knew I would miss those little kids who would stick their tongues out at me and giggle. I didn’t.

In Their Own Words
by Sean Chen

While news reports blared the newest case counts and the lives lost, I was trying to gain traction in the ever-deteriorating and demanding world of online learning. From “you’re muted” to “sorry, my wifi cut out,” I realized that this was the new “normal.” With no recovery in sight, I realized the things I missed the most, were the ones I cherished the least.

In Their Own Words
by Olivia Barbosa

I now look back at COVID and look at it in a more positive light. I reconnected with some old friends of mine that I would've never stayed in contact with, my mental health improved and I learned a lot about myself. I now appreciate the little things a lot more.

Katie Yu

Inuksuk High School – Grade 10, Iqaluit, Nunavut

In Their Own Words
by Nivriti Bajwa

Spring’s the season, but grey’s the hue, / It feels like animals trapped in a zoo! / Stuck in our homes just like glue, / We shall live through history, who knew?

In Their Own Words
by Mackenzie Campbell

It’s been over 500 days since I held someone and not just someone; anyone / this world filled with change / and I'm having a hard time catching up / faces behind masks hiding away from the pain of our reality yet we grow older / grow bolder / and grow in our separate ways without growing apart


Anne Jiao

In Their Own Words
by Meena

I took this time to realize what self-care actually is. From the beginning of the pandemic all the way until September 2020, I grew as a person. Being away from people allowed me to focus on myself. Since I barely had anything to do, I picked up a handful of different hobbies, which before I could never see myself doing.

In Their Own Words
by Chloe Fabalena

When asking adults about the best years of their lives, I bet they don't bring up their marks in chemistry, but the memories, mistakes and friends they made during the times they weren’t studying for that upcoming trig 2 test. The best years of their lives are the years that me and my fellow seniors will never get back.

In Their Own Words
by Craig Kazakoff

Because we are into two years of this pandemic and I'm so on the verge of losing my cool I can't contain it any longer and I bet you would all agree with me because you want this all to end.

In Their Own Words
by Gabriel Dobson

While COVID has progressed we have had the need to wear masks to slow or prevent the spread of COVID. The good thing about this is that while wearing a mask no one expects me to show emotions so I can just sit there in silence.

Madalina Oprea

Citadel High School – Grade 12, Halifax, Nova Scotia


Gurneet Dhami

Mount Saint Vincent University - Masters of Nutrition, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Project Lead, Creative Director – Lia Mattacchione

Project Co-Lead – Umayangga Yogalingam

For media inquiries about this project please contact Lia at