The YMCAs of Québec is a registered charity whose mission is to inspire and mobilize each person to achieve their full potential, to thrive, and to contribute to their community.
Founded in 1999, the YMCA Alternative Suspension Program supports secondary-level students who have been temporarily dismissed from the school setting. Through a 3-5 day offsite program conducted by the YMCA, students build autonomy and self-esteem through support with schoolwork, group workshops, and individual counselling.
The YMCAs of Quebec’s Alternative Suspension (AS) Social Impact Bond (SIB) is Canada's first national community safety SIB. AS works to decrease school dropout rates among at-risk youth aged 12-17 by reducing incidences of repeated suspensions. Funded by Public Safety Canada (PSC), this SIB enables the YMCAs of Québec, and their partner YMCAs in communities across Canada, to enroll an additional 1,677 youth in the Alternative Suspension program. As an outcomes-based funding agreement, investors provide upfront capital for the AS program, and the outcomes payer, PSC, commits to making payments to investors if the agreed-upon outcomes are achieved.
As the YMCA Alternative Suspension program recently celebrated its twentieth anniversary, its achievements have been recognized by the awarding of an honorary YMCA Peace Medal in October 2019. Moreover, its development team has also received multiple awards, such as the YMCA Innovation prize.
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, the YMCAs of Quebec adapted the original work plan and structure of the Alternative Suspension SIB. As a result, all ten program sites were integrated into a single launch phase in September 2021. The program will now be operational in all locations for a total of three school years: 2021-2022, 2022-2023, and 2023-2024, with 1,547 expected participants in the program.