Youth Advisory Council

​​​​​The Library and Archives Canada (LAC) Youth Advisory Council (YAC) guides LAC on how youth view, access and relate to Canada's documentary heritage.

The 2021–2022 LAC YAC cohort is made up of 18 students and young professionals aged 19 to 25, from all regions of the country and with different backgrounds and life experiences.

YAC members discuss a variety of topics related to Canada's documentary heritage and contribute to LAC management decisions by providing fresh perspectives and innovative ideas. Past topics discussed by the YAC include special events, social media, podcasts, crowdsourcing, physical facilities, public programming, and adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Group photo: Youth Advisory Council

Youth Advisory Council: September 2021 to June 2022 cohort

Top row, from left to right: Donia Arfaoui, Anna McAllister, Cameron Lamb, Tiffany Chénier, Christopher Richmond-Krahn, and Emily Tang.

Middle row, from left to right: Matthew Koristka, Holly Johnstone, Ilona Krasnova, Erick Pelayo Aubert, Karmel Gervais, and Kaitlin Bird.

Bottom row, from left to right: Erin MacKinnon, Robert DiGiovanni, Sarah Ham, Jenna Green, Shannon Sartor, and Zeo Li.

The 2021–2022 LAC Youth Advisory Council members are:

  • Donia Arfaoui

    Donia Arfaoui is studying Business Administration at HEC Montréal. She has been involved with various community organizations for many years. She represented the Forum Jeunesse de Saint-Michel at the public consultations of the Office de consultation publique de Montréal's Commission on Systemic Racism and Discrimination. Donia also participated in the National Poverty Conference in Ottawa in 2017, where she presented her ideas on reducing poverty in Canada. She is also a refugee rights ambassador for the United Nations Refugee Agency and the Forum Jeunesse de Saint-Michel.

  • Kaitlin Bird

    Kaitlin Bird is a Nîhithaw Iskwew who grew up in and currently lives on her home reserve of Montreal Lake Cree Nation. She is studying at the University of Saskatchewan for an Arts and Science degree, with a major in Political Studies. Her Indigenous teachings have encouraged her interest in history and preserving history, especially her own people's history. In her spare time, she enjoys oil painting, reading, gardening and living her culture.

  • Robert DiGiovanni

    Born and raised in Vaughan, Ontario, Robert DiGiovanni believes in innovative and future-oriented public policy making. He is a fourth-year student at York University, where he studies Political Science and Public Administration. Robert has experience working in the Ontario Public Service, having interned in various ministries over the past three summers. Upon completion of his academic studies, he hopes to pursue a career in the field of public policy. Robert is excited to have the opportunity to join the LAC Youth Advisory Council.

  • Sarah Ham

    Sarah Ham is a student at Carleton University, majoring in English and History, and minoring in Greek and Roman Studies. It should therefore come as no surprise that they enjoy reading, writing, and engaging with history and literature in various forms. Sarah is also a former member of Ottawa Public Library's Teen Advisory Group (TAG), where they spent four years helping to organize library events from book nights to art competitions.

  • Holly Johnstone

    Holly Johnstone was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, but now splits her time living between Victoria, British Columbia, and Toronto, Ontario, where she attends school at the University of Toronto. While completing her degree in History and Ethics, Holly actively participates in campus life as a member of student government, a barista at a student-run fair-trade campus café, a registered mentor for first- and second-year students, and a copy editor for a campus newspaper. Holly is passionate about women's social history, grassroots movements, tea, and dogs of all shapes and sizes.

  • Matthew Koristka

    Born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Matthew Koristka is in his final year at the University of Waterloo in the Knowledge Integration program, with a minor in Anthropology, and continued interests in palliative care, biology and the national honours system. An ardent believer in helping others, he has volunteered with numerous organizations including Calgary Reads, a not-for-profit aimed at sparking an interest in reading in Calgary's kids, and as a White Hat Volunteer at YYC Calgary International Airport. In his spare time, Matthew enjoys travelling, swimming, and spending time with family and friends.

  • Ilona Krasnova

    Originally from Minsk, Belarus, Ilona Krasnova immigrated to Canada with her family at the age of three. She is an aspiring librarian and archivist studying Information Resource Management at Carleton University. Ilona finds beauty in logic, and she is driven by her commitment to make sense of the world through championing information organization and accessibility. Ilona has a passion for languages and is fluent in English, French and Russian. In her spare time, she enjoys making textile art for her friends and reading speculative fiction in the company of her two calico cats, Clementine and Soleil.

  • Cameron Lamb

    Born and raised in the lower mainland of British Columbia, Cameron Lamb has always valued nature and the ocean. Following a move to Vancouver Island, he found himself in Ottawa, driven by a passion for human rights and activism. After graduating from Carleton University with a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in Law and Legal Studies, and a minor in History, Cameron has been working toward attending law school and continues to pursue his activist work. In his spare time, he enjoys playing sports, practicing photography and scoping out the best sushi restaurants.

  • Zeo Li

    Ziyang (Zeo) Li is studying for a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at the University of Regina, as well as a Certificate of Non-Profit Organization Management. He works with his team members from the University of Regina Students' Union (URSU) to carry out campaigns and programs that benefit students. With a keen interest in food security for students at the University of Regina, Zeo helped to expand the URSU Cares Pantry and volunteered at the Regina Public Interest Research Group's Green Patch.

  • Erin MacKinnon

    Erin MacKinnon is currently the Library Clerk at the Early Years Community Development Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where she is delighted to combine her passions for libraries and children’s media. Erin received a Bachelor of Arts in English from St. Francis Xavier University in 2019 and a Diploma in Library and Information Technology from the Nova Scotia Community College in 2020. She is excited to continue working with LAC and other library loving youth from across the country.​​

  • Anna McAllister

    Anna McAllister is currently in the graduating year of her bilingual Joint Honours Bachelor of History and Political Science at the University of Ottawa. During her undergraduate studies, Anna had the privilege of serving as a page in the Senate of Canada for three years. Through her time as a page and her studies in history, Anna developed a passion for contemporary Canadian history and a deep appreciation for the work of archivists and librarians who preserve our country's stories.

  • Christopher Richmond-Krahn

    Born in northern Alberta, Christopher Richmond-Krahn headed south to pursue a growing interest in English and history. He attained a Bachelor's degree in English from the University of Lethbridge. Christopher wishes to begin working in the non-profit sector one day, as he has a strong desire to help people. He believes that the LAC Youth Advisory Council will be the next step in pursuing that goal because of the previous work that the council has strived to complete. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking, playing video games and spending time in nature.

  • Shannon Sartor

    Shannon Sartor is a fourth-year International Bachelor of Arts student at Memorial University of Newfoundland. She is majoring in both English and French and plans to pursue a Bachelor in Education after completing her undergrad. Aside from her obvious interests, Shannon also enjoys history, exercising, travelling (when safe to do so!) and spending time with animals.

  • Emily Tang

    Emily Tang was born in China, but she grew up in Toronto, Ontario, and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. She is currently studying Kinesiology at the University of Saskatchewan. She is passionate about Canadian law, equal access to quality healthcare and destigmatizing mental illness. She is a member of the National Youth Advisory Council with the Mood Disorders Society of Canada, volunteers with non-profits, is a Peer Mentor and the Vice-President of Communications on the Health Sciences Students' Association at USask. Emily is ecstatic to be learning alongside mentors and like-minded youth across Canada!

  • Tiffany Chénier

    Born in Montréal, Tiffany Chénier has a bachelor's degree in Honours History from McGill University and is currently pursuing her master's degree in Eastern Canadian History at the University of New Brunswick. Having worked for various archives in Québec, and now the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick, she hopes to utilise her time on the Youth Advisory Council to continue making archives more accessible to the public.

  • Karmel Gervais

    Karmel Gervais is currently pursuing her master's degree in Information Sciences at the University of Ottawa. She is presently an intern at Indigenous Services Canada in the Archives and Genealogy Division. Karmel has a bachelor's degree with a major in History and a minor in Museology and Heritage from the Université du Québec en Outaouais. With a keen interest in history, she sees herself in the future working with historical documents and helping people who wish to further their knowledge. In her free time, Karmel loves to horseback ride, read, listen to music and visit museums.

  • Jenna Green

    Born and raised in New Brunswick, Jenna Green stayed in her home province to pursue a Bachelor of Arts at Mount Allison University. With a major in Canadian Studies and a double minor in French and Politics, Jenna hopes to pursue a Master of Information to fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming a librarian. As a public library enthusiast, Jenna is especially interested in Children's and Youth Services, and has recently taken an interest in archives and special collections. Jenna currently works as a Technical Services and Special Collections student assistant at Mount Allison's R.P. Bell Library and is also a Teaching Assistant in the Canadian Studies department.

  • Erick Pelayo Aubert

    Erick Pelayo Aubert is a finishing student in Political Science and Development at McGill University, in the traditional territory of the Kanien'kehà:ka. After immigrating to Canada from Mexico, Erick realized the importance of advocacy and works to shed light on issues of immigration, identity and youth. Erick is currently employed by the Canadian Council for Youth Prosperity and wishes to pursue a career in public service to amplify the voices of youth, Latino immigrants, and LGBTQ2+ individuals. In his free time, Erick loves dancing, going out for karaoke, spending quality time with friends, and learning new languages.

Frequently asked questions

  • Do members need to have an educational background in history, libraries or archives?

    Everyone is welcome to apply regardless of educational or professional background. We are looking to create a council with diverse backgrounds and experiences. YAC members have discussed a range of topics, such as social media, searching the LAC collection online, the visitor experience at our facility at 395 Wellington, public events at LAC, and documenting the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Do members have to be bilingual to be part of the YAC?

    Members need to be able to speak only one official language. All youth council documents and presentations are available in French and English.

  • Do members have to be Canadian in order to apply?

    YAC participation is open to permanent residents and Canadian citizens.

  • How do you select Youth Advisory Council members?

    Members are selected on the basis of their online application, reference checks, and a virtual interview by phone or videoconference.

  • How are the meetings conducted?

    Meetings take place virtually, via Zoom.

  • How often does the Youth Advisory Council meet?

    Meetings take place once a month, on a Thursday evening, for 1.5 to 2 hours.

Contact us

For more information on the LAC YAC, please contact us at bac.jeunesse-youth.lac@canada.ca.

Related link

Learn about other Government of Canada youth programs and services

Former members

Find out about previous YAC cohorts.

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