Company of Young Canadians

Company of Young Canadians, a short-lived voluntary agency of the government of Canada, established with a mandate to encourage social, economic and community development in Canada. Promised in 1965 and formally established in 1966, the Company of Young Canadians, or CYC, recruited young Canadians, trained them in "social animation" techniques and sent them out to work for a moderate salary on community programs across the country.

The idea was to organize the downtrodden of society whom the political process had not touched, and to enable them to demand and bring about improvements in their own lives. Some of the CYC's initiatives were successful, but the volunteers and then the company became caught up in the political ferment that characterized the 1960s. Many of its members embarrassed the government with their separatist and Marxist views.

Although the company was intended to operate with a high degree of autonomy, the government felt constrained to impose controls, resulting in friction between volunteers in the field and the head office in Ottawa, and between government-appointed councillors and radical volunteers. The company's autonomy was terminated in 1969, but the organization lingered until abolished during a government economy drive in 1976.