Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

February 18, 2002

Growing up male in Canada topic of conference

The reasons growing up male in Canada is becoming increasingly dangerous and distressing is the topic of a two-day conference in Toronto March 4 and 5, sponsored by the Kids Help Phone, Central Toronto Youth Services, and the University of Guelph's Office of Opening Learning.

"Canadian Boys: Untold Stories" will be held at the Toronto Colony Hotel from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Conference participants will hear young men from across Canada tell their stories, including experiences in schools, prisons and the child welfare system. Keynote addresses will be presented by Fred Mathews, conference co-chair and director of research at Central Toronto Youth Services, and Guy L'Heureux, founder of the Edmonton-based Canadian Male Survivors of Child Abuse Resource Centre. Mathews will speak at 10:30 a.m. March 4 on

"Invisible Boys," exploring the cultural myths and stereotypes that leave men and young boys vulnerable. L'Heureux will speak at 9:30 a.m. March 5 on "A Place at the Table: A Male Victim's Journey," on the ongoing search for healing, social justice and compassion. Other conference topics include: the price we pay for shaming little boys, the use of boys in pornography, males in the criminal justice system, substance abuse and sexual violence.

"We have been slow to acknowledge that boys are facing extraordinary challenges today," Mathews said. "Tragically, and at great cost to male children and youth, we have also been negligent to speak plainly and openly about their predicament. The time has come for us to speak about boys and young men's lives -- in all their diversity-- and respond with compassion."

Highlights of the conference include:

March 4:

  • 9 a.m. "Growing up Male in Canada," panel discussion featuring a group of young males who are telling their individual, diverse stories.

  • 11:30 a.m. "The Price We Pay for Shaming Little Boys," a perspective on the social consequences of shaming and maltreating male children.

  • 1:30 and 2:15 p.m., "Male Youth in Care, " and "Male Youth in the Criminal Justice System," a look at the harmful effects of jails and other institutional settings on young people.

  • 3:30 p.m., "Compounding the Harm to Gay Male Victims of Sexual Violence," how people make judgements about sexual assault cases involving males.

March 5:

  • 8:30 a.m., "Minority Male Youth Tell Their Stories," panel discussion featuring young minority males and their views on what needs to be done to create more just and caring responses to their needs.

  • 11 a.m., "Street Involved Male Youth," a look at the male street sex trade.

  • 11:45 a.m., "The Sexual Abuse of Boys and the Use of Boys in Pornography," a discussion of the poorly understood area of sexual exploitation.

  • 1:45 p.m. "Teen Fathers," a young father of two daughters tells of his personal journey towards becoming an adult male and to fatherhood.

  • 2:30 p.m., "Young Males and Substance Abuse," the impact of substance use on personal, social and family relationships.

Full conference details are available at:

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs, 519-824-4120, Ext. 3338.

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