Healthy Relationships
for Youth (HRY) Program / Relations Saines pour les Jeunes (RSJ)

We are grateful to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), the Honourable Jill Balser, MLA, Nova Scotia Minister responsible for the Status of Women, and the Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women who have committed additional funding to the HRY program over the next five years. The combined $2.5 million will help: increase the number of student facilitators and participants; expand program delivery to reach the approximately 80 high schools with grade nine students across the province, engage a youth advisory committee, further enhance the curriculum, and pursue partnerships to achieve program sustainability.

Thanks to PHAC and Status of Women funding,
there is no charge to schools, facilitators, or participants.

Emily Trudeau

Healthy Relationships for Youth: CSAP Coordinator

Taeya Jones

Healthy Relationships for Youth: Provincial Coordinator

Olivia Hart

Healthy Relationships for Youth: SRCE Coordinator

Sarah Thomas

Healthy Relationships for Youth: Provincial Expansion Coordinator

The Healthy Relationships for Youth (HRY) Program is a school-based, peer-facilitated, violence prevention program offered in partnership with schools across Nova Scotia.

About the Program

The HRY Program uses a strengths-based approach that encourages students to deepen their understanding of diversity and to recognize and challenge sexism, racism, ableism, homophobia, and transphobia as forms of violence that impact personal and social relationships. It centers on youth as peer educators in their classrooms, schools, and communities. Youth-to-youth teaching is foundational to the HRY Program.

we Do

Our HRY team trains and supports students in grades 11 and 12 to facilitate a series of twelve sessions to grade 9 students with Healthy Living 9 classroom teachers. The youth facilitators learn about leadership, facilitation, and communication; skills they build on in years to come. They build their confidence in public speaking and leading, increase their knowledge of issues affecting youth, improve their personal relationships, and become more involved in social action. Participants in grade 9 learn not only about healthy relationships but are also provided with role models in their older peers.


Our participatory sessions are designed to reduce the risk of violence for youth through developing their skills and knowledge about creating and maintaining healthy relationships. Our sessions include the following:

  • Session 1: Healthy Relationships for Youth
  • Session 2: Values and Decision Making
  • Session 3: Personal and Interpersonal Relationships
  • Session 4: Consent and Personal Boundaries
  • Session 5: Communication and Conflict Resolution
  • Session 6: Diversity, Inclusion, and Privilege
  • Session 7: Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation
  • Session 8: Gender Norms and Stereotypes
  • Session 9: Social Media and Relationships
  • Session 10: Drugs, Alcohol and Decisions
  • Session 11: Power and Violence
  • Session 12: Where we are Now

Our HRY team has worked with 24 schools around Nova Scotia, 10 in the Strait Region since 2006. Each year approximately 450 youth facilitators (grade 11 and 12 students) have been trained and supported to facilitate the HRY Program to about 1200 grade 9 students. Thanks to funding from Status of Women and PHAC the HRY program is expanding to schools across the province starting in the 2024-2025 school year.

How we Work

We believe in:

  • youth-facilitated learning and being youth-centered
  • focusing on diversity for violence prevention
  • building key skills for healthy relationships
  • taking a gender analysis to program design
  • using a trauma-informed approach
  • collaborating between community organizations and schools
  • linking to Healthy Living 9 curriculum outcomes

Our HRY team develops the program by including youth voice>, teacher feedback, and emerging issues through a yearly evaluation.

Youth Voice

Youth voice is gathered in several ways:

  • Our Youth Advisory Committee meets regularly with our HRY team to share their thoughts on how the program can be improved
  • Spark the Change, our yearly youth retreat, includes focus groups and interviews to understand the different aspects of the program
  • Our HRY team often works with students in employment, volunteer, internship, and placement opportunities to update the program

What Youth Say About the Program

Awards and Honours

Best Practice Program

Featured as a Best Practice Program at the Canadian Women’s Foundation’s National Skills Institute in 2012 and a participating program in the National Teen Healthy Relationships Working Group from 2013 to 2017

Canadian Best Practice Portal

Highlighted as a Promising Practice by the Public Health Agency of Canada on their Canadian Best Practice Portal

Leadership in Crime Prevention

Received the 2013 Minister’s Award in Leadership in Crime Prevention from the Nova Scotia Department of Justice

Promising Practice

Highlighted as a Promising Practice by the Nova Scotia Child and Youth Strategy in 2014

HRY Funders: