Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

X-Chem Outreach receives CanCode funding through Actua to expand digital programming for youth

January 22nd, 2018
Participants enjoying a previous X-Chem camp

Today Actua, the national organization that represents X-Chem Outreach at St. Francis Xavier University, was named the largest recipient of funding from the Government of Canada’s new CanCode program.

CanCode is a $50 million fund, announced in the federal budget 2017, supporting the development of coding and digital skills for youth across Canada.

As a network member of Actua, X-Chem Outreach is pleased to be receiving a portion of Actua’s CanCode funding. This funding will go towards scaling up X-Chem Outreach’s community programming to reach even more youth in Antigonish and surrounding communities with inspiring, hands-on coding and digital skills experiences.

“This $40,000 grant will be invested in equipment and leaders and will allow us to deliver coding experiences, free of charge, to an increased number of youth in our local communities,” said Dr. Truis Smith-Palmer, StFX chemistry professor and one of the directors of X-Chem Outreach.

X-Chem Outreach is one of 35 network members receiving CanCode funding through Actua and will work with colleagues across the network to develop and exchange content that will help inspire Canada’s next generation of innovators.

“We are honoured to be a recipient of CanCode funding and thrilled to provide additional support to X-Chem Outreach to engage more youth in building digital skills,”  said Jennifer Flanagan, President and CEO of Actua. “This support means that thousands more youth in Antigonish and surrounding communities will have the opportunity to access free, deep-impact, face-to-face learning experiences which are critical to their future success and our future Canadian workforce.”

Actua’s 35 network members will reach 500,000 youth and over 10,000 teachers across every province and territory with CanCode funding.

About X-Chem Outreach: X-Chem Outreach promotes hands-on chemistry, science and coding in Antigonish and surrounding communities (within one-two hour drive), and engages many underrepresented youth. Workshops are presented at schools in May and June, camps are held at various locations in July and August, and workshops are held at StFX on Saturday afternoons during term time. Professors, students and staff from science, engineering and computer science and education contribute their expertise.

About Actua: Actua is Canada’s leading science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) youth outreach network representing 35 university and college based members. Each year 250,000 young Canadians in over 500 communities nationwide are inspired through hands-on educational workshops, camps and community outreach initiatives. Actua focuses on the engagement of underrepresented youth through specialized programs for Indigenous youth, girls and young women, at-risk youth and youth living in Northern and remote communities. Actua’s major funders include: Government of Canada, Google Canada, Suncor Energy Foundation, GE Canada, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Ontario Trillium Foundation, Finning, Toyota Canada Foundation and Lockheed Martin. For more information about Actua, visit

About CanCode: The CanCode program will invest $50 million over two years, starting in 2017-18, to support initiatives providing educational opportunities for coding and digital skills development to Canadian youth from kindergarten to grade 12 (K-12). The program aims to equip youth, including traditionally underrepresented groups, with the skills and study incentives they need to be prepared for the jobs of today and the future. Canada's success in the digital economy depends on leveraging our diverse talent and providing opportunity for all to participate—investing in digital skills development will help to achieve this.

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