KEMPTVILLE – On Nov. 27, the Eastern Ontario OSAID (Ontario Students Against Impaired Driving) Conference was hosted in Kemptville.  Over 300 conference delegates from 19 schools in the surrounding area participated in the conference.

The OSAID Regional Conference is an excellent opportunity for young leaders of Eastern Ontario to further their peer-to-peer educative skills and knowledge and to further their awareness of the largest killer of teens: impaired driving and distracted driving. The students returned to their schools and communities with renewed commitment and, aided by the resources and information collected at the conference, will take the message about the dangers of impaired driving to young drivers with greater effect. Student participation in this conference means that Ontario youth can, on a peer-to-peer basis, fruitfully raise awareness, and educate others about the biggest killer of teens in the nation.

The conference helps youth in schools become interested in the OSAID mission and return to their schools and their communities to promote and raise awareness of the dangers of impaired driving (alcohol/drugs/distracted driving/texting and driving). It also aims to help existing OSAID chapters and promote the starting of new chapters in schools.

OSAID is a registered Canadian charity and was formed in 1987 to accommodate the growing number of secondary school students, teachers, police officers and community leaders who saw a need to inform youth about the dangers of impaired driving. An official of the Ministry of the Attorney General has proclaimed that “the number of young drivers in alcohol-related crashes has been declining faster than any other age group in Ontario….Much of the credit for the reduction in impaired driving crash and fatality rates by 16-24 year old drivers should be taken by the student-led movement in secondary schools across the province.”

“We know we can and are making a difference. The level of commitment by Ontario youth to reduce impaired driving is illustrated daily in high schools around the province.  With student participation in conferences such as this, we can educate others.  These conferences are a very valuable experience for the students participating,” said Cindy Steele of the OSAID Provincial Board of Directors in an email to The Record.

Speakers at the conference included Ian Tyson, a motivational/inspirational speaker and co-founder of Youth Leadership Camps Canada, one of Canada’s premier leadership training programs; Michel Vandal and Rob Wilkinson from Safer Roads Ottawa; Matt Evans; OSAID Executive Director; and Gregg Thomson, Past President MADD Ottawa, Past Chair MADD Canada, and current organizer of the Victims Services Unit for MADD Ottawa.