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Children’s Rights could improve International Assistance Program

The CCRC has proposed a way to strengthen Canada’s international assistance program. In a submission for the current review, the CCRC proposes that the Convention on the Rights of the Child be adopted as the framework for all international assistance that impacts children, rather than being one small area of programming.   This would improve sustainability of outcomes; it would addressing governance issues as well as immediate needs; and it would provide coherence between the various parts of Canada’s international relations with other countries.   The CCRC proposes the use of Child Rights Impact Assessments as a tool to ensure that all the rights of children are considered in all aspects of programming.  See CCRC Submission for Review of International Assistance.

National Dialogue on Children’s Commissioner

For many years the CCRC has proposed establishment of a National Children’s Commissioner as a focal point for implementation of children’s rights in Canada.  The need for and benefit of such an office have been well-documented.  What we need now is a national dialogue to build consensus on the mandate and how the office would work with young people and other government agencies, such as the  provincial children’s advocates.  Organizations and individuals are asked to support and help promote a joint call to action:Joint Call to Action and Elements for Discussion re Canadian Commissioner for Children and Youth;   Appel à la concertation pour un Commissaire canadien à l’enfance et à la jeunesse.

Children’s Rights and International Assistance

The review of Canada’s international assistance program provides an opportunity to make the Convention on the Rights of the Child a comprehensive framework for policies that affect children. The benefit would be greater impact for children through coherence and integration between all aspects of program and policy.  The CCRC also proposed that a Child Rights Impact Assessment tool be used to identify impacts for children in other program areas, such as economic development and sustainability. In addition to a submission to a parliamentary committee reviewing sectoral priorities, the CCRC will make similar proposals to a more comprehensive department-led review.CCRC submission for Study of Sectoral Priorities in International Assistance final.

Evolving Capacity, Age, and Assisted Dying

Assisted Dying: Alternatives to Arbitrary Minimum Age

The government has announced that they will hold further consultations on the question of the age of eligibility in the new legal framework for assistance in dying. For now, the proposed bill includes age 18 as a minimum age requirement.

The use of arbitrary age limits in many areas of public policy raises questions under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which  respects the evolving capacity of young people to participate in making decisions about their care.  As pointed out in the CCRC submission to the parliamentary committee that studied assisted dying, this principle has been recognized in Canadian court rulings on health care, including recognition of the right of competent young people to decide to end treatment that may result in their death.  CCRC Submission on Physician-assisted Drying.

Hopefully the consultation will be based on the Convention, which Canada has ratified, and focus on what criteria and process would be reasonable in the case of assisted dying, in place of the use of an arbitrary age limit. The CCRC will continue to be engaged on this matter, as part of its mandate to work for full implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Canada.  A CCRC-sponsored symposium on the Best Interests of the Child in 2009 suggested a review of all age-based legislation to provide clear rationales based on the Convention on  the Rights of the Child.

Early Childhood Education Costs: a thought-provoking report

A new research report compares what parents contribute to the costs of early childhood education with what they contribute to post-secondary education costs.  These are two non-mandatory components of preparing children for full participation in society, but both are increasingly essential for young people.  The research shows that  “parents with children in PSE (post-secondary education) are – in most provinces, at most levels of income – asked to contribute significantly less than parents with children in ECE (early childhood education). On average, for families earning $60,000, the gap between required ECE and PSE contributions is between $4,900 and $6,250, depending on the age of the child; for families earning $100,000, the gap is between $3,800 and $7,600.

In general, parents of young children are likely to have less income in early stages of their careers and more costs associated with starting a family.  This report adds another angle to the on-going debate about how we best fulfill every child’s right to be educated.

The research,done by Higher Education Strategy Associates, is available at  http://www.childcarecanada.org/documents/research-policy-practice/16/03/what-we-ask-parents-unequal-expectations-parental-contribut