30th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child: Making Progress in Canada

On November 20 we celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and 30 years of work by the Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children (CCRC) to promote respect for children’s rights across Canada.  Recognizing children as persons with rights has made fundamental changes in the way children are viewed by society. They can no longer be treated as objects or just recipients of services; they are active participants in their own lives and in society, with the right to have their best interests and their views considered as they develop their full potential and contribute to society.

The CCRC, a national umbrella group of organizations and individuals committed to children’s rights, continues to promote awareness of children’s rights and advocate for full implementation of the Convention in Canada and globally.

Thirty years of progress in Canada has made a difference in many areas of society, including some legislative improvements and changes in practice in health care, education, and the justice system.  Thirty years of experience and evidence-based research shows that implementing children’s rights is beneficial for child development, for parents and care-givers, and for public policy.  International comparisons done by UNICEF show that children do better in countries that take implementation of their rights seriously.

Canada adopted the Convention early, with commitments made by all political parties, but lags in implementation across the country.  “After 30 years,” said Kathy Vandergrift, Chair of the Coalition, “it is time to shift from treating the Convention as a nice, aspirational document for Africa and Asia to applying it in Canada as a coherent framework for policies that affect children.  Taking the Convention seriously would make our federalist system of government work better for children.”

Canada’ record on children’s rights is currently under review through the process established in the Convention.  The CCRC is leading efforts to make this process more productive for children in Canada.   “We encourage Canadians and all levels of government to take this opportunity to learn more about children’s rights,” said Vandergrift, “and improve implementation in areas where they have influence.”

High priorities for the Coalition include: equitable treatment for First Nations, Metis, and Inuit children; doing Child Rights Impact Assessments (CRIA) for all policies that affect children; making the Convention part of Canadian law; and establishing a Children’s Commission to monitor and report regularly on how well children’s rights are implemented in Canada.

For further information, contact:

Kathy Vandergrift, Chair of the Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children, at  info@rights of children.ca.

 

Reflections on the 30th Anniversary

What difference does recognition of children’s rights make in Canada?    Read reflections by leading children’s rights advocates on progress made and priorities for the future.  The CCRC is inviting members of the children’s rights community in Canada to contribute to the conversation about implementation of children’s rights in Canada and priorities for advocacy.  For further information or to submit your thoughts, send a message to info@rightsofchildren.ca.

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