Review of Children’s Rights in Canada

Children’s Rights in Canada:  Reports from the Field for the Review of Canada

Canada is under review for implementation of children’s rights across the country.  Alternative reports to the official government report are an important part of the process.  Young people and groups who work with children provide missing information and different perspectives on the situation of children in Canada.  The CCRC prepared an umbrella report and worked with others to encourage a wide range of reports.  Some deal with many issues.  Some deal with one specific issue.  Some describe the situation of one group of children.  Others focus of children’s rights in one part of the country.   Together these reports provide a rich resource for the review and for continuing work on children’s rights in Canada.

CCRC Alternative Report:   Close Gaps through Systemic Change: Implement Children’s Rights in Canada 

The CCRC report focuses on the need for systemic change to implement all rights for all children, and on core themes in the Convention.  The report shows that implementing previous recommendations would be of benefit for children, for Canadian society, and for governance in our federal system. Our goal is to make the review process productive in Canada.

Executive Summary of CCRC Report focuses on proposed system for implementation of children’s rights in Canada.

Supplemental Letter to CCRC Report:  This letter was submitted to explain how Canada’s experience with Covid-19, which delayed the review process, further exposed the systemic gaps for protection of children’s rights in Canada.  Canada can use the review process to make changes, as part of learning from Covid as well as fulfilling its obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Other Alternative Reports

With permission of report authors, we are posting reports to share information among those who work on children’s rights in Canada.  They are grouped on the following pages:

Reports on all rights for all children will be on the Governance for Children page.

Reports on child development, education, health, etc. will be on the Child Development page.

Reports on protecting children from harm and exploitation will be on the Protecting Children from Harm page.

Reports on specific groups of children will be found on the Vulnerable Children page.

Reports on various children’s rights in a specific province will be on the Governance for Children page.

When a report might fit under more than one page, it will be posted on both pages.

The Official Government Report

The government’s official 5th-6th report on implementation of children’s rights in Canada was filed on March 1, 2019, more than six months late.  The report provides information on some actions taken in response to the 2012 recommendations from the last review, but there are many gaps in both analysis and action.  Canada’s response to recommendations from the last review is incomplete and inadequate.

The official government report does not serve children well.   It is  important that civil society groups and citizens actively engage in the review process.   The CCRC will use the review process to work for changes that will improve the real-life situation of children in Canada.

Find the government report and CCRC initial response here.

Be Part of the Review Process

We can do better in Canada.  You can be part of the CCRC’s plan to use the review process for its intended purpose: to take stock and improve the situation for children in our country. Implementing the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Canada would benefit all children across the country.   Implementation remains weak and the official report is lame.  Children in comparable countries where the Convention is implemented fare better than children in Canada.   Children will benefit if we do better.

The CCRC is pursuing change in Canada prior to the formal review by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.  The evidence is overwhelming that the current system is not adequate to protect and fulfill the rights of children.  The status quo can no longer be defended.  We are asking governments to come with proposals for change that take seriously the recommendations made in the alternative reports and respond to the recommendations Canada received in the last review.

The formal process before the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child is delayed, but change can begin  in Canada, as we move from Covid-19 emergency response.  Covid-19 exposes the cracks in our public policies for children; learning from Covid-19 would move Canada in the direction of stronger implementation of the systemic changes recommended in previous reviews and alternative reports.

UPDATE:  The pre-session for the review of Canada by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child is now scheduled for September 28 – October 2, 2020.  This is the session where CSO reports are considered and CSO delegations are heard to inform questions that the Committee asks Canada to answer if the later session with government representatives.

The deadline for submitting information to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child is also being extended.  If you would like to submit evidence for the review or update a report submitted before March 1, you can do so.  The new deadline will be posted here as soon as it is official.

Fact Sheets on Important Issues in Canada

A series of easy-to-read fact sheets focus on important themes and issues for the review.  These are designed for discussion and distribution to build public support.

Each is linked to a working paper prepared by persons with expertise and experience in the specific areas of children’s rights.  Analysis and research documents will be shared under the four areas of the review listed below.

If you have relevant information to contribute,  please contact us at info@rightsofchildren.ca.

What are the issues in this review?

Find rights-based analysis and share your work under the following theme pages:

What can you do?   Use the review to advance your goals in the next year:

  • Use alternative reports on the CCRC website to inform your community about children’s rights issues in Canada and advocate for the recommendations in these reports.
  • Share CCRC Fact Sheets through your network to increase public awareness of children’s rights and what could be done to implement them in Canada.