Children’s rights in Canada may benefit from a Ministerial Meeting on Human Rights, held on December 11, 2017. Ministers from federal, provincial, and territorial governments agreed that the current system for implementing international human rights obligations in Canada is “out-dated” and “needs modernization.” This was the first Ministerial level meeting on human rights in Canada in 30 years. Improving the implementation of human rights in Canada, including children’s rights, was the focus of the meeting.
One of the areas named for improvement in the final communique was “following up on the recommendations that Canada receives from international human rights bodies.” (English) (French) In 2018 Canada will report on how it implements children’s rights, including response to recommendations from previous reviews. This is a great opportunity for both federal and provincial/territorial governments to put into practice the commitments they made on December 11.
The CCRC was one of the human rights groups who participated in the Ministerial meeting. In a brief statement, Kathy Vandergrift, Chair of the CCRC, called on all Ministers to pay attention to the review of children’s rights because “realizing children’s rights will make federalism work better.”
The CCRC worked with other human rights organizations to put forward a unified proposal for substantive reform of the way all levels of government implement human rights in Canada. (French) We will now follow up on the specific proposals in the final communique to improve the process for the review of children’s rights that is currently underway.
The current review of how the Convention on the Rights of the Child is implemented in Canada will be a primary focus for the CCRC in 2018.