The case of Omar Khadr shows the importance of recognizing and protecting the rights of every child. Early recognition of Khadr’s rights as a child could have prevented harm to him and the need for redress and financial compensation now. In a public statement the Canadian Coalition for the Rights of the Child (CCRC) explains the role of children’s rights in this issue from early days through the Supreme Court case to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. Judicial rulings in this case, along with cases in refugee determination and indigenous child welfare, highlight the need for the federal government to reform the mechanisms it uses to identify and protect the rights of children early in its decision-making processes.
The rights of children with disabilities received attention during the first review of how Canada implements the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Concluding Observations includes recommendations relating to: inclusive education and teacher training; services for parents so disability is not a reason to put a child in care; access to services for indigenous children with disabilities; attention to disabilities in the proposed poverty reduction strategy, and others. Several recommendations are similar to those for the Convention on the Rights of Children, including: data collection; federal-provincial cooperation; and monitoring progress. For this Convention, it is recommended that the Canadian Human Rights Commission take on the role of monitoring progress. Another area of common interest are negotiations to ratify a complaints process. The CCRC advocates for a complaints process for children’s rights as well.
Governments in Canada are starting to prepare for the next review of children’s rights and so is the CCRC. July 2018 is the deadline for Canada to submit an official report on implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Canada. A key focus is action on the recommendations Canada received in 2012. Many of the recommendations reflected proposals made by the CCRC in its alternative report.
Action on the previous recommendations will be the focus of a CCRC campaign in the fall. The first step is collecting information from young people’s organizations across the country. The CCRC is looking for information and analysis that relates to all aspects of children’s rights in Canada. This will inform the fall campaign in Canada before the official report and an alternative report for use by the UN Committee when they review Canada’s record.
Read about the CCRC plans and how to become part of this process. This is the way to hold our governments accountable for progressive realization of children’s rights across Canada. Previous reports and updates are available on the Children’s Rights Monitoring Page.
A specific focus on children and the use of multiple indicators of deprivation are recommendations made by the CCRC for Canada’s Poverty Reduction Strategy. The CCRC also recommends short-term rolling targets to measure progress, a mix of income support and community programs, and youth participation. The submission highlights the importance of food security as a missing piece in the current patchwork of new programs, and it suggests that the coherent framework of the Convention on the Rights of the Child would help to maximize benefits from the individual pieces. CCRC Submission for National Poverty Reduction Strategy.
Bill 89 in Ontario, if adopted, will give the rights of children priority in child welfare and children’s services in the province. It will provide a good example of taking children’s rights seriously in legislation that affects them. It refers to the Convention on the Rights of the Child in the preamble, extends services to 16 and 17 year-olds, and puts the best interests of the child at the centre of decision-making. Advocates have suggested amendments to strengthen child rights language throughout the bill. Read commentary by two board members in our most recent newsletter.