To Build a “Strong, Fair Canada Built for Change” We Need Strong, Fair Childhoods Built for Change
Canada aspires to be an innovation nation, a focus of the commercial and social investments in Federal Budget 2017. It’s a vision to create better livelihoods and an economy that thrives in a rapidly changing world. To get there, we have to create the conditions in which our children and youth develop, learn, adapt and continue what they are great at – innovation.
Young people benefit from work experience, but they can also be exploited in the workplace. Knowing about the rules, their rights, and how to report unsafe working conditions or unfair treatment is essential for all young people. The Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children (CCRC) is asking all governments, federal and provincial, to ensure that Canada is fulfilling its duties for young people in the workplace. One step is to inform young people across the country about their rights before Canada’s ratification of International Labour Organization Convention 138 comes into effect in June 2017. High rates of workplace injuries for young people indicate a need for improvement in the area of safety. Research done by the CCRC shows that improvements are needed in all provinces to fully protect the workplace rights of young people.
A Fact sheet provides an overview of the issues and recommendations for action. A Working Paper provides analysis for each province and steps needed to fully implement the workplace-related provisions in Convention on the Rights of the Child, ILO 138, and ILO 182.
This is the first in a series of updates the CCRC is doing in 2017 to follow up on Canada’s last review under the Convention and prepare for the next review in 2018.
The Senate will begin debate on Bill S-206 this week. The bill, sponsored by Senator Murray Sinclair, will repeal Section 43 of the Criminal Code. It will protect the right of every child, as well as every adult, to not be hit by anyone. It is an important step in implementation of children’s right to be free from all forms of violence, as provided in Article 19 of the Convention on the Rights of Children.
The CCRC Open Letter to Senate on Bill S-206 addresses a number of the issues involved and the importance of this step for children’s rights in Canada.
The CCRC welcomes the next step in the development of a National Poverty Reduction Strategy. Ending child poverty should be a strong focus in the process and the final strategy. A discussion paper and on-line consultations invite input from across Canada. The deadline for consultation is June. Release of the strategy is expected in Fall, 2017.
The CCRC is working on a submission that will focus on children’s rights in relation to the proposed strategy. We also welcome your suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org
The federal government has announced that it will begin discussions with provinces and territories to adopt the optional protocol that establishes a complaint mechanism under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. When Canada ratified that Convention it excluded the provision for a complaints process.
This is good news for several reasons:
1. The rights of children with disabilities are addressed in this Convention as well. The upcoming discussions will be an opportunity to discuss implementation and mechanisms to raise issues and seek redress in Canada, as well as through the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This process could address the issues raised by the CCRC in the chapter on Children with Disabilities in the last comprehensive review of children’s rights in Canada.
2. The process and outcomes of these discussions may be useful for other aspects of implementing children’s rights in Canada.
3. The CCRC has been advocating for Canada to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Child that would provide a complaints process for children. It is on a list of international human rights advances under consideration. The government has now announced that they are moving ahead with two of the high priorities, the Convention Against Torture and the Complaints Process for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. We hope they will consider the Optional Protocol for the Convention on the Rights of the Child soon after these.