Child Development: Early Childhood, Education, Health

Alternative Reports for the 5th/6th Review of Children’s Rights in Canada

Right to Develop Full Potential: End Child Poverty in Canada:  Report by Canada Without Poverty,Campaign 2000, and Citizens for Public Justice

This report provides an analysis of barriers to realizing children’s right to full development, caused by poverty.  It provides useful information about the Federal Poverty Reduction Strategy, provincial social assistance rates, food security, housing, and other factors that impact child development.  It makes recommendations to fulfill the right of children to have access to adequate resources for full development.  It was prepared for the 5th/6th review of children’s rights in Canada.

Comprehensive Sexuality Education:  Report by Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights

This report provides an in-depth analysis of access to comprehensive sexuality education across Canada,  the violations of children’s rights, the harmful imparts for children,  and recommendations to fulfill children’s right to access quality information.

Right to Housing for Youth at Risk of Homelessness:

DUTY TO ASSIST: Accelerating Canada’s Obligations Under General Comment No. 21:  Report by A Way Home Canada for the 5th/6th review

This report provides an analysis of the factors that contribute to youth homelessness in Canada and how it could be prevented.

It introduces the Duty to Assist, a child rights principle that could make a big difference for the prevention of youth homelessness in Canada.

Access to Sufficient, Safe, and Nutritious Food

More than a million children in Canada do not have adequate access to nutritious food.  This submission, prepared by the Center for Health Science and the Law, provides an analysis of how Canada has implemented children’s right to food, supported by research studies, and suggests several steps to address key issues in Canada.  It is posted here with permission.

In addition, Canada has failed to implement commitments made to encourage the use of breastmilk for infant-feeding in hospitals and homes. For more information, read about the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, prepared by the Breastfeeding Committee of Canada.

The Right to Play:

UNCRC Article 31: A Focus on Play in Canada is the title of a report submitted by the International Play Association of Canada.  It identifies barriers for children to exercise their right to play in Canada and recommends actions that various levels of government need to take to allow children to exercise the important right to play, which is essential for the healthy development of children.

Climate Change and Children’s Rights:

The impact of Canada’s actions and failures to act on climate change for children’s rights is the focus of a joint submission by Justice for Girls, David Suzuki Foundation,
Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action, Greenpeace Canada, and Just Planet.

An appendix to the submission on climate change and children’s rights is a copy of a statement of claim by some Canadian children filed in the Federal Court of Canada with regard to the failure to protect their rights from the impacts of climate change.

The Best Interests of Children Brought to Canada to be trained as Buddhist Monks: A report that applies children’s rights in a particular situation in P.E.I.

This report asks questions about the responsibility of both federal and provincial governments to protect the rights and best interests of students who are brought to Canada to be trained as Buddhist Monks.

Research Reports

Early Childhood Learning and Care:  Equitable Access and Children’s Rights

The following reports provide helpful research and analysis of the current situation in Canada with regard to early childhood learning and care:

Drawing on these research documents, a CCRC Fact Sheet provides a children’s rights perspective that highlights equitable access and the incorporation of children’s rights into current policy and programs.

Mental Health and Children’s Rights

Mental health is named by young people as a high priority for improvement in Canada.  Mental Health and Children’s Rights: A Working Paper identifies key issues, relates them to articles in the Convention, analyses how Canada acted on recommendations in the last review, and names actions that should be taken before the current review is complete.

Right to a Home: Preventing Youth Homelessness

Implementing children’s rights would help to prevent youth homelessness, which is an urgent need in Canada.  The following research reports identify factors that contribute to youth homelessness and the relationship to children’s rights:

  • Without A Home reports findings of an extensive 2016 survey of youth experiencing homelessness in Canada.  It highlights factors that contribute to homelessness and the common theme of waiting too long to respond to identifiable needs.   Shifting from crisis response to preventive strategies is critical for effectiveness in reducing the problem of youth homelessness.
  • Ending Youth Homeless:  A Human Rights Guide links the factors that contribute to homelessness with the rights of young people.  It also shows the benefits of a rights-based approach to addressing youth homelessness.
  • Child Welfare and Youth Homelessness explains how and why young people fall through the cracks of our child welfare systems to end up on the street. It illustrates the benefits of  early intervention to realize the rights of children and prevent youth homelessness.

Right to Health: Living Conditions for Growing Up in Canada

Implementing the right to health in Article 24 of the Convention would help Canada because it puts a focus on healthy living conditions, which need more attention in public health policy.  Canada’s 5th/6th report is inadequate in both analysis and action for children’s health.  This Fact Sheet outlines three areas for action during the review.  This discussion paper summarizes research that show what we need to do to improve children’s health in Canada.

Right to Education:  More than the Right to Go to School

This discussion paper focuses specifically on what has been done to ensure that all children learn about their rights. Canada was asked to use school curricula and government websites to make progress on Article 29 and 42, because a majority of children in Canada still report that they were never taught about their rights.  It looks at how children’s rights are taught in provincial curricula and whether government websites inform children about their rights.

The CCRC hopes that the 5th/6th report will include significant steps to improve the implementation of the recommendations in the last review and achieve targets for raising awareness within five years.

Children’s Right to Know Their Rights and Curriculum Reform in Ontario:

The CCRC continues to put a high priority on the right of every child in Canada to learn about their rights.  During the last review, provincial curricula were identified as one of the means to implement this core element of the Convention.  Articles 29 and 42 more specifically outline the duties of governments to ensure that all children learn about their  rights and respect for the rights of others.  The current curriculum reform in Ontario is an opportunity to make progress toward implementation of recommendations in the last review, as Canada undergoes another round  of review.   A CCRC submission highlights the importance of learning about children’s rights and the duties of provincial governments in education.  It also addresses the relationship between children’s rights and parental rights in education, another theme common to other provinces as well as Ontario.  The CCRC hopes other provinces will include plans to implement this right in the upcoming official report for the next review of children’s rights in Canada.