Children and young people are experts on their own lives. They are the ones who are living their lives and know best how certain situations affect them. They can provide valuable feedback and insight into their circumstances and can inform decisions and policies related to them. They can be powerful advocates for themselves and can help create better outcomes for their lives.
As a State Party to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), Canada has a duty to participate constructively in the periodic review of implementation. Current global best practice is for that participation to include meaningful consultation of children and young people throughout the various stages of the review process. This project brought together some of Canada’s leading child rights and participation organizations to engage children and young people on the federal government’s behalf.
Stakeholders engaged in a four-phase project working together with Canadian Heritage (PCH), Justice Canada, and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) in the lead up to the UN Review to provide the government with a chance to engage with children and young people. This involved i) a broad survey of children and young people, in order to better understand their priorities for this Review; ii) in-person sessions for children and young people on the UN Review within a dedicated ‘children’s rights theme’ group embedded at the existing SCC’s #CanadaWeWant conference; iii) three virtual roundtables with government officials and children and young people drawn from the CCRC’s member organizations; and iv) a children and young people-led report, presented at a final roundtable, to Canada’s delegation to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child and other government officials.
By working with children and youth–and not just “for them”–governments in Canada will find a willing partner that can help identify areas where children’s rights could be better upheld, so that more appropriate intervention and support can be provided. It is the hope of all involved that this report contributes to that collective goal.Child engagement report on 5th/6th UN Review
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