What are They:
A Child Rights Impact Assessment (CRIA) is a tool that can be used to examine the potential impacts of proposed legislation, policies, budget decisions, programs, and services on the rights of children or young people. It is seen as a critical tool for the promotion, protection, and monitoring of children’s rights under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
A CRIA generally involves following a series of steps laid out in a formal model or template to evaluate the impacts of a proposed change to policy or legislation. Overall, the process aims to answer these central questions: what are the potential impacts of a proposal? Are there changes that could be made such that the proposal would better protect and promote the rights of children? And ultimately, can a recommendation be made about whether or not to proceed with the policy, program or legislation as proposed?
There are no official processes to follow when conducting a CRIA, and many organizations have their own approach. Generally a CRIA process involves the following steps:
- Determining the scope of your proposal
- Clarifying the issues and its objectives
- Identifying different options
- Gathering data and consulting stakeholders (including young people)
- Analyzing the potential positive, negative, and ambiguous impacts of the proposal on the rights of children as articulated in the UNCRC
- Making a recommendation based on the data collected
These steps have been included in the recommended worksheet which can be found below.
Why use a CRIA?
The use of CRIAs has become a common practice in other countries that have ratified the UNCRC. While Canada has ratified the agreement, there is a lack of tools available to ensure children are a focus in public policy making. Many international organizations, including UNICEF, recommend CRIAs as a tool to help create a more systematic focus on children which will help implement the UNCRC in Canada.
Ideally, the CRIA process is to be integrated into government decision-making processes to ensure all state policy and legislation is supportive of child rights. However, any organization can conduct a CRIA on its own policy and programs,, or as an advocacy tool to improve proposed or existing government policy. When effectively implemented and followed, a CRIA will provide your organization with a simple and easy-to-use process to evaluate and monitor any policy that may affect children.
Recommended Approach to Complete a CRIA:
UNICEF Canada has created a step-by-step CRIA worksheet that can be followed by your organization each time you make a decision that you believe may impact children’s rights. This worksheet is simple and easy to follow, making it an ideal resource to follow.
Scotland’s Commissioner for Children & Youth has provided their own example of a completed CRIA that you can follow. This CRIA assesses the Government of Scotland’s Victim and Witnesses Bill from 2013. Your own CRIA’s will not necessarily have the same level of detail or analysis as this example, as the UNICEF Canada template can be tailored to your organization’s needs.
Examples of CRIAs from Our Organization:
The Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children has also completed two different CRIAs that can be followed by your organization as a useful step-by-step guideline. These examples were completed using the CCRC’s own CRIA model and they do not follow the recommended UNICEF Canada model. This may change in the future, however for now our CRIAs are another example for you to consult.
1) Bill S-203: Protecting Young Persons from Exposure to Pornography CRIA can be found here.
2) Conversion Therapy Bill CRIA can be found here.
Other Resources to Consult:
The resources below are useful tools to consult when completing a CRIA as each government has their own format and principles to follow. However, there is no uniform international approach to conducting a CRIA.
3) New Brunswick Child & Youth Advocate
4) Yukon Child & Youth Advocate
5) European Network of Ombudsman for Children, November 2020
7) Children and Young People’s Commissioner of Scotland
8) Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People
This CRIA briefing note was created for the CCRC by law student Sean Ovas. If you have any questions, please email email@example.com