Current Review of Children’s Rights in Canada
The current review of progress in how Canada implements the Convention on the Rights of the Child is officially called the 5th-6th review. On this page you will find:
- New addition: List of Issues for governments in Canada to address. This is the next stage in the review process. Read about it here. Read List of Issues here.
- Alternative reports, prepared by a range of organizations and individuals in Canada, that provide evidence and make recommendations for improvements
- Links to the official report by the federal and provincial governments;
- General response to the report by the CCRC and links to alternative reports and research documents by the CCRC and its members
- Links to previous recommendations and actions promoted by the CCRC to realize children’s rights in Canada
- Information about the official process as it moves forward.
List of Issues: Important Step in the Review Process
On November 3 Canada received a list of questions to be answered with regard to the conditions of children in Canada. This is the next, important stage in the review process.
The List of Issues names critical issues for realizing children’s rights in Canada. They reflect many of the issues raised in the Alternative Reports below. The CCRC encourages all governments to provide honest and full answers to the questions in time for robust discussion in Canada as well as submission for the UN review. This can form the basis for making specific and practical recommendations for improvements in the lives of children across Canada. Young people and civil society groups can use the List of Issues in their advocacy work between now and Canada’s appearance before the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in January 2022. They can also provide additional information and suggestions directly to the Committee before December 15 2021 to inform the review of Canada. The CCRC will be working with its members and a wide variety of groups to use this stage of the review process productively. We want to see a plan of concrete actions to address the concerns in the list of issues. It is a critical part of making this review process productive for children, their families, governments, and all of Canadian society.
Alternative Reports for the 5th/6th Review of Children’s Rights in Canada, prepared by the CCRC and Civil Society Organizations
Closing Gaps through Systemic Change: Implement Children’s Rights in Canada, the CCRC alternative report, focuses on ways to implement all rights for all children.
An Executive Summary of the CCRC report provides a summary of recommendations for systemic change, with links to additional resources.
Other reports are being shared on this website, with permission of authors, to encourage public awareness and dialogue in Canada. There are grouped in categories on the following pages:
- Governance for Children: All Rights, All Children: http://rightsofchildren.ca/childrens-rights-under-review/governance-for-children/
- Child development, early childhood, education, health: http://rightsofchildren.ca/childrens-rights-under-review/child-development-early-childhood-education-health/
- Protecting children from harm and exploitation:http://rightsofchildren.ca/childrens-rights-under-review/protecting-children-from-harm-and-exploitation/
- Vulnerable Children: http://rightsofchildren.ca/childrens-rights-under-review/vulnerable-children-research-reports/
Supplemental Letter to CCRC Report on Impacts of Covid-19: This letter addresses the impacts of Covid-19, which delayed the review process. Canada’s experience with Covid-19 reinforces the need to close systemic gaps in the protection of children’s rights. The CCRC calls on all governments to learn from Covid-19 and use the review process to implement previous recommendations that would make responding to such crises more effective for children and governments in the future.
Supplemental Letter in French can be found here.
Government Report on Children’s Rights in Canada
Canada filed its official 5th-6th report on March 1, 2019, more than six months late. Les cinquième et sixième rapports.
Annex I is statistical information. Annex 2 is a report on what officials heard. Annex 3 is an executive summary of report from young people. Annexe 1 – Renseignements et données statistiques . Annexe 2 : Ce que nous avons entendu . Annexe-3-Sommaire-exécutif-du-rapport-CDE.
CCRC Overview Analysis of the Government Report
The report provides general statements and names some specific initiatives that relate to the 2012 recommendations. Missing is substantive analysis of outcomes for children. Missing is analysis of serious issues for the realization of children’s rights. There are major gaps in the response to previous recommendations. Some responses to previous recommendations are half-answers. A few good provincial initiatives are listed, for example, but there is no reporting on what has been done in all the other provinces. Recommendations for systemic change are ignored, in spite of clear evidence in Canada that the current system is not working. Rulings by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal since the last review have ordered redress for serious violations of the rights of indigenous children. If the systems to implement, monitor, and report on children’s rights in Canada were working as they should under the Convention, this would have been addressed years ago. Canada’s report is a missed opportunity to fix a system that is not working well. Using the review to make substantive changes, as well as listing a few specific programs, would benefit all children and make Canada’s federalist system of governance work better for our children and the well-being of our nation.
Children in Canada are not well-served by this report. It will be up to civil society organizations to provide a more honest and balanced account of progress on children’s rights in Canada.
Canada’s 5th/6th report comes on the 30th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. One benefit of the Convention is a holistic approach that puts children at the center. This report fails to do that. Full implementation of children’s rights, the CCRC goal, would make Canada work better for children. We can do better in Canada than this report.
Next Steps in Review Process
Update on October 8: The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has appointed a taskforce to lead the review of Canada. They are holding consultations with stakeholders, to add to their review of the state report and the alternative report. Their review will inform a List of Issues sent to Canada in mid-October. That list is a public document. The CCRC plans to use that period of time to encourage more discussion and dialogue in Canada. This is part of our efforts to make this process as productive as possible for children in Canada. Canada will file official answers. Civil society groups can also provide additional information to the committee before the official appearance of Canada before the committee. That is now scheduled for September, 2021.
Update on July 1: The CCRC filed a supplemental letter on the impacts of Covid-19, which delayed the review process. Covid-19 makes the recommendations to address systemic gaps in protection of children’s rights even more important.
Update on May 22: The pre-session for the review of Canada is now scheduled for September 28-October 2. During this session the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child will consider the alternative reports from civil society organizations and delegations will be heard, to inform questions the Committee will ask Canada to answer in the later session with government representatives.
The deadline for submitting evidence to the UN Committee has been extended. If you have evidence you would like to submit or an update to a report submitted before March 1, you can submit it through a portal at Child Rights Connect. The CCRC is willing to provide more detailed information or assistance. Send a message to email@example.com. The new deadline will be posted here when available.
Update on May 10: The June session of the UN Committee for the Rights of Children has been cancelled. That means delay in the review of how Canada implements children’s rights. The committee is considering alternative ways to move forward with the reviews of various countries. In the meantime, the CCRC continues to advocate for changes in Canada, prior to the UN review. Systemic changes should be part of the transition strategy from Covid-19 emergency response mode to better governing for children in Canada.
Update as of May 1, 202o
The Coalition thanks members and allies for their contributions to many excellent alternative reports that were submitted to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. The CCRC report and others who shared copies with the CCRC are posted on the CCRC website here.
The formal process at the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has been delayed because of the Covid-19 emergency. The CCRC is monitoring the process and will provide updates as we are informed of revised schedules.
In the meantime we continue working for change in Canada. The evidence in the alternative reports reinforces the CCRC assessment that the current systems for protecting and realizing children’s rights in Canada are woefully inadequate. The status quo can no longer be defended. The Covid-19 crisis is exposing cracks in our systems and reinforcing many of the recommendations in the alternative reports. We are advocating with government officials to come to the official review process with plans for change that respond to recommendations in the alternative reports and recommendations made to Canada in the last report.
While Covid-19 requires immediate attention to emergency responses, it also reinforces the need for changing long-term public policies for children and the avenues available for children to exercise their rights. We need to ensure that Covid-19 is not used by governments as an excuse to avoid the accountability of the review process and postpone changes that were necessary long before Covid-19.
The CCRC will provide updates on both the process in Canada and the process before the UN Committee on the Rights of the Children.
In the meantime, raising public awareness of the systemic issues is important. Check out CCRC Fact Sheets and the alternative reports for further information.
CCRC Fact sheets and Research Documents
During 2019, members of the CCRC and partner organizations will produce easy-to-read fact sheets of themes and important issues in this review. Each fact sheet will be linked to research documents prepared by persons with expertise in that area of children’s rights. Sharing knowledge and analysis is the goal of these pages
If you have information and analysis that relates to children’s rights in Canada, the CCRC is interested in hearing from you. To share information you have, or get further information about CCRC plans for the 2018 Review, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Raising the Bar for Canada’s Report
In anticipation of Canada’s official report, the CCRC set out reasonable expectations for five central components to make progress in Canada.
2012 Review: Recommendations to Canada, CCRC reports
Check the recommendations Canada received in 2012, 10 Action Steps proposed by the CCRC to implement the recommendations, the CCRC alternative report for the 3th/4th review, and background research reports on our Monitoring Page.
Summary of progress five years after the 3th/4th review
In 2016 the CCRC prepared an overview of progress on the recommendations from the 2012 review, as of November, 2016.
If you would like more detailed information or discuss how you can contribute and work with others, please send a message to email@example.com.