Children First Canada has issued recommendations in advance of the upcoming Federal budget. Read the full submission here.
Children and youth thrive in environments that are safe, nurturing, predictable and structured. However, this is not the reality for many kids in Canada. One-third do not enjoy a safe and healthy childhood. (1)
While the pandemic has brought many challenges for children to the forefront, a crisis has been brewing for more than a decade. Once ranked 10th among affluent countries, Canada has fallen sharply to 30 th place. (2)
Children First Canada (CFC)’s latest Raising Canada research suggests Canada has reached a tipping point, putting the lives of children and youth – and the future of our country – in jeopardy. (3)
Many children do not make it to their 18th birthday. The infant mortality rate in Canada is higher than in most wealthy countries, and the leading causes of childhood deaths include preventable injuries, suicide and homicide. These devastating statistics are too alarming to be ignored.
Public policy decisions and budgetary allocations often do not prioritize Canada’s youngest citizens, which is evident at all levels of government.
There is overwhelming evidence that investing in young people can yield great economic returns, benefiting all Canadians.
When children thrive, Canada thrives.
In June 2022, the United Nation’s Committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) supported the call for urgent action, expressing grave concerns and issuing recommendations for urgent action. The UN Committee publicly highlighted serious concerns about the welfare of children who live in Canada, particularly Indigenous children. This latest review followed a scathing report a decade ago, with the Committee noting that many recommendations from that report remain unaddressed. The report can be accessed here.
Many of the recommendations from the UNCRC are echoed in the submission.
List of Recommendations:
Recommendation 1: Make a plan to invest in changing children’s lives for the better
- Establish an independent Ombudsperson or Commissioner for Children and Youth that is dedicated to protecting the rights of children.
- Create and implement a national Strategy or Plan of Action to improve the lives of children in Canada
Recommendation 2: Support evidence-based decision-making for children and youth in Canada by improving timely access to data.
- Develop a comprehensive data strategy that would encompass the collection of disaggregated data on the health and well-being of children, supported by analysis, research and insights.
- Renew the national survey on the child- and youth-serving sector to identify and map all key decision-makers and service providers working to improve the lives of kids in Canada.
Recommendation 3: Invest in the potential of children and youth by enabling them to be
active and engaged citizens.
- Support the creation of a national School Leadership Program that promotes knowledge of children’s rights and responsibilities and develops their confidence and capacity as leaders of today and tomorrow. Investment is $1 million for 3 years (3 million total).
- Continue to support the Young Canadians’ Parliament as a forum for children and youth to learn about their rights, strengthen their attachment to Canada, and ensure that the voices and needs of children are represented in the Government’s agenda. Investment is $250,000 for 3 years (750,000 total).
- Create a Catalytic Investment Fund for Children and Youth to fund innovative and evidence-based programs that will measurably improve the lives of children.
Read the full submission here.
(1) Children First Canada. Raising Canada 2022 – Top 10 Threats to Childhood in Canada Accessed 2022.
(2) Ibed; Timar E, Gromada A, Rees G, Carraro A. Places and Spaces: Environments and children’s well-being.
Accessed 2022. https://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/pdf/RC17-EN_ Places-and-Spaces_Environments-and-childrens-wellbeing_Report-Card-17.pdf
(3) Children First Canada. Raising Canada 2022 – Top 10 Threats to Childhood in Canada Accessed 2022.