CFC Statement

Children First Canada calls on the Government of Canada to implement recommendations from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child without further delay

Children First Canada calls on the Government of Canada to implement recommendations from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child without further delay

On June 9, the United Nation’s Committee on the Rights of the Child released a review of Canada’s implementation of children’s rights, expressing grave concerns and issuing recommendations for urgent action. The Committee 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 noted that Canada has achieved progress in various areas, including in addressing housing and homelessness, raising awareness of mental health issues, and various legislative efforts. While some progress was noted, the UN was highly critical of the government’s lack of action and called for urgent action by issuing recommendations in the following areas: independent monitoring (para. 13), non-discrimination (para. 18), the right to life, survival and development (para. 21), abuse and neglect (para. 27), children deprived of a family environment (para. 32) and standard of living (para. 39).

Children First Canada has long called for action on many of the priorities referenced by the United Nations, including: new laws, a national strategy, coordinating/independent mechanisms, budget measures, and data collection, amongst others.

“There is a persistent myth that Canada is one of the best places in the world for kids to grow up. But that simply isn’t true,” says Sara Austin, founder and CEO of Children First Canada. “The rights of all children in our country have been violated, but there are specific groups who were particularly disadvantaged. The UN review has put a stark spotlight on the fact that the rights of 8 million kids in Canada are in severe jeopardy, and that maintaining the status quo is not an option.”

Some of our youth leaders had this to say:

“I feel that the UNCRC report shows to the international community the many issues that concern Canada’s youth. While the report notes that some advancements have been made, various issues still need to be addressed. For instance, the contamination of water in Indigenous territories, the lack of resources in multiple fields, as well as the lack of independent monitoring at the federal and provincial level. Nonetheless, certain problems like mental health, housing and accessibility were addressed in the report and this will bring more focus to these important topics for Canada’s youth.”

– Jayden Paquet-Noiseux, he/him (16 years old from Quebec) – YAC and YCP Member

“The UNRC is deeply concerned about the lack of recognition and action surrounding discrimination in this report. It is impossible to fight for children’s rights while simultaneously

leaving marginalized youth behind. Intersectionality is what makes movements powerful, empowering, and successful. We need to consider the role intersecting identities and experiences play whilst fighting for justice for young people.”

– Rae Steeves, she/they (15 years old from Nova Scotia) – YAC member, author, activist, organizer

Children First Canada looks forward to working with the Government and with other members of civil society – including children and youth – to ensure that the recommendations brought forward by the UN are swiftly followed through. The report can be accessed here.