Update on response to COVID-19 and the impact to kids in Canada

Across the country, Canadians are grappling with a new reality that is rapidly changing. As a country, we are being urged to stay home and take all possible steps to reduce risks and prevent the transmission of coronavirus in our families and communities.

At Children First Canada, we’ve taken steps to minimize risks such as postponing events and restricting travel. While the ways in which we do our work is changing, we will not cease in our efforts to advocate for kids and empower kids to advocate for themselves. Today and every day, we remain committed to prioritizing the rights of kids in Canada and mobilizing action to improve their wellbeing.

Many Canadians are grappling with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their children and families. Kids are affected by the closure of schools, recreational programs and other public places. They are also impacted by the increasing economic pressures and stress that their parents and other caregivers are facing due to office closures and job losses.

Children are being impacted by the disruption to their daily routines, and some are being particularly hard hit. Kids growing up in poverty will have less access to nutritional programs that would otherwise be offered in their schools or afterschool programs. Children who experience domestic violence can no longer find safe refuge at school. Indigenous children living in remote and rural communities are particularly vulnerable due to overcrowded housing, lack of clean water, and limited access to hospitals.

As federal and provincial authorities put in place policies and programs to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on our country, we urge all levels of government to consider the unique ways that children are made vulnerable by the pandemic.

Children First Canada is working directly with the federal government, providing policy recommendations and advice on the most urgent funding needs based on the collective input from our Council of Champions, which includes the leaders of Canada’s leading children’s hospitals, charities, and research institutes.

Amid so much uncertainty, your commitment to invest in children is more important than ever. We are grateful for your support.

You can count on Children First Canada to remain a strong voice for the 8 million kids living across our country. We will continue working with our partners from coast to coast to coast to prioritize the wellbeing of kids and working directly with children and youth to give them a platform to be heard.

We will also look across borders to learn from what other countries are doing to put children first. Recently the Prime Minister of Norway hosted a special press conference just for children to answer their questions about the pandemic and alleviate their concerns. It’s not lost on us that Norway is currently ranked #1 for child wellbeing amongst 41 OECD countries, meanwhile Canada is ranked 25th.

As we look across our country and to global leaders, we will share what we continue to learn about the impacts of coronavirus on children in the coming weeks.

We believe that Canada can become a world-leading country for children, and we will remain steadfast in our commitment to put children first. Thank you for your continued support.

With gratitude,

Sara L. Austin,

Founder & CEO

View our list of resources for children and families impacted by COVID-19, with information on how to stay healthy and safe, mental health resources, and finances.