Ottawa, December 14, 2021 – Today’s Federal Economic and Fiscal Update provided a snapshot of Canada’s finances, alongside updates on Canada’s COVID-19 efforts and supports for Canadians and businesses.
Of note is the government’s commitment to long-term reform for First Nations child and family services, including the provision of $40 billion in compensation and the allocation of necessary funds. As the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society shared, there is substantial work left to do such as, “legal steps to take before victims get the compensation they are owed and First Nations children get the services they deserve.” They went on to share that we need to “push for full implementation of the reforms necessary to ensure the discrimination stops NOW and that Canada does not hurt another generation of children again.” See their full statement here.
There were limited details in the update on any new initiatives specifically aimed at improving the lives of children, which is concerning given the urgent and well-documented threats to children’s survival and development.
Children First Canada and our Council of Champions have repeatedly signalled that child have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and called on the government to put kids at the heart of Canada’s recovery plans. Now is the time for big, bold leadership for kids in Canada, and the lack of specific investments in the fiscal outlook is worrisome.
“The pandemic has been especially cruel to children, resulting in widespread violations of their rights to survival and development,” says Sara Austin, founder and CEO of Children First Canada. “The urgency to invest in children has never been greater, and we look forward to seeing Parliamentarians take bold action to address the urgent and systemic threats that children are facing.”
As Canadians look to the Budget, we urge the federal government to put in place six essential building blocks that will improve the lives of all 8 million kids in Canada:
1. Appoint a Federal Commissioner for Children and Youth
2. Create a national strategy to tackle the top 10 threats to children in Canada and ensure the full protection of children’s rights
3. Invest in children, including launching a Catalytic Investment Fund for Children and publishing a Children’s Budget to provide transparency and accountability
4. Measure what matters, systematically collecting disaggregated national data on the health and well-being of kids across Canada
5. Provide equitable funding and services for First Nations, Métis and Inuit children and implement the TRC’s Calls to Action and the Spirit Bear Plan. We were pleased to see the government take a step in the right direction today committing the $40 billion in compensation to provide the funds necessary to implement long-term reform for First Nations child and family service.
6. Involve children in decisions that affect their lives, including consulting them in policy decisions through the Young Canadians’ Parliament and youth advisory councils. This should also include lowering the voting age in Canada, in conformance with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Each of the recommendations is valuable in its own right, and when combined together provide a solid foundation to put children at the heart of Canada’s pandemic recovery plans and make Canada the best place in the world for kids to grow up!
For more information or for an interview, please contact:
Director, NATIONAL Public Relations
About Children First Canada:
Children First Canada (CFC) is a national charitable organization with a bold and ambitious vision that together we can make Canada the best place in the world for kids to grow up. We are a strong, effective and independent voice for all 8 million children in Canada. CFC is harnessing the strength of many organizations that are committed to improving the lives of children in Canada, including children’s charities and hospitals, research centres, government, corporations, community leaders, and children themselves. Visit childrenfirstcanada.com for more information.