The Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children (CCRC) is a network of Canadian organizations and individuals who promote respect for the rights of children. View this email in your browser
January 23, 2020
You can be Part of Review
Letters from children can be submitted for the review of children's rights in Canada. That is one learning from the webinar the CCRC sponsored on the process for the current review. Alternative reports can be simple reports on one issue or many issues affecting one group of children. The CCRC is encouraging broad participation to demonstrate public interest in children's rights.
March 1 is the deadline for alternative reports. See this 2-page guide to prepare a report. We are willing to help you relate your issue to previous recommendations or relevant articles in the Convention. Contact us through firstname.lastname@example.org.
The CCRC is also encouraging reports about the situation in one province because provinces are also duty-bearers and often avoid scrutiny in the review process because the focus is on the national government. We know of groups working in Quebec, British Columbia, and New Brunswick. For more information, please contact email@example.com.
Slides from the webinar on the review process are available on the CCRC website, along with other information relating to previous reports, etc. The CCRC is planning another webinar to allow more discussion between everyone working on alternative reports. We will also provide updates on the process as it moves forward. Our goal is to make this process productive for children in Canada.
The Right to Learn: Can Children's Rights Improve Education?
Compliments go to the Ontario Human Rights Commission for taking seriously children's right to learn to read. It has launched an investigation into how the Ontario education system fails the right of children with a reading disability to learn to read. Its use of a rights-based approach shows how paying attention to the views and rights of children can add value in the education sector.
The time may be here for a breakthrough for children's rights in education. Issues in several provinces are triggering children's rights. Taking their rights seriously could help to find good solutions. Below are just a few examples.
The Ontario Human Rights Commission approach contrasts with another power struggle between teacher's unions and the government over education policy in Ontario. School boards seem to be sidelined, while parents struggle with the impacts of rotating strikes. While both sides claim to be acting in the best interests of children, other factors blur the public discussion. A stronger focus on the rights of children in education would be helpful.
In Prince Edward Island questions have been raised about an increase in home schooling after the province dropped all regulations. Are the rights of every child to a quality education adequately protected? Who protects the rights of children in a private boarding school for monks in PEI, whose parents live far away in other countries?
Article 29 of the Convention can be helpful to work through controversial issues, such as religious and cultural practices in the classroom, such as the issues about smudging in BC; access to sexual education in many provinces; bullying and school violence; and equitable treatment for all children.
In Quebec the courts will hear a case by former students of an ultra-orthodox Jewish school that claims the province did not protect their right to get an education that prepared them for life.
So far in Canada, no province has paid serious attention to Articles 28 and 29 on education and other relevant provisions, such as teaching children about children's rights. A 2017 CCRC survey showed no province had implemented recommendations from the last review of children's rights with respect to education. Perhaps the time has finally come for children's rights to be implemented in the education sector. Editorial Comment by Kathy Vandergrift, not official CCRC position.