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
                                                                                                                                      December 18, 2019

Review of Children's Rights in Canada:

Webinar on Process 

Find out how you can use the review of children's rights in Canada as part of your advocacy to improve conditions for children in Canada. The CCRC is hosting a webinar with Child Rights Connect in Geneva to explain the process. You will learn how to prepare an alternative report, ideas for engaging young people, and ways to work with others to make progress for children's rights in Canada.  
January 7, 11 am EST, 8 am PST
Bring questions; get assistance 
Register through link below and receive details to join the session.   


The Right to Play 

Children's right to play is important - and often neglected in Canada, with high costs for children and society.  A Fact Sheet on the Right to Play, produced by the International Right to Play Association - Canada and the CCRC, explains why it is important, barriers to free play, and priority areas of action in Canada. 

Sadly, Canada's official report does not even name the right to play.  Share the Fact Sheet to raise awareness about the need to pay more attention to children's right to play. 

      Children's Rights in the Mandate Letters

Children's policy receives less attention in the recently released mandate letters for federal cabinet ministers than it did in 2015, but children will be impacted by proposed initiatives in many departments.  Missing is a coherent approach and any recognition of children's rights. Below are a few areas to watch. The CCRC will be following up on individual proposals that could make progress for children's rights in Canada.  
Indigenous Children:  Pressure is mounting to finally resolve the long-standing First Nations child welfare claims and implementation of the new framework for indigenous child welfare is a priority in the mandate letters.  The language on other issues, such as water and housing, sounds positive; implementation is the critical piece. 

Early Childhood: Children under age 1 and their parents will benefit from proposed improvements in parental leave policies and income support for the first year.  Some elements of the Affordable Child Care for All Plan, which the CCRC endorsed, are included in the mandate letters. Critically important but not mentioned is renewal of the federal-provincial funding agreements, which expire in 2020.  Like many areas of children's policy, progress depends on cooperation between all levels of government.  A stronger rights-based approach could help to make federalism work better and hold all governments accountable to children and families for outcomes in early childhood learning and child care. 

Specific Initiatives:  Expect to see regulation of junk-food advertising to children back on the agenda; less certain is progress on food security.  While components of the national poverty strategy are named, the strategy as a whole receives minimal attention.  Violence against women and girls continues to be a priority, as does continuation of the anti-racism strategy, but there is no mention of the pathway to end violence against children. Three ministers share responsibility to ensure that conversion therapy is prohibited across the country.  Vaping, gun control, pharmacare, and access to reproductive health information and services are all matters that have impacts for young people.  Implementation of the youth strategy includes establishing a youth service program as well as the youth advisory council.  Young people will also be watching for implementation of the many proposals to address climate change across several ministries. 

In general, there is potential for progress in some specific aspects of children's rights. It is a piece-meal approach.  There would be greater positive impact for children if there was a coherent, integrated framework. The CCRC will use the review process in 2020 to highlight the benefits of using the Convention to bring greater coherence, also between federal and provincial/territorial policies that impact children.   

Be Part of the Review of Children's Rights 

March 1, the deadline for submitting alternative reports is coming soon.  We hope you will make time early in 2020 to contribute from your experience through your own report or through adding to joint reports with others and the CCRC. Active participation by civil society groups in Canada is critical to make the review process productive. 

The timeline for the process is:
  • March 1, 2020:  Deadline for submitting alternative reports to the UN Committee
  • June 1-5, 2020:  The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child will host a pre-session to gather input for the review of Canada. More detailed information later. 
  • Summer, 2020:  A List of Issues for Canada to address will be public. These come from our submissions. 
  • October, 2020:  Deadline for Canada to submit its official response to the list of issues. (Last time Canada's response was late - the CCRC will track it and keep you informed)
  •  December, 2020:  Deadline for additional information from civil-society on list of issues..
  • January 11-29. 2021: Official hearing before UN Committee. More details later
  • Spring, 2021: Report with recommendations for government action 
  • 2021-Next Review:  Follow-up and monitoring progress 
The CCRC website will include up-dates and a place to share your contributions with others as the process unfolds over the next year. 

                   Review Project: Special Donations  

Can you consider a special donation to achieve the CCRC goal for the review process - real change for children in Canada? All donations will be used for public awareness and more participation in Canada.   

Plans include regional gatherings to focus on the situation of children in different provinces;  sharing information between different groups and different aspects of children's rights; commentary on the official process for groups who can't go to Geneva; and follow-up on the report to get action by governments.

You can donate safely through the website and receive a charitable receipt for tax purposes.   
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