The Canadian Bar Association launches toolkit to address child rights

Ottawa, May 11, 2017 - Today, the Canadian Bar Association introduced a free, comprehensive new tool to address an inherent knowledge gap on children’s rights in Canada. The CBA Child Rights Toolkit is designed to help lawyers, judges and other professionals advocate, adjudicate and make better decisions for children.

The online toolkit provides a foundation of basic information on the nature of children’s rights, including overarching principles, constitutional considerations, legal representation, the role of independent human rights institutions for children and child rights impact assessments. 

The Toolkit also provides concrete suggestions and examples of how legal principles can be applied, check lists, step-by-step key cases,  precedents for argument or facta that have been effectively used, and other resources.

Quick facts         

  • The Toolkit was informed by a survey completed by 110 Canadian lawyers and some 50 judges as well as input from legal and health professionals from across Canada.
  • Twenty years after ratifying the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) Canada ranks 17th out of 28 affluent nations for children’s overall well-being. Canada drops to 26th for inequality between the most affluent and least affluent children. Children of all backgrounds are affected by our poor performance, but high risk and marginalized youth are particularly vulnerable. 
  • The most recent “report card” on Canada’s compliance, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child said the absence of comprehensive CRC legislation results in inconsistencies in implementing children’s rights across the country. Limited awareness of the CRC among not only children, but adults, was noted by the committee, as well as the need for child rights training for professionals working with children, including judicial authorities.


“The professional legal obligation to ensure equal access to justice for everyone requires an understanding of children’s legal rights in Canada. This tool helps identify breaches of their legal rights and provides remedies for them across a broad range of legal subject areas, from family law and child protection to immigration and education law.”

Caterina E. Tempesta
Co-Chair, CBA Child Rights Toolkit Steering Committee
Counsel, Office of the Children's Lawyer, Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General

“The toolkit highlights the importance of procedural guarantees when children’s best interests are being assessed.  In court processes this includes children’s legal representation, child friendly processes encouraging their participation, prioritizing their cases so decisions are timely, and making sure that judges explain how their views were taken seriously.”

The Honourable Donna Martinson
Co-Chair, CBA Child Rights Toolkit Steering Committee
Retired Justice of the Supreme Court of BC 

About the CBA Child Rights Toolkit

The CBA Child Rights Toolkit is an initiative of the Canadian Bar Association led by UN Convention on the Rights of the Child subcommittee of the Children’s Law Committee. It was funded by the CBA Law for the Future Fund, and inspired by the need to improve access to justice for children in Canada. 

About the Canadian Bar Association

The CBA is dedicated to support for the rule of law, and improvement in the law and the administration of justice. Some 36,000 lawyers, notaries in Quebec, law teachers, and law students from across Canada are members.