Bill to Establish National Commissioner for Children and Youth

  • June 17, 2020

OTTAWA, June 2020 – The Canadian Bar Association welcomes the initiative taken by Senator Rosemary Moodie to table a private member’s bill to establish a National Commissioner for Children and Youth. The CBA appreciates that she has taken the first step toward fulfilling Canada’s international obligations, and its responsibility to the children and youth of this country.

In 2018 the Canadian Bar Association passed a resolution calling on the federal government to establish a National Commissioner for Children and Youth as an independent officer of Parliament in order to protect and promote the human rights of children and youth under federal jurisdiction.

In a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the Association pointed out that while children and youth under 18 make up a quarter of Canada’s population, they have “no independent voice to represent their rights and interests in Parliament, limited opportunity to participate in political processes and no effective complaint mechanism when their rights are violated.”

It also noted that when Canada ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1991, it accepted the corresponding obligation to establish the office of a National Children and Youth Commissioner.

In its Alternative Report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child earlier this year, the CBA noted the negative consequences that the lack of such an office creates:

  • There are few national standards for treatment between provincial and territorial jurisdictions, nor between Indigenous and non-Indigenous children and youth
  • National policies, laws and programs are not assessed with regard to their impact on the rights and best interests of children
  • It is difficult to obtain a clear picture of the state of Canada’s children and their budgetary needs, information to help guide future government decisions
  • There is no strategy, nor specific targets, to guide and measure progress of future government actions for children.