The Canadian Bar Association calls for more work to be done to realize children’s rights across Canada

  • November 20, 2023

Ottawa, November 20, 2023 – To mark World Children’s Day today, the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) and its Child and Youth Law Section call on the federal, provincial and territorial governments to develop and make public detailed action plans in response to the Concluding Observations to Canada of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child.

A letter campaign led by prominent child rights and social justice advocates and legal professionals in the country was launched earlier this year to ask that all Canadian governments prioritize and implement the UN Committee recommendations. The CBA wrote again to the federal government last Friday, urging prompt and coordinated federal, provincial and territorial action in favour of children’s rights.

Over a year has passed since the UN Committee released its Concluding Observations in response to the combined 5th and 6th periodic reports submitted by Canada, wherein the UN Committee expressed serious criticism of Canada’s continued failure to fully implement the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The federal government remains obligated to show leadership in the areas where it can effect change and to work in partnership with provinces and territories in others. The provinces and territories have a corresponding obligation to implement those recommendations falling within provincial and territorial jurisdiction.

Quick facts

  • The Concluding Observations of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child constitute a road map that could prove transformational in improving the lives of children in Canada. 
  • In a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau last March, the CBA called on the federal government “to table a detailed Government Action Plan in response to the UN Committee’s recommendations”. In a follow-up letter in June 2023 addressed to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, the CBA Child and Youth Law Section reiterated its recommendations and provided priority actions to be considered including rapid ratification of the Third Optional Protocol. This letter was endorsed by several civil society organizations in Canada.
  • CBA Branches in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Ontario have written to their respective Premiers calling for similar efforts towards implementation of the June 2022 Concluding Observations to Canada.


 “World Children’s Day marks the adoption by the United Nations of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, a legal treaty between governments. The Convention is the most universally ratified human rights instrument in history. The CBA continues in its commitment to upholding and advancing the rule of law in Canada. This coordinated CBA letter campaign to improve child rights enforcement efforts in Canada recognizes the domestic enforcement of international human rights treaties as an important aspect of Canada’s commitment to the rule of law.”

  • John Stefaniuk, K.C., CBA President

“Taking children’s rights seriously requires more than meeting reporting requirements every five years to the UN. Canadian governments need concrete action plans in place between reporting cycles to show an on-going commitment to child rights' implementation. This, of course, is not something that governments should do merely to fulfill their international legal obligations. Hopefully, they will do so because they genuinely want to keep their promises to children, because they recognize these young members of our communities as rights-holders whose best interests are deserving of our priority focus and best efforts.”

  • Caterina Tempesta, Chair of the CBA Children and Youth Law Section


CBA’s Child Rights Toolkit
CBA’s Child and Youth Law Section
Concluding Observations to Canada of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)
UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

About the Canadian Bar Association

The CBA is dedicated to support the rule of law and improvement in the law and the administration of justice. Some 38,000 lawyers, judges, notaries in Quebec, law teachers and law students from across Canada are members.

For more information, contact:

Vanessa Racine
Manager, Media Relations and Public Affairs
613-237-2925 x153