The CBA Child Rights Toolkit is an initiative of the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) 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. 

The CBA Child Rights Toolkit was informed by a survey completed by 110 Canadian lawyers in 2015 and just under 50 judges in 2016 at the National Judicial Institute Family Law program, presentations made at several conferences in early 2016, and the input of legal and health professionals from across Canada.  The Toolkit’s development was guided by a national steering committee composed of:

  • The Honourable Justice Donna J. Martinson (retired) and Caterina E. Tempesta (Co-Chairs)
  • Dale Hensley, Q.C.
  • Christian Whalen
  • Jennifer Shaften
  • Sarah Dennene
  • Candice Pollack (note taker)
  • Suzanne Williams
  • With CBA support from Inika Anderson, Gaylene Schellenberg and Lorraine Prezeau.

The long term plan is for a future edition to update, broaden and enhance the areas covered by the initial Child Rights Toolkit. 


UN Convention on the Rights of the Child Subcommittee: The Honourable Donna J. Martinson (retired) (Chair), Caterina E. Tempesta (Co-chair), Dale Hensley, Q.C., Marv Bernstein, Christian Whalen, Sarah Dennene, Sarah Rauch, Bianca Suciu, Cheryl Milne, Gavin Kotze, Jennifer Shaften, assisted by Jessica Melanson and Candice Pollack

2015-16 Children’s Law Committee: Marv Bernstein (Chair), Christian Whalen (Past Chair), Lucy McSweeney (Vice-Chair), Cheryl Milne (Vice-Chair), Sarah Rauch (Secretary), The Honourable Justice Donna J. Martinson Q.C. (retired), Betty Ann Pottruff, Cori McGuire, David Dundee, Jennifer Barrett, Cara Haaf, Patricia Yuzwenko, Danie Roy, Caterina E. Tempesta, Charlotte Janssen, N. Nicole Nussbaum, Lauren Ghent, Meghan Riley, Veronica Singer, Robyn Elliott

CBA Staff: Inika Anderson (Liaison Officer), Gaylene Schellenberg (Legislation and Law Reform Liaison), Lorraine Prezeau, and Communications and IT teams

Lead Writer and Subject-Matter Consultant: Suzanne S. Williams

Content Experts:

Best Interests of the Child - The Honourable Justice Donna J. Martinson Q.C. (retired)

Capacity – Dale Hensley Q.C.

Charter and Constitutional Protection – Cheryl Milne

Child Participation – Suzanne S. Williams, Sarah Dennene

Privacy – Christian Whalen

Child Protection – Caterina E. Tempesta, Jennifer Shaften, Jennifer Barrett (BC resource)

Child Rights Impact Assessments – Christian Whalen, Marv Bernstein

Cross-Border Parental Child Abduction – The Honourable Justice Donna J. Martinson Q.C. (retired), Jessie Carl (Jurisdictional Resource)

Education – Christian Whalen

Family Law – David Dundee, Jennifer Shaften, Dale Hensley Q.C.

Freedom from all Forms of Violence – Candice Pollack, Jessica Melanson

Girl Child – Bianca Suciu

Health – Dr. Rebecca Bromwich, Dr. Nicholas LĂ©ger-Riopel, Dr. Matt Bromwich, Samantha Puchala (Faculty of Law student, UniversitĂ© de Moncton)

Immigration and Refugee Law – Caterina E. Tempesta; precedents contributed by Geraldine Sadoway and Chantal Desloges

Independent Human Rights Institutions – Marv Bernstein

Indigenous Children – Sarah Rauch, Bianca Suciu, Sarah Clarke, Delaine Friedrich (student-at-law),

Legal Representation of Children – Suzanne S. Williams

Life, Survival and Development – Dr. Sara McNamee, Dr. Alan Pomfret, Dr. Patrick Ryan, Dr. Sam Frankel, Dr. Rachel Birnbaum, Childhood and Social Institutions Program, King’s University College at the University of Western Ontario  

Youth Criminal Justice – Patricia Yuzwenko, Gavin Kotze

Youth and Civil Justice - Dale Hensley Q.C.

Thank you also to the Department of Justice Canada for funding papers on child participation and child legal representation that are referenced in the Toolkit.