Statement celebrating the 30th anniversary of the adoption of UNCRC

  • November 20, 2019

The Canadian Bar Association’s Child and Youth Law Section is pleased to mark the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) on November 20, 2019. This is an opportunity to assess, strengthen awareness and work to realize children’s rights in Canada.

There have been gains in promoting children’s rights over the past 30 years. However, much more must be done to move Canada’s ranking up from 25th out of 41 affluent countries in UNICEF’s 2017 Report Card 14. While Canada performs well in the indicators relating to education, the widest and most alarming gaps are in child health, violence experienced by children, and children’s sense of well-being, including the promotion of peace, justice and inclusive institutions.

The CBA Section has supported children’s rights in practical ways, by: (1) developing an online Child Rights Toolkit to help legal professionals take a child rights based approach in practice and strengthen their advocacy for children; (2) commenting on proposed legislation including amendments to the Divorce Act and Indigenous child welfare legislation; and (3) calling on the federal government to:

  1. create a detailed action plan to effectively implement the UNCRC, using the Concluding Observations of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child as a roadmap;
  2. establish a National Commissioner for Children and Youth as an independent Parliamentary Officer to protect and promote the human rights of children and youth that fall under federal jurisdiction; and
  3. ratify the Third Optional Protocol to the UNCRC, which establishes a procedure for children who have not found a domestic solution to bring complaints directly to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.

As the world marks the 30th anniversary of the UNCRC, we must strive beyond lofty rhetoric and continue to work towards full implementation of the UNCRC in Canada. The CBA Section and legal profession are well-positioned to take bold action to achieve this objective.