30th Anniversary of Canada's ratification of the UNCRC

  • December 13, 2021

December 13, 2021 is the 30th anniversary of Canada’s ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and we are proud to celebrate the growing interest in and respect for the human rights of children.

The UNCRC is respected in Canadian courts as the most universally accepted human rights instrument in history (the Honourable Claire L’Heureux-Dubé). We hope you will be inspired to use it in your practice whenever issues that relate to children arise – no matter what the substantive area.

It is the perfect time to connect with you and hopefully to inspire more thought and participation with children’s rights and child and youth law issues. As a relatively new CBA Section, we are nonetheless operating in full force and have lots of things going on!

Advocacy Highlights

We have had a number of opportunities to work with other CBA Sections, in particular on policy initiatives such as submissions on First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada and on the Medical Assistance in Dying. The Section has also been involved with the Mature Minors Working Group and has played a role in developing the Model Code of Professional Conduct for Family Law Lawyers. See below for more updates on our advocacy work.

Child Rights Toolkit

We want to highlight the work of the Section’s UNCRC subcommittee and their creation of the Child Rights Toolkit. The Toolkit was inspired by the need to improve children’s access to justice in Canada. It is for professionals working in legal and administrative decision-making who want to better understand and implement a child rights-based approach in practice and strengthen their advocacy for children. It is accessible and informative, and we hope you will use it to inform yourself and others, to improve your substantive knowledge and your practice skills.

Many contributors are in the process of updating the toolkit content and its second edition will be launched with a podcast, featuring the Honourable Donna J. Martinson, Q.C., LL.M. later in the CBA year. It will be available in both French and English. Stay tuned!

CBA End of Life Working Group

The Section is actively involved with the CBA End-of-Life Working Group which comprises a cross-section of members from diverse areas of expertise, including constitutional and human rights law, health law, wills, estates and trusts law, elder law, child and youth law, privacy and access to information law and alternative dispute resolution.

The Working Group is preparing a submission to the Special Joint Parliamentary Committee reviewing the Criminal Code provisions on Medical Assistance in Dying, namely issues about mature minors, advance requests and mental illness. The Working Group has consistently recommended that amendments to the Criminal Code for MAiD align with the criteria established by the Supreme Court of Canada in Carter.

CBA Business and Human Rights Guide

Our Section contributed to the CBA’s new Business and Human Rights Guide. The Guide is designed to help Canadian lawyers incorporate more Business and Human Rights Law into their legal practice. The Guide will also offer guidance to businesses on how to ensure human rights are respected. Check it out!

Essay Contest Winner

The Section is pleased to announce Maria Reisdorf as the winner of the 2021 CBA Child & Youth Law Section Student Essay Contest for her paper titled, “Inhumane and degrading”: How Canada’s Immigration Policies Fail Child Refugees. Maria is a recent Queen’s Law graduate.

We hope you will consider encouraging a law student to enter our essay contest (deadline May 2, 2022)!

More Relevant, Recent PD!

On-demand recordings are now available:

Stay Informed and Get Involved

Thank You,

Mary Birdsell
Chair, CBA Child & Youth Law Section