By Jason Santerre, Editor

The Feds & Canada’s Kids

One of the campaign promises of Justin Trudeau’s Liberals was to create an Office of the Commissioner for Children and Young Persons in Canada. According to reports from Ottawa, there’s legislation already written and waiting to be signed.

Why the delay?

Some pundits point to widespread misconceptions among politicians, policy makers, and even average citizens. Count the times you’ve heard “If you were born in Canada, you won the lottery.” Truth is, being a kid in Canada is not as rosy as many people perceive.

There’s no denying that Canada can be as good a place as any to raise kids. But it’s far from perfect. According to Children First Canada, we might be the 5th most prosperous country in the world, but we rank 17th out of 29 affluent nations when it comes to children’s wellbeing.

The statistics are staggering. Nearly 1 in 5 Canadian kids live in poverty; 1 in 5 teens have considered suicide in the past 12 months; 1 in 3 have experienced some form of child abuse; there are three times more First Nations children in child welfare than during the height of residential schools; 1 child dies every nine hours due to preventable injuries.

Way back in 1979, the United Nations designated it the Year of the Child. Landon Pearson, a former senator and leading advocate for the rights of children, addressed the UN on behalf of Canada. “Every child is a new chance for the whole human race,” said Ms. Pearson, who is now head of the Pearson Resource Centre, an entity at the helm of the advancement of children’s rights.

Canada signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1991. One of the obligations of that treaty is the government be held accountable by an independent commissioner, to ensure it does not commit this sort of human-rights abuse.

More than 60 countries worldwide have an independent commissioner for children and youth. Not Canada. It’s time to get with the program, Mr. Prime Minister. We cannot look to the future with much optimism if we don’t tend to the present.


Spring 2017, Vol 9 N°2

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Spotlight on Youth

Spring 2017
Vol 9 N°2

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