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Media Advisory – UN Committee on Rights of the Child representative: “Canada can afford to do better

OTTAWA, Dec. 7, 2012  – The vice-president of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child wraps up her four-day visit to Canada today which included stops in Ontario, New Brunswick and Québec. The Canadian Council of Child and Youth Advocates (CCCYA) invited Marta Maurás to visit Canada to observe this country’s implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

As part of a periodic review of Canada’s implementation of the UN Convention, the UN expressed concern over the lack of improvement to Canada’s child poverty rate, continuing Canadian health issues such as unhealthy weights and child mental illness, and inadequate monitoring mechanisms for tracking the well-being of children. The review also found insufficient co-ordination between various levels of government when it comes to serving Canadian children, and unclear accounting of government spending on children.

According to the UNICEF scorecard for industrialized countries, Canada stands 24th out of 35, with one in seven children – and one in four First Nations children – living in poverty.

“This is a clear deterioration from 10 years ago. Issues of low-quality welfare services – particularly for children placed out of their homes for care – domestic violence, bullying and mental health affect children, especially if they are Aboriginal or Afro-Canadian, immigrants or suffer from some form of disability,” said Maurás. “Canada can afford to do better. This is the challenge presented by the Concluding Observations and Recommendations by the UN Committee.”

“Ms. Maurás has heard directly from many Canadian children and youth during her visit,” said Irwin Elman, Ontario’s Advocate for Children and Youth. “We must do better for our children and the UNCRC is a tool we can use to address systemic issues and make improvements to better serve children and youth in our mandate.”

To find out more about the visit and observations, the following spokespeople are available to media today in person or by phone

Who:       Marta Maurás is available: 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. (ET)
        Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond is available: 3 p.m. – 4 p.m. (ET)
        Irwin Elman is available: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. (ET)
        Youth spokespeople (all day)
         
Where:       Chateau Laurier, 1 Rideau Street, Ottawa, Champlain Room
     

SOURCE: Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth

For further information:

or to speak to Ms. Maurás or Ms. Turpel-Lafond, please contact:
Jeff Rud, Office of the Representative for Children and Youth, B.C.
Tel: (250) 216-4725 or [email protected]

To speak to Irwin Elman or youth, please contact:
Fiona Taylor, 416-420-7728 or [email protected]