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Optional protocolon the involvement of children in armed conflict, on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography
Corporal punishmentCorporal Punishment is legal in the home, some alternative care settings, day care and some schools.
Overview of the child rights situation

In Canada, Aboriginal and African Canadian and Immigrant children are particularly exposed to discrimination. Furthermore, the cost of education is high. However, the basic needs of the majority of children in the State party are met.

Female genital mutilation and reproductive rights

The Committee is concerned about the number of pregnant girls and teenage mothers who drop out of school, which leads to poorer outcomes for their children.

Racism, children belonging to a minority and indigenous childrenThe Committee calls upon the State party to intensify cooperation with all minority community leaders and communities to find suitable solutions for children from these communities in need of alternative care.
Situation of children with disabilities

The Committee urges the State party to establish as soon as possible a system of global and disaggregated data collection on children with disabilities, which will enable the State party and all its provinces and territories to establish inclusive policies and equal opportunities for all children with disabilities. The Committee also urges to ensure that all children with disabilities have access, in all provinces and territories, to inclusive education and are not forced to attend segregated schools only designed for children with disabilities.
Canada should also ensure that children with disabilities, and their families, are provided with all necessary support and services in order to ensure that financial constraints are not an obstacle in accessing services and that household incomes and parental employment are not negatively affected. Canada should take all the necessary measures to protect children with disabilities from all forms of violence.

Situation of asylum-seeking, refugee and migrant childrenThe Committee welcomes the State party’s progressive policy on economic migration. The Committee regrets that the State party has not adopted a national policy on unaccompanied and asylum-seeking children and is concerned that the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act makes no distinction between accompanied and unaccompanied children and does not take into account the best interests of the child. The Committee is also deeply concerned that the frequent detention of asylum-seeking children is being done without consideration for the best interests of the child. Furthermore, while acknowledging that a representative is appointed for unaccompanied children, the Committee notes with concern that they are not provided with a guardian on a regular basis. Additionally, the Committee is concerned that Roma and other migrant children often await a decision about their deportation, in an uncertain status, for prolonged periods of time, even years.
Free kindergartenNo
Free primary and secondary schoolNo
Digital possibilitiesThe Committee notes as positive that the State party has demonstrated considerable political will to coordinate law enforcement agencies to combat sexual exploitation of children on the Internet.
physical health

The Committee notes as positive the free and widespread access to high-quality health care within the State party. However, the Committee notes with concern the high incidence of obesity among children in the State party and is concerned at the lack of regulations on the production and marketing of fast foods and other unhealthy foods, especially as targeted at children.
The Committee recommends that the State party address the incidence of obesity in children, by, inter alia, promoting a healthy lifestyle among children, including physical activity and ensuring greater regulatory controls over the production and advertisement of fast food and unhealthy foods, especially those targeted at children.

Relation to other countries
mental health

The Committee recommends that the State party strengthen and expand the quality of interventions to prevent suicide among children with particular attention to early detection, and expand access to confidential psychological and counselling services in all schools, including social work support in the home. In addition, Canada should establish a system of expert monitoring of the excessive use of psycho stimulants to children, and take action to understand the root causes and improve the accuracy of diagnoses while improving access to behavioural and psychological interventions. The Committee also recommends that the State party consider the establishment of a monitoring mechanism in each province and territory, under the ministries of health, to monitor and audit the practice of informed consent by health professionals in relation to the use of psychotropic drugs on children.

Impacts of climate change

The Committee recommends the consultations with companies on their plans to address environmental and health pollution and the human rights impact of their activities and their disclosure to the public.

Business sector

The Committee recommends that the State party establish and implement regulations to ensure that the business sector complies with international and national human rights, labour, environment and other standards, particularly with regard to child rights. In particular, it recommends that the State party ensure the establishment of a clear regulatory framework for, inter alia, the gas, mining, and oil companies operating in territories outside Canada to ensure that their activities do not impact on human rights or endanger environment and other standards, especially those related to children’s rights. The Committee further recommends the monitoring of implementation by companies at home and abroad of international and national environmental and health and human rights standards, and that appropriate sanctions and remedies are provided when violations occur with a particular focus on the impact on children.

Situation of juvenile justice

The Committee urges the State party to ensure that no person under 18 is tried as an adult, irrespective of the circumstances or the gravity of his/her offence, and it urges Canada to ensure the protection of privacy of children within the juvenile justice system. Canada should also develop guidelines for restraint and use of force against children in arrest and detention for use by all law enforcement officers and personnel in detention facilities, including the abolishment of use of tasers.
In addition, the Committee urges Canada to conduct an extensive study of systemic overrepresentation of Aboriginal and African Canadian children and youth in the criminal justice system and develop an effective action plan towards eliminating the disparity in rates of sentencing and incarceration of Aboriginal and African Canadian children and youth, including activities such as training of all legal, penitentiary and law enforcement professionals on the Convention. Further, Canada should ensure that girls are held separately from boys and that girls are monitored by female prison guards so as to better protect girls from the risk of sexual violence and exploitation.

Specific observations

The Committee is concerned that income inequality is widespread and growing and that no national strategy has been developed to comprehensively address child poverty despite a commitment by Parliament to end child poverty by 2000. The Committee is especially concerned about the inequitable distribution of tax benefits and social transfers for children. Furthermore, the Committee is concerned that the provision of welfare services to Aboriginal children, African Canadian and children of other minorities is not comparable in quality and accessibility to services provided to other children in the State party and is not adequate to meet their needs.

The Committee welcomes the recent return of Omar Kadr to the custody of the State party. However, the Committee is concerned that as a former child soldier, Omar Kadr has not been accorded the rights and appropriate treatment under the Convention. In particular, the Committee is concerned that he experienced grave violations of his human rights, which the Canadian Supreme Court recognized, including his maltreatment during his years of detention in Guantanamo, and that he has not been afforded appropriate redress and remedies for such violations.

Additional background

Concluding observations on the third and fourth periodic reports released on 6 December 2012. While the Committee positively acknowledges the State party’s efforts towards removing its reservations to article 37(c) of the Convention, the Committee strongly recommends to withdrawal of its reservation to article 37(c).

Last Updated (date)23rd of February, 2022