As part of the Millennium Development Goals (External link) that were developed by the member states of the United Nations, a shared vision for children and youth revolves around core principles of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). These goals are to
Canada ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (External link) (UNCRC) in 1991. The UNCRC is an international treaty with respect to the rights of children under the age of 18. The Public Health Agency of Canada shares responsibility with the Department of Justice Canada for coordinating implementation of the UNCRC at the federal level. The UNCRC outlines the responsibilities governments and adults have toward children and their families, by ensuring a child's right to survival, healthy development, and protection from harm, abuse, and exploitation, as well as full participation in family, cultural, and social life. The UNCRC is the most comprehensive of international treaties, and the only one with near-universal ratification by UN member states.
Canada has also ratified the two Optional Protocols to the UNCRC. The Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (External link) (OP-AC) was ratified on July 7, 2000, and the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography (External link) (OP-Sale) was ratified on September 14, 2005.
Pursuant to the UNCRC, Canada is obliged to file periodic National Reports with the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (External link) , the treaty body responsible for overseeing the implementation of the UNCRC. Canada submitted its First Report in June 1994 , its Second Report (External link) in April 2001 and its Combined Third and Fourth Report (External link) in November 2009. Each report outlines the relevant domestic measures that Canada has taken to meet obligations under the Convention. The Committee subsequently issues Concluding Observations (External link) which generally note any positive progress, raise issues of concern and provide recommendations for future work.
Canada is party to five other human rights treaties, all of which require the filing of periodic reports and which encourage NGO participation. These human rights treaties are
The World Health Organization (External link) (WHO) is a specialized UN agency for health that has a coordinating and authoritative role on issues of international health. Established in 1948, it serves as a central international organization for the consensus on health matters of international significance. WHO is a leading organization for global health policy, advocacy, research, norms, international standards, and best practices for all countries. Canada supports the work of WHO and is guided by WHO produced documents including the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion. Working with WHO, Canada plays an important role in improving health outcomes for children and youth in some of the world’s poorest countries. Initiatives in which Canada has collaborated with WHO include contributing to the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health (External link) and the implementation of the WHO Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health (External link) .
UNICEF is a special organization, mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to advocate for the protection of children’s rights, assist them in meeting their basic needs, and to expand their opportunities in order for them to reach their full potential. Through their activities and publications, UNICEF advocates for the rights of every child, everywhere. UNICEF is guided by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and supports the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
Every year, UNICEF publishes The State of the World's Children, the most comprehensive and authoritative report on the world's youngest citizens, combining analyses, human interest stories, country profiles, maps and statistical data for over 190 countries and territories.
Since 2004, UNICEF has published Progress for Children, a report-card-like series, scheduled to be published two to three times each year, on the progress being made towards achievement of the Millennium Development Goals in 2015.
The Innocenti Research Centre undertakes original research to improve international understanding of issues relating to children's rights. The Centre's Report Card series focuses on the well-being of children in industrialized countries. Each Report Card includes a league table ranking the countries of the OECD according to their record on the subject under discussion.