Ontario's Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth embarks on annual Listening Tour to meet with young people from across care systems

TORONTO, Nov. 18, 2016 /CNW/ - In recognition of National Child Day on November 20, the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth will embark on his third annual Listening Tour where he will meet with children and youth from across his office's mandate areas. The 2016 Listening Tour will begin on November 18, and end on the 26.

"I never cease to be amazed by young people's courage, wisdom and their willingness to work to make Ontario and Canada an even better place where all children can grow and flourish," said Irwin Elman, Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth. "There is no better way to recognize National Child Day and reaffirm our country's commitment to children's rights under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) than by listening to young people about their hopes, needs and challenges."

2016 marks the 25th anniversary of Canada's ratification of the convention —a human rights treaty that outlines the inalienable rights of every child. November 20 marks the date the United Nations adopted the landmark convention.

During the Listening Tour, the Provincial Advocate will meet with approximately 400 children and youth between the ages of 10 to 24 who are receiving or seeking services from the province's care systems (child welfare; youth justice; children's mental health and special needs), and First Nations children and youth. He will travel to Orillia, Hawkstone, Toronto, Oshawa, Brockville, Kingston, Ottawa, Thunder Bay, Brantford, Guelph, London, Goderich and Ingersoll.

Every five years, Canada is reviewed by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on its progress in implementing the convention. Findings from the Listening Tour will inform the Advocate's "Alternate Report" which will be submitted to the UN Committee during Canada's next review, scheduled for 2018.

In preparation of that date, the Provincial Advocate has written to the Prime Minister of Canada and the Premier of Ontario, encouraging them to involve young people leading up to the next review.

"We must engage in discussions with children and youth from across Ontario and Canada to ask how they feel we are living up to our commitments under the convention," said Elman. "Our next report to the UN is an opportunity to tell all children, through listening to them, that they matter to us. I urge Ontario, and Canada, to begin the process today in recognition of National Child Day."

A report summarizing last year's tour, "Reality Check: Findings from the second annual listening tour of the Ontario Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth," is available at: Reality Check

About the Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth
The Office of the Provincial Advocate reports directly to the Legislature and provides an independent voice for children and youth, including children with special needs and First Nations children. The advocates receive and respond to concerns from children, youth and families who are seeking or receiving services under the Child and Family Services Act and the Education Act (Provincial and Demonstration Schools).

The Office is guided by the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and has a strong commitment to youth involvement. For more information, visit: www.provincialadvocate.on.ca. For updates, read the Advocate's Blog and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.


Backgrounder

About the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
Adopted in 1989, the UNCRC changed how children were viewed and treated. The human rights treaty outlines the inalienable rights of every child in three key areas: provision, participation and protection.

The Convention is based on four principles:

  • Article 3 : The best interests of the child should be the first consideration for actions that affect a child
  • Article 6 : All children have the right to life, survival and development
  • Article 12 : All children have the right to participate; and,
  • Article 2: All rights belong to all children without discrimination or exception.

The Convention also acknowledges the key role of parents and families in the lives of children and young people. For a complete listing of the UNCRC, visit the UNICEF's child friendly backgrounder.

Today, the human rights treaty has been ratified by 194 countries, including Canada in 1991. This year marks Canada's 25th anniversary since the Convention was ratified. 

To ensure that countries are living up to their commitments, they must periodically appear before the United Nation's Committee on the Rights of the Child to report on their progress.

SOURCE Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth

For further information: Media Contact: Akihiko Tse, Communications, Media Relations Coordinator, (416)-325-5994, akihiko.tse@provincialadvocate.on.ca, Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth

RELATED LINKS
http://provincialadvocate.on.ca

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