Provincial Advocate hosts annual listening tour to "take stock" of Ontario's commitment to children and youth

TORONTO, Nov. 13, 2015 /CNW/ - In recognition of the National Day of the Child on November 20th and the creation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), Ontario's Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth will meet with approximately 250 young people from across the province's care systems (e.g. child welfare, treatment centers, youth justice) during an annual, listening tour.

"I undertake a listening tour every November to mark the creation of the UNCRC, which guarantees fundamental human rights to every child," said Provincial Advocate Irwin Elman. "The listening tour provides an important opportunity for children and youth to speak openly about their lived experiences and whether the promise of the Convention is a reality in their lives."

From November 15 to 23, the Provincial Advocate will meet with children and youth (between the ages of 12 to 24) in children's mental health centers; First Nations communities; child welfare agencies; youth justice facilities; provincial demonstration schools; and community treatment centers.

This year's listening tour will reach Ottawa, Coburg, Prince Edward County, Belleville, Peterborough, Collingwood, Guelph, Timmins and Toronto. The schedule is as follows:

Sunday, November 15Ottawa
Monday, November 16 – Prince Edward County, Cobourg
Tuesday, November 17Peterborough, Belleville
Wednesday, November 18Collingwood, Guelph
Thursday, November 19Grand River
Friday, November 20-21Timmins and surrounding area
Sunday, November 22-23 - Toronto

On the final day of the tour, the Provincial Advocate will meet with The Premier's Council on Youth Opportunities to engage them in Canada's impending report in 2018 to the United Nations on adherence to the UNCRC and Ontario's role in creating that report.

"In 2018, Canada will meet with the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child to report on its progress in fully implementing the Convention. The provincial government writes a part of this report. In the past, this was written in the shadows," said Elman. "My Office is committed to ensuring that children and youth are part of a conversation that shapes what the United Nations will hear from Ontario. Our listening tours will be but one part of that process. I invite the government to join us in engaging the children and youth of this province in a conversation about their lives."

A report summarizing last year's listening tour is available at: Children's Rights Matter

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 Provincial Advocate may identify systemic problems involving children, conduct reviews and provide education and advice on the issue of advocacy and the rights of children.

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.

The Provincial Advocate's comments to the UN Committee on 2013 is available at: document

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. Today, the human rights treaty has been ratified by 194 countries, including Canada.

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. November 20th was chosen to mark the anniversary of the UNCRC.

Every five years, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child conducts a review to monitor the progress of each country that signed the Convention. As part of this process, each country is required to file an official report to the UN about how the country is living up to its commitments to children. Alternate or shadow reports from the country under review can be submitted by organizations or individuals that have a key interest in children's rights.

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SOURCE Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth

For further information: Media Contact: Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, Phone: (416) 325-5669 or Toll-free: 1-800-263-2841


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