In November 2004, the Senate Human Rights Committee embarked on a study of Canada’s international obligations in relation to the rights and freedoms of children, filing an Interim Report, entitled Who’s in Charge Here? Effective Implementation of Canada’s International Obligations with Respect to the Rights of Children, a year later. The Interim Report indicated that the Convention on the Rights of the Child has not been incorporated into domestic law and that there were gaps in its implementation. The Interim Report also noted witnesses concerns about the lack of public awareness about the Convention and children’s rights in Canada.
From the outset, the Committee reviewed Canada’s international obligations with respect to children’s rights as a case study reflecting the broader implications of ensuring that domestic legislation and policies comply with Canada’s international human rights obligations, and in keeping with a broader mandate that began with this Committee’s first report in 2001, Promises to Keep: Implementing Canada’s Human Rights Obligations. The primary aim of this study was to assess whether the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child has been implemented, whether Canadian children are benefiting from it, and whether the Convention has been used as a tool to address key problems of facing children in this country.