Is Canada Failing its Children and Young People? - Reactions to the 2013 UNICEF Innocenti Report Card

Last modified by Ann Watkins on 2016/03/10 21:52


Is Canada failing its children and young people through lack of political focus on their health and wellbeing?  If so, where is the outrage and what should be done about it?

CAPHC is pleased to bring our colleagues from the Canadian Child and Youth Health Coalition (CCYHC), and their “CCYHC Hot Topics” to the CAPHC Presents! audience.

The panel will include Sir Al Aynsley-Green, former Children's Commissioner for England, Lisa Wolff, Director, Policy and Education, UNICEF Canada, and Dr. Sarah Jones, Pediatric Surgery, London Health Sciences Centre, Children's Hospital of Western Ontario, CCYHC Co-Chair.

There is persuasive evidence from international data on the outcomes of the wellbeing and health of children and youth that all is far from well for them in Canada, the UK and in some other developed nations. The UNICEF report of 2013, Child Well-being in Rich Countries: A comparative overview, shows Canada to be falling in the international league table to 17th position overall. This is disproportionately low in the context of Canada through its resources and wealth that make it one of the most advantaged nations world wide. The Report of the Concluding Observations of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child published in 2012 highlights how far Canada has to go in making sure that all children are able to benefit from the universal rights of protection, provision and participation. The WHO report on the social determinants of health and wellbeing of 2009/10 also highlight the challenges facing Canada's children and youth.The publication of these reports seems to have generated little media coverage or public discourse let alone political debate. Why is this the case?

An action-centred webinar focussing on health services for children and youth seeks to:

  • Raise awareness of international data and reports on the health and wellbeing outcomes of children and young people
  • Sight respondents on Canada's standing
  • Promote discussion on the current status of health services for children and youth in Canada
  • Identify where there are major gaps, deficiencies and challenges
  • Consider the need for a comprehensive report on the  'State of the Nation's Children's Health and Well-Being' as has recently been published in the UK by the British Medical Association in its report 'Growing up in the UK'. 
  • Consider how effective political advocacy is for children and young people's health at the Federal and Provincial levels and what should be done to improve it
  • How to raise public awareness by effective media engagement
  • Consider whether Article 12 of the UNCRC, namely the right of children and young people to be involved in making decision that affect them through their effective participation is being made real in health services policy and practice 
  • Consider priorities for action including every respondent identifying one action she or he will take in the light of the webinar's discussion.


Powerpoint Slides:

Resources to consider viewing in preparation for this webinar:


Sir Al Aynsley Green - Sir Al Aynsley-Green trained as a children’s physician, was James Spence Professor of Child Health in Newcastle upon Tyne, then Nuffield Professor and Director of Clinical Research at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children and the Institute of Child Health in London; he was the first National Clinical Director for Children in Government, and the first independent statutory Children’s Commissioner for England from 2005-10,

He is now Professor Emeritus of Child Health at University College London, and Founder of Aynsley-Green Consulting, engaging with governments and organisations worldwide on children, childhood and children’s services.

He was knighted by the Queen for his services to children and young people in 2006. 

He has a long-standing productive relationship with Canadian child health institutions and colleagues, including keynote speeches at CAPHC 2006 in Vancouver and the Killam Trust Lecturer in 2009 in Halifax; at the NeuroDevNet Congress in Toronto in 2012; at the Lieutenant Governor’s Circle on Mental Health in Edmonton, 2013, (focussing on the challenges of bereavement in childhood), and keynote speaker at the Innovations Forum of the Institute of Health Economics also in Edmonton in 2013.  He is a member of the Research Advisory Board, the Children and Family Research Institute at Vancouver Children’s Hospital.

Lisa Wolff, Director, Policy and Education, UNICEF Canada - Lisa has worked in the organization for more than a decade directing the domestic education and policy programs, which advance the rights of Canada’s children to develop to their fullest potential, consistent with international human rights standards.  Working with national, provincial/territorial and community government, institutions, civil society, researchers and private sector partners, Lisa has developed initiatives to advance children’s rights in policy, governance, child related programming and educational curricula. These include research publications on various aspects of children’s rights and well-being; programs such as UNICEF Canada’s Rights Respecting Schools Initiative, Bring Your MP to School Day and Quebec Municipalités amies des enfants; training for government and other institutions; public events and conferences; parliamentary engagement on legislative proposals and studies; among others. 

Lisa is a member of the Advocacy Task Force for UNICEF internationally, and a member of the Boards of Directors of PREVNet, the Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children, and the North-South Partnership for First Nations Children. She has a Bachelor of Environmental Studies from University of Waterloo, and a Bachelor of Education and Master of Education from the University of Toronto. Lisa received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal from the Governor-General of Canada in 2012.

Created by Doug Maynard on 2013/08/15 17:33