Part III - Measures Adopted by the Governments of the Provinces - Canadian Heritage

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Part III - Measures Adopted by the Governments of the Provinces

Newfoundland and Labrador

General measures of implementation
(Articles 4, 42 and 44)

Child expenditures

114.
The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador invests in early intervention and youth support services. Resource allocations, including those under the rubric of the Poverty Reduction Strategy specifically for the support of youth at risk can be found in the annual budgets at www.gov.nl.ca/publicat/.
 

Data collection and dissemination

115.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Statistics Agency is the official Statistical Focal Point for the province and is governed by the Statistics Agency Act (www.assembly.nl.ca/legislation/sr/statutes/s24.htm),introduced in 1977. The Agency acts as Newfoundland and Labrador's official representative on statistical issues and communicates the needs of the province to Statistics Canada through participation in regular federal-provincial-territorial meetings. The mandate of the Agency is to collect, analyze and publish statistics relating to the activities and conditions of Newfoundland and Labrador and its population and to establish and promote appropriate standards and procedures for the collection and analysis of statistics within government departments. The Agency is also involved in a number of research efforts related to the collection and development of information that have relevance to at-risk populations of children such as the Newfoundland and Labrador Market Basket Measure of Low Income, Profiling At Risk of Homelessness in Newfoundland and Labrador as well as the Community Crime and Safety Account as part of the System of Community Accounts.
 

Coordination and monitoring of children's rights

116.
Through its enabling legislation, the Child and Youth Advocate Act, SNL2001, c.C-12.01, (www.assembly.nl.ca/Legislation/sr/statutes/c12-01.htm), the Newfoundland and Labrador Office of the Child and Youth Advocate, which is an independent office of the House of Assembly, has the authority to represent the rights, interests and perspectives of children and youth who are entitled to receive services and access programs provided by the provincial government.
 
117.
TheGovernment of Newfoundland and Labrador cooperates on issues related to education through the Provincial Safe and Caring Schools Advisory Team and the Individual Support Services Plan/Pathway Commission.
 

Complaint mechanisms

118.
The Child and Youth Advocate Act was amended in June 2008, to expand the authority of the Child and Youth Advocate to enhance the investigatory powers of the advocate in conducting investigations under the Act.
 

Definition of the child
(Article 1)

119.
On May 26, 2005, Newfoundland and Labrador amended the Human Rights Code (www.assembly.nl.ca/legislation/sr/statutes/h14.htm) by adding a new subsection permitting denials or refusals of goods, services, accommodations and facilities to persons under the age of majority where the denial or refusal is required or authorized by another Act or regulation.
 
120.
In December 2005, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador adopted the Family Violence Protection Act (www.justice.gov.nl.ca/just/Family_Violence_Protection_Act.htm), which came into force on July 1, 2006. Section 2(b) of this Act defines "child" as a child born within or outside marriage who ordinarily or periodically resides with the applicant and is under the age of 19 years and unmarried and includes (i) a child adopted under the Adoption Act (www.assembly.nl.ca/legislation/sr/statutes/a02-1.htm), (ii) a child whom the applicant has demonstrated a settled intention to treat as a child of his or her family, and (iii) a child in the actual care and custody of the applicant.[23]

General principles
(Articles 2, 3, 6 and 12)

Non-discrimination

121.
Some of the initiatives undertaken by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador include: the Safe and Caring Schools Policy (www.ed.gov.nl.ca/edu/k12/studentsupportservices/publications/scs_prov
_policy.pdf
) (2006); training, implementation and support for the School Wide Positive Behaviour Program (2006); re-establishment of the Safe and Caring Provincial Advisory Group (2006); and the implementation of a web site aimed at preventing youth violence (www.outragenl.ca).
 

Best interests of the child

122.
The Child, Youth and Family Services Act (www.assembly.nl.ca/Legislation/sr/statutes/c12-1.htm) was amended in 2006 to allow for the hiring of a second director in the Labrador portion of the province to deal specifically with the two Innu communities. In 2003, a new Risk Management System was introduced for the protective intervention program provided under the Act. The Child, Youth and Family Services Policy Manual was revised in 2006 and from 2006-2008 there have been considerable investments in the program. This has included additional human resources and investments in information technology, training, and quality initiatives aimed at strengthening capacity to deliver programs and services.
 

Training of professionals

123.
In 2006, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador provided fiscal and human resources to develop and implement a provincial training plan for social workers and supervisors in the Child, Youth and Family Services Program. This resulted in an enhanced orientation for social workers that begin employment. Work has already been completed in training in the area of domestic violence.
 
124.
Youth Care Center Counsellors working at the Newfoundland and Labrador Youth Center are required to have a minimal standard of training and/or experience to ensure that the basic rules, policies, and procedures are regularly followed. Some of the training sessions attended by staff at the Centre include: Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training; National Workshop on Drug Treatment; Aboriginal Justice Conference; Crime Prevention; Working Together for Healthy/Safer Families and Communities; Best Practices on Working with Aboriginal Youth; Youth Violence Conference; Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder; and, Train the Trainer in Anger Management and Stopping Bullying.
 
125.
A Multi-Disciplinary Team at the Newfoundland and Labrador Youth Centre have engaged in discussions around the Convention and the Beijing Rules. A project was completed and presentation made to staff on the provisions of the Convention and its comparison with the Newfoundland and Labrador Youth Centre Policies. A detailed analysis of the Youth Centers Rules Manual, Medical Manual, Social Work Manual and Parent Handbook was undertaken to determine the Centre's adherence to the rights outlined in the Convention. As well, the Convention is included in the Facility Rules Manual for the Youth Centre.
 

Family environment and alternative care
(Articles 5, 9-11, 18-21, 25, 27 and 39)

126.
Children living in alternative care are provided regular access to their biological parents, siblings or significant others when it is deemed to be in their best interest. Financial, social work, or supervisory support is provided to facilitate access as required. Siblings in alternative care are placed together when possible.
 

Adoption, search for birth parents and access to parental medical history

127.
The provisions of the Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoptions were extended to the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in April 2003.
 
128.
The Adoption Act, proclaimed in 2003, is based on the principle of best interest of the child, which is to be paramount in any decision relating to a child. This legislation introduced new provisions for openness in adoption, disclosure of identifying birth information to an adopted person and the birth parent(s) when the adopted person reaches the age of 19.
 
129.
The Adoption Act provides for openness agreements in adoption. Complete medical and social histories are gathered on children and provided to adoptive parents. Post-adoption services are available and exchange of information (without direct contact) is facilitated between adopted children and their adopted parents and birth parents. Disclosure of identifying birth information is possible when the adopted person reaches age 19 for all adoptions completed prior to 2003 if the adopted person or the birth parent does not veto release of the information. All adoptions completed after April 2003 will have no veto provision. Persons adopted after April 2003 and their birth parents will be entitled to receive identifying birth information when the adopted person reaches age 19.

Child care and support services

130.
Under the Poverty Reduction Strategy, Newfoundland and Labrador has made significant investments in child care services. There has been an emphasis on increasing capacity to provide more child care spaces and the allowable income of parents receiving subsidy has increased, thus allowing more families access to subsidized child care. In an effort to improve services, resources have been put in place to support inclusion of children with special needs in child care settings; training in quality child care has been offered to child care centers; and recruitment and retention measures to attract trained and qualified staff are on-going.
 

Child and family benefits and other initiatives addressing child poverty

131.
The province has two benefit programs designed for assisting children of low-income families. The Newfoundland and Labrador Child Benefit (NLCB), implemented in July, 1999, is a refundable benefit that is available to families with a net income of $17,397 or less. Effective July 1, 2007, the amount available was indexed annually utilizing the Consumer Price Index. Partial benefits are available to families with income levels between $17,397 and $22,397. In July 2007, benefits to eligible individuals under the Mother-Baby Nutritional Supplement increased from $45 per month to $60 per month. The Supplement is a monthly financial supplement to the NLCB and is available to low-income expectant mothers and families with children under the age of one and is intended to offset the cost of additional nutritional requirements of pregnancy and infancy. During the month of the child's birth, there is an additional one-time payment of $90.
 
132.
In June 2006, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador released the Poverty Reduction Strategy, Reducing Poverty, An Action Plan for Newfoundland and Labrador. The Strategy is a government-wide approach to transform Newfoundland and Labrador from a province with the most poverty to one with the least over a ten-year period. It includes initiatives and programs which target the groups most vulnerable to poverty.
 
133.
The Government of Newfoundland has undertaken an initiative to create a community- and neighbourhood-level market basket measure (MBM) of low income. Based on the Government of Canada MBM, the new Newfoundland and Labrador MBM of Low Income will examine the level of family income compared to the cost of goods and services required for an adequate standard of living in individual communities across the province. In effect, families and individuals with incomes below the cost of goods and services in their community are defined as being in low income. The availability of this tool to governments and citizens, and in particular the Poverty Reduction Strategy, will promote a deeper understanding of where low income is located and to what degree low income exists, its relation to the social and economic landscape of the province's communities and regions, and how best to develop sustainable anti-poverty solutions.
 
134.
The Poverty Reduction Strategy supports a broad mix of policy and programs to prevent, reduce and alleviate poverty. The five main goals of the strategy are improved access to services, a stronger social safety net, improved earned incomes, a strong focus on the needs of children and families, and a better educated population. There is an annual $100 million investment in this strategy including a series of targeted investments for persons with disabilities, families with low income, women vulnerable to poverty, youth and seniors in the province. Measures include: increased grants for the province's women's centres; increases to the minimum wage; increase and indexation of Income Support rates; and increased availability of family law support services. In order to better protect people who live with poverty from discrimination, changes were made to the Human Rights Code to prevent discrimination based on source of income.
 
135.
Additional information on the Poverty Reduction Strategy is available in Canada's Sixth and Seventh Reports under CEDAW.
 

Illicit transfer and non-return

136.
The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador follows the international child abduction procedures set out in the Hague Convention. The 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction has been adopted at section 54 of the Children's Law Act (www.assembly.nl.ca/legislation/sr/statutes/c13.htm).No new measures have been implemented in this regard since 2003.
 

Use of minor corrective force and alternatives to physical discipline of children

137.
The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador's Child Protection policy specifies that physical discipline should not be used and is not acceptable. Foster families are advised of a no tolerance policy for physical discipline. Prospective adoptive parents are assessed for their acceptance of physical discipline and screened out if they do not demonstrate that they understand its impact on children and its inappropriate use as a method of discipline. Parenting programs offered within the province address the inappropriateness of physical discipline and offer instruction on acceptable methods. A number of educational initiatives that indirectly impact on fostering alternatives to corporal punishment include the Safe and Caring Schools Policy (2006), the Focus on Bullying Resource (2007) and the Alternate School Policy (2006).
 
138.
Policies against physical discipline also exist regarding youth in conflict with the law. Youth Care Counsellors, who are the primary caregivers of youth in custody, are required to review policies and procedures on an ongoing basis.

Basic health and welfare
(Articles 6, 18, 23, 24, 26 and 27)

Pregnancy and early childhood development

139.
In 2005, additional funding to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) prevention programs was announced by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.
 

Health care for Aboriginal and rural children

140.
The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador works with the Government of Canada and the Aboriginal people on better integration and service delivery models for health services. Combining funding resources from the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Government of Canada, the Aboriginal groups contribute to a better health delivery model and help avoid duplication of services. Examples of projects funded by the Aboriginal Health Transition Fund (AHTF)[24] include the development of a Labrador Integration Plan, which will focus on community-based health services and development of a culturally appropriate and gender sensitive Behaviour Health AIDE Training Program in Labrador for children with FASD. Since January 2008, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has been working with Aboriginal groups to inform and encourage them to seek funding through the AHTF.
 

Aboriginal youth suicide prevention

141.
Newfoundland and Labrador has a Suicide and Detrimental Lifestyles Grants Program that provides funding to organizations to develop innovative programs that are targeted at improving the health, circumstances and well-being of Aboriginal youth throughout the province. The program provides a means whereby culturally appropriate approaches are used to address issues such as drug and alcohol abuse, delinquency as well as other detrimental lifestyles.
 

Adequate housing

142.
Under the Poverty Reduction Strategy, there is supported programming and the development of supported living arrangements for youth over 16 who can not live at home. The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has also funded the Tommy Sexton Centre that opened in 2006, to provide supportive housing to families living with AIDS.
 

Homelessness

143.
In 2007, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador partnered with the St. John's Community Advisory Committee on Homelessness and Stella Burry Community Services to produce a Community Plan Assessment (CPA) on homelessness for the St. John's Census Metropolitan Area. A major objective of the CPA was to examine existing and new data to profile homelessness and related factors. In addition, new indicators were developed using the Newfoundland and Labrador Market Basket Measure of Low Income to examine low income populations at risk of not being able to afford adequate housing.
 
144.
The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and Stella Burry Community Services are partnering on two initiatives funded through the Government of Canada's Homelessness Knowledge Development Program: the Data Development and Coordination Project and Profiling at Risk of Housing Affordability in Newfoundland and Labrador. The Data Development and Coordination Project will establish a common network where homelessness stakeholders from across the province will collectively develop and support regional strategies that define and measure homelessness, identify and address knowledge gaps, and introduce, adapt and apply uniform and consistent data coordination practices.
 

Education, leisure and cultural activities
(Articles 28, 29 and 31)

Education for Aboriginal children, rural children and children at risk

145.
Some of the initiatives put in place to deal with higher drop-out rates include the implementation of School-wide Positive Behaviour Supports, Focus on Safe and Caring Schools as an integral part of school development, Behaviour Support Specialists and the Aboriginal Education Initiative.
 
146.
In 2004, a report was issued on the educational needs of Innu children. The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador committed to work with the Innu and the Government of Canada to address the issues identified in the report and to prepare for the devolution of the schools to the Innu. This included hiring consultants for Aboriginal Education and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Funding has also been provided to locate two social workers in schools in Labrador; for home/school liaison workers and to introduce a breakfast/lunch program in one school.
 
147.
In 2007, funding was provided to support Aboriginal students through enhanced guidance services, an interchange program for students in Grade 8 and Level 1, cultural sensitivity training for teachers, a training institute to help high school students prepare to work on industrial projects in Labrador, adapting the Futures in Skills Trades program to Labrador and after-school programs to support students' health, social and academic growth.
 
148.
The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Government of Canada, Innu Nation and Bands are building Band schools in Sheshatshiu and Natuashish for the 2009-2010 academic year. To this end, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador provided a $4 million contribution towards the construction of a new school in Sheshatshiu. The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador delivers education on the two reserves, under an agreement with the Government of Canada.
 

Seeking views of children on discipline

149.
Discussions of disciplinary measures in schools are available through the Safe and Caring Schools Policy, which highlights school-wide Positive Behaviour Supports initiatives (www.ed.gov.nl.ca/edu/k12/studentsupportservices/publications
/scs_prov_policy.pdf
).

Special protection measures
(Articles 22, 30 and 32-40)

Protection of Aboriginal children

150.
The Northern Strategic Plan, released in 2007, includes many initiatives that will be of benefit to Aboriginal communities in Labrador, including funding for an electricity rebate for homeowners using diesel-generated power in rural isolated communities along the Labrador coast.
 
151.
The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is working with the Government of Canada and other provinces and territories to review available information sources on Aboriginal demographic and social trends in an effort to enhance data sources and identify a set of high level demographic/socioeconomic indicators that are meaningful to all jurisdictions.
 

Protection of refugee children, separated children and unaccompanied children seeking asylum

152.
Refugee children and unaccompanied asylum seeking children are protected by the general appointment process for guardianship of children set out in Part IV of the Children's Law Act
 

Protection of children from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse, and the sale, trafficking and abduction of children

153.
The Office of the Child and Youth Advocate is mandated to promote measures for the protection and safety of children. The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have officers assigned to matters of child protection and safety. In addition, section 14 of the province's Child, Youth and Family Services Act, SNL1998, c.C-12.1, states that a child is in need of protective intervention where, inter alia, a child is at risk of being sexually abused or exploited by the child's parent or is at risk of being sexually abused or exploited by another person and the child's parent does not protect the child. Both situations give cause for a protective intervention hearing to enable the child to be put in the protective custody of another person or the Director of Child Youth and Family Services.
 

Protection from economic exploitation

154.
The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador does not collect information or data that specifically addresses the employment of children. However, as increased youth employment is a trend in today's market, school-based presentations have been implemented to inform youth about their workplace rights and responsibilities.
 
155.
A marketing initiative to better inform employees and employers of their rights and responsibilities and the value of productive work relationships in the workplace includes additional emphasis in the area of youth employment.
 

Children in conflict with the law

156.
A Pre-Trial Services Program has been developed to reduce the number of youth in detention and the amount of time a youth is detained in custody pending trial and to partner with a continuum of community-based services in supporting youth and their families. This program incorporates a number of best practices for youth in conflict with the law. It has three main components: verification, supervision, and programs/community linkages in working with youth and their families.
 
157.
Several modifications were made to the Provincial Social Work Policy consistent with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, including reintegration leave to successfully reintegrate youth back to the community during their custodial sentence. This facilitates the young person's need for self-development and access to other programs to assist rehabilitation. Youth are fully informed of the province's reintegration leave policy and procedures as well as their right to apply for reintegration leave. They are fully informed of the reasons for denial, as well as given an explanation of the reasons for the revocation of the reintegration leave, should this occur.
 
158.
In 2003, an Intensive Rehabilitative Custody and Supervision Order (IRCSO) was introduced to enhance counselling services for youth involved with the criminal justice system. Youth who have received an IRCSO and are sentenced to secure/open custody or to some other community option have access to a full-time psychologist. Services are delivered through a psychology service team model where there are two principle professional psychologists who share a full-time position. These psychologists are part of a greater professional team that includes a Clinical Therapist, Nurse Practitioner, Social Worker, teachers, Youth Care Counsellors and a Recreation Development Specialist. Advanced therapeutic services include addictions, treatment of youth who sexually offend, youth who violently offend and the development and implementation of an Electroencephalogram (EEG) Neurofeedback and Biofeedback Program for youth. The positions have allowed a higher level of clinical counselling services to meet the needs of youth in secure custody as well as the community. These services have included follow-up with youth while on reintegration or releases to the community as well as development of additional community counselling programs.
 
159.
The Social Development Groups address significant underlying factors affecting the young person's involvement in criminal behaviour. Since 2003, new group counselling programs have been developed for youth in custody: Youth Substance Abuse Management Program, Adolescent Healthy Sexuality Program, as well as modifications to the Provincial Anger Management Program. Group counselling programs in the community as well as family counselling have been in place since 2003.
 
160.
In December 2005, an Aboriginal Steering Committee was formed to enhance services and programs for Aboriginal youth on remand or secure custody sentences. This has resulted in recognition of National Aboriginal Day, Culture Days and Culture Camps at the Newfoundland and Labrador Youth Center for both the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth in custody. In addition, a web-cam program was developed to enhance communication and family contact among youth and their relatives who reside at greater geographical distances and are unable to visit the Center.

Prince Edward Island

General measures of implementation
(Articles 4, 42 and 44)

Child expenditures

161.
Resource allocations, including those for services for children in Prince Edward Island can be found in the provincial budget, at www.gov.pe.ca/budget/2008/index.php.
 

Data collection and dissemination

162.
As part of a national initiative, since December 1999, the Understanding the Early Years (UEY) Project in Prince Edward Island has been gathering information about pre-school age children, families and communities. For more information on the initiative, please visit www.hrsdc.gc.ca/en/hip/sd/300_UEYInfo.shtml
 
163.
The Prince Edward Island Reproductive Care Program collects pre- and post-natal data on women and their newborn children (www.gov.pe.ca/health/index.php3?number=1020356&lang=E).
 
164.
Prince Edward Island participates in the Canadian Education Statistics Council (CESC), a joint initiative between the Council of Ministers of Education and the Government of Canada. The Strategic Management Committee, consisting of representatives from each federal, provincial and territorial (F-P/T) jurisdiction, is the operational mechanism for the CESC. 
 
165.
The Liaison Officers' Committee for the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics provides a similar F-P/T mechanism for sharing of justice statistics, including youth justice data. The Coordinating Committee of Senior Officials - Youth Justice is also an F-P/T mechanism which shares youth justice data.
 

Complaint mechanisms

166.
For children who feel their rights have been violated, the Prince Edward Island School Act (www.gov.pe.ca/law/statutes/pdf/s-02_1.pdf) includes an appeal provision that reads:
 

(1) Where a decision of a school board employee significantly affects the education, health or safety of a student, a parent of the student may appeal the decision to the school board in accordance with the regulations.
(2) The parent shall have the right to be heard on an appeal under this section.
(3) The decision of the school board on the appeal shall be final and binding on the student and the student's parent and no further appeal lies therefrom.

Promoting awareness and understanding of the Convention

167.
For Our Children, A Strategy for Healthy Child Development refers to and summarizes the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) (www.gov.pe.ca/photos/original/ForOurChildren.pdf). A Rights Poster for youth in custody, based on the CRC and the Youth Criminal Justice Act, is in the Resident Handbook given to young persons and their parents and is displayed in every living unit at the Prince Edward Island Youth Centre.
 

General principles
(Articles 2, 3, 6 and 12)

168.
For Our Children, A Strategy for Healthy Child Development has been in place since October 2000. The strategy was mentioned under Interagency Mechanisms in Canada's First Report on the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography (OP-SC).
 
169.
The Strategy emphasizes a holistic description of Healthy Child Development and has adopted the goals of the National Children's Agenda as a set of broad societal outcomes for children:
 
  • Safety and security
  • Good health
  • Success at learning
  • Social belonging and responsibility
170.
The Prince Edward Island Partnerships for Children promotes healthy outcomes for young children in the province. In addition to supporting children and families, the initiative is intended to strengthen community-based networks. Through this program, each working group network is allocated funding for initiatives which support the key action areas outlined in the Healthy Child Development Strategy. Further information about Partnerships for Children from 2002 to 2006 is available through the web site listed above.
 
171.
The Interdepartmental Advisory Committee on Youth Substance Use and Addiction Strategy (www.gov.pe.ca/health/index.php3?number=1020443) has been meeting since December 2007, to establish general directions and detailed planning in the areas of prevention, education, early intervention, treatment, counselling, and aftercare. 
 
172.
A new health curriculum has been implemented in Prince Edward Island schools for grades 1-9. The aim of the health curriculum is to enable students to make well-informed, healthy choices and to develop behaviours that contribute to the well-being of self and others. The curriculum emphasizes healthy interactions and safe and caring relationships, accepting and appreciating diversity, and the uniqueness of self and others.
 

Best interests of the child

173.
The main purpose of the Child Protection Act (www.canlii.org/pe/laws/sta/c-5.1/20090324/whole.html) is to protect children from harm because of abuse and neglect and to protect the best interests of children. In Prince Edward Island, regulations require that the Act be reviewed every three years. A review was completed in 2008. Following a series of public consultations, a report was made public in November 2008.  
 
174.
For examples of training in Prince Edward Island on principles related to the "best interests of the child," please see Canada's First Report on the OP-SC.

Family environment and alternative care
(Articles 5, 9-11, 18-21, 25, 27 and 39)

Adoption, search for birth parents and access to parental medical history

175.
Prince Edward Island's contribution to Canada's Second Report on the CRC indicated that the province already had in place the Intercountry Adoption (Hague Convention) Act (www.peigov.ca/law/statutes/pdf/i-04_1.pdf), which came into force in 1994. This Act fully implements the Hague Convention of 1993.
 
176.
Officials from the Government of Canada, in collaboration with provincial and territorial family law officials, have been analyzing the implications of Canada becoming a party to and domestically implementing the 1996 Hague Convention on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Co-operation in Respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children (the "1996 Convention"). Implementing legislation would be required for the 1996 Convention to gain domestic legal force in Canada.
 

Child care and support services

177.
Plans are underway for the integration of kindergarten with the public education system. The Best Start program is being expanded to assist families with children up to two years of age. An additional $389,500 has been allocated to fund child care maintenance and child care special needs as part of the Early Learning and Child Care Action Plan.
 
178.
The age of entry policy is being changed to move the cut off date from October 31 to December 31 so that children will be eligible to enter kindergarten if they are five years old by December 31 and primary school if they are six years old by December 31. This change in policy will allow children to benefit from kindergarten and school programs at an earlier age and will put the Prince Edward Island age of entry in line with most other provinces.
 
179.
Since 2002, the Prince Edward Island Healthy Eating Alliance has helped with the development, support and implementation of a variety of food programs (breakfast and snack) in schools. Beginning in 2004, the three school boards in the province developed healthy eating policies for schools. Each year funding has been received by "Breakfast for Learning," a national NGO, which supports food programs in schools across Canada. There are 35 breakfast and 18 snack programs offered in Prince Edward Island schools. In the 2008-2009 provincial budget, the Government of Prince Edward Island announced funding to support the expansion of these programs province-wide. These programs would be optional for schools as needs are identified (as outlined in the School Nutrition Policies) and universally accessible for all students in a non-stigmatizing way. 
 

Child and family benefits and other initiatives addressing child poverty

180.
Research is being conducted into the implementation of a provincial Poverty Reduction Strategy.  
 
181.
The KidSport Fund (www.sportpei.pe.ca/index.php?page=main&pageid=9) of Prince Edward Island was established in 1997. The fund assists families with limited financial resources by providing funds for sporting programs and/or mandatory equipment. Through government, corporate and community support, the KidSport Fund has helped more than 3,000 Island children get involved in sport. In 2007, the Kidsport Fund of Prince Edward Island disbursed grants totaling more than $80,000 on behalf of 475 Island children. One hundred percent of the funds raised for KidSport go directly to the children.
 
182.
Roots of Empathy is a literacy-based parenting course teaching human development and learning, and designed to reinforce a love and respect of reading and children's literature (www.rootsofempathy.org/PrinceEdwardIsland.html). In addition to three days of training, this project provides trained facilitators with the literacy resources necessary to run Roots of Empathy programs for over 300 children in Island schools. The facilitators are community volunteers and health and education system staff that have been given the opportunity to participate by their employers. All facilitators are evaluated as part of the certification process, and all participants evaluate their experience in a written form. The results of the evaluation are compiled and reported on by the Roots of Empathy trainers. A mix of focus groups and one-on-one interviews with local stakeholders also contribute to the evaluation process. As part of their training, facilitators are also required to take part in an on-site evaluation, complete a written exam, attend a one-day refresher course, and submit classroom materials. This project allows for the incorporation of the Provincial Literacy Strategy with family literacy principles and ideals.
 

Illicit transfer and non-return

183.
The Hague Convention on the 1980 Civil Aspect of International Child Abduction has been implemented in Prince Edward Island. The Convention is based upon the principle that the best interests of children are met by protecting them from abduction and by securing respect for custody rights. One of its fundamental elements is the establishment of a Central Authority in each State to fulfill certain obligations and responsibilities under the Convention. Prince Edward Island has a designated Central Authority under the 1980 Convention.

Basic health and welfare
(Articles 6, 18, 23, 24, 26 and 27)

184.
Mental health services are now being provided in Spanish to address the significant increase in Spanish-speaking immigrants/refugees. As well, Pre-School Special Needs Assessments are used to identify and intervene early with children, including Aboriginal or other vulnerable groups, who may require mental health intervention. The province participates in Multi-Agency Support Teams in Eastern District Schools and attempts to identify emerging issues for youth in rural as well as urban settings, and to provide improved access through in-school services, with earlier identification and reduced stigma.
 

Health care for Aboriginal and rural children

185.
In 2005, the Prince Edward Island Reproductive Care Program, a joint initiative of the Department of Health and the Medical Society of Prince Edward Island, partnered with Women's Addiction Services for Prince Edward Island and the Aboriginal Women's Association of Prince Edward Island to present two provincial workshops related to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). In March 2006, the same groups partnered to provide a two-day workshop.
 
186.
In 2005, the Canadian Medical Association released Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder: Canadian guidelines for diagnosis (www.cmaj.ca/cgi/content/full/172/5_suppl/S1). There are now some paediatricians in the province who have expressed an interest in seeing children for assessment of problems potentially related to alcohol exposure.
 
187.
The Prince Edward Island Reproductive Care Program received permission from Best Start Ontario to adapt and reprint the pamphlet Be Safe: Have an alcohol-free pregnancy (www.beststart.org/resources/alc_reduction/pdf/bs_brochure_lr.pdf). The pamphlet has been available in Prince Edward Island since August 2006 and was distributed across the province to physicians, public health nurses, on-reserve nurses, Addiction Services, Family Resource Centres and Family Health Centres.
 

Aboriginal youth suicide prevention

188.
The Government of Prince Edward Island has been participating in planning exercises with Aboriginal groups to improve the provision of mental health services to Aboriginal persons/children; have provided psycho-educational sessions on depression and suicide to Aboriginal youth, parent and staff groups; and is in on-going collaboration with Band health staff and Mi'kmaq Family Pride to address service delivery issues.
 
189.
The Canadian Mental Health Association - Prince Edward Island Division implements the Signals of Suicide program for Grade 9 students (www.cmha.ca/bins/site_page.asp?cid=284-294-296-322).
 

Minimizing risks to adolescent health

190.
The new health curriculum has components (starting in grade 3) regarding drugs, appropriate drug use, refusal skills, etc., all the way through to Grade 9. There is a new drug education/prevention resource in the Grade 4-6 curriculum called "Leaps and Bounds" (developed by the Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission). Beyond the curriculum, there are a wide variety of programs and services offered with, and through, schools, that address substance use education, prevention, and cessation (tobacco, alcohol etc). This includes, but is not limited to:
 
  • Student Assistance Programs
  • Variety of tobacco presentations
  • Drug Abuse Resistance Education program
  • Youth Addictions Counsellors
  • Multi-agency Service Teams
  • 120 Program (Kings County pilot)
  • Prevent Alcohol and Risk-related Trauma in Youth  program
  • Students Against Drunk Driving
  • Students Working in Tobacco can Help
  • Tobacco Free Sport programs.
191.
In December 2007, the provincial government released a framework document for the Prince Edward Island Youth Substance Abuse and Addiction Strategy (www.gov.pe.ca/photos/original/doh_Youth_Sub.pdf). The Strategy was developed by an interdepartmental advisory group (see reference above) and takes as its vision that "Island youth will have a full continuum of appropriate, integrated services to prevent and treat substance abuse problems".
 
192.
Funding received from the National Anti-Drug Strategy will be used to improve addiction support programs and services for youth in conflict with the law.
 
193.
The province has invested in an immunization program to prevent infection from the human papillomavirus.
 
194.
The Prince Edward Island Caucus on Youth Sexual Health is comprised of youth, parents, community and government representatives working to promote healthy sexuality through partnerships, community capacity building and public policy changes. The Caucus, which was formed in 2000, supported and advised on the Youth Sexual Health projects coordinated by the Women's Network Prince Edward Island.
 
195.
The province has invested in a Methadone Maintenance Treatment Program, available through the Provincial Addictions Treatment Facility, as a key component of comprehensive treatment for persons with an opiod dependence. Methadone Maintenance Treatment is a population health approach focused on reducing the harms of injection use, including the spread of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C.
 

Homelessness

196.
The John Howard Society is conducting research in Prince Edward Island on homelessness, including homeless children.

Education, leisure and cultural activities
(Articles 28, 29 and 31)

197.
The Prince Edward Island Task Force on Student Achievement began meeting and held public consultations during 2005. The Task Force presented its Final Report, Excellence in Education: A Challenge for Prince Edward Island, with a series of recommendations in 20 areas, to the Premier of Prince Edward Island in December 2005 (www.gov.pe.ca/photos/original/task_force_edu.pdf).
 
198.
The Prince Edward Island Teachers Federation is a member of the Canadian Teachers Federation, which provides a forum for information sharing and cooperative initiatives.
 

Education for Aboriginal children, rural children and children at risk

199.
For measures to ensure equal opportunities for Aboriginal children and to address higher drop out rates in Aboriginal communities, such as the Aboriginal/Diversity Specialist position, see the Prince Edward Island section of Canada's Sixth and Seventh Reports on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (under Article 10).
 
200.
School districts on Prince Edward Island administer a tutoring program specifically for Aboriginal students. Aboriginal culture, accomplishments and history are reflected in all new social studies curricula. The Aboriginal Peoples of Atlantic Canada course is currently available in three high schools. The Aboriginal Education Standing Committee, in existence since 1997, has facilitated various measures to improve education for Aboriginal students.
 
201.
The University of Prince Edward Island has implemented family literacy programs in Mi'kmaq communities and is conducting a major quantitative study around graduation rates, literacy, numeracy, etc., of Aboriginal students in the province.
 
202.
The Aboriginal Justice Program, operated by the Mi'kmaq Confederacy of Prince Edward Island with provincial and federal funding, has developed plain language materials (posters, cards) to help Aboriginal people self-identify in order to benefit from programs available to them.
 

Seeking views of children on discipline

203.
Children are encouraged to participate in discussions about disciplinary measures in schools through classroom discussions about Codes of Conduct, and rules of behaviour of individual classes are usually created with student input.
 

Minority language education

204.
An intensive French program is being piloted in three Prince Edward Island schools in grade six. There is a policy in place that students must take French (or English for French schools) from grades 4-9, and 10 percent of the school day must be spent learning the other official language. These programs/policies are in addition to French immersion at all grade levels in 26 Island schools and the availability of six French first language schools. Kindergarten is now publically funded and includes curricula developed in both languages.
 

Child rights education

205.
The social studies junior and senior high school curriculum for the Atlantic Provinces has recently been changed and now includes courses on global issues, including human rights.
 

Special Protection Measures
(Articles 22, 30 and 32-40)

Protection of Aboriginal children

206.
The Partnership Accord signed in December 2007, and the Aboriginal Health Transition Agreement between the province and the Mi'kmaq Confederacy, promote the provision of quality services for Aboriginal people.
 

Protection of refugee children, separated children and unaccompanied children seeking asylum

 
207.
The province has a new structure for teaching English as a new language to immigrant children, including refugees.
 
208.
The Four Neighborhoods Family Health Centre implemented a Refugee Health Screening Clinic, starting this past summer, in collaboration with the Prince Edward Island Newcomers Association and the Government of Canada. Refugees are provided with basic health assessments and immunizations and are screened for communicable diseases. Refugee children seen at the clinic are followed up in the school system by public health nurses.
 

Protection of children from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse, and the sale, trafficking and abduction if children

209.
In May 2008, an information session on human trafficking was attended by participants from 75 provincial government and NGO service providers. See also Canada's First Report on the OP-SC.
 

Protection from economic exploitation

210.
An Employment Standards Review Panel was appointed in January 2006, to conduct a full review of Prince Edward Island's Employment Standards Act (www.gov.pe.ca/law/statutes/pdf/e-06_2.pdf)andRegulations and Youth Employment Act (www.peigov.ca/law/statutes/pdf/y-02.pdf). The report, presented in September 2006, is available at www.gov.pe.ca/photos/original/cca_finalreport.pdf. The Employment Standards Review Panel recommended that provisions of the Youth Employment Act (with modifications) be incorporated into the Employment Standards Act and that the Youth Employment Act be repealed.
 

Children in conflict with the law

211.
The number of young people incarcerated in the province continues to decrease. Children under 18 are not incarcerated with adults in Prince Edward Island. Alternative measures are used extensively. For example, Youth Outreach Workers, based in most police services, assist young people in conflict with the law through early intervention. To assist with reintegration of children in conflict with the law, a full-time Family Therapist position has been created for correctional services.
 
212.
Child-friendly waiting rooms, testimonial screens, and access to support persons are available to children testifying in court in Prince Edward Island. A training session on changes to federal legislation, including amendments to facilitate testimony by children, held in June 2008, was attended by 150 service providers in the province. For further changes, see Canada's First Report on the OP-SC.
 

Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict

213.
A new Counselling Consultant assists guidance counsellors in the schools with increased awareness regarding children affected by armed conflict.

Nova Scotia

General measures of implementation
(Articles 4, 42 and 44)

Child expenditures

214.
Information on the Government of Nova Scotia's expenditures on children is available on the following web sites:
 

Data collection and dissemination

215.
The Government of Nova Scotia collects data on its programs and provides it to the public in various publications such as annual reports, for example, on education (http://stats-summary.ednet.ns.ca/publicat.shtml) and community services (www.gov.ns.ca/coms/department/publications.html).
 
216.
Programs funded through the Government of Canada's early childhood development initiatives, such as Healthy Beginnings: Enhanced Homes Visiting, provide accountability reports, including data and evaluation results (www.gov.ns.ca/hpp/publications/healthy_beginnings.pdf).
 

Coordination and monitoring of children's rights

217.
The Children and Youth Strategy created in 2007 includes community-based programs to bring services closer to children, youth and families. The Strategy will coordinate elements related to justice, health, education and health protection and promotion (www.gov.ns.ca/coms/department/documents/Our_Kids_Are_Worth_It.pdf).
 
218.
The Atlantic Intergovernmental Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) partnership brings together the four Atlantic Provinces to work together to address FASD.
 

Complaint mechanisms

219.
The Nova Scotia Office of the Ombudsman -Youth Services (www.gov.ns.ca/ombu/Child_Ombud/default.asp)offers an independent mechanism for investigating and resolving complaints from children and youth in the child custody and child protection systems. The intent is to expand this service to all youth accessing provincial and municipal youth serving systems.
 

General principles
(Articles 2, 3, 6 and 12)

Non-discrimination

220.
Nova Scotia's Special Education Policy supports inclusive education in the province. The Policy, along with links to other programs and resources available for children with special needs can be found at www.ednet.ns.ca/index.php?t=sub_pages&cat=518.
 

Best interests of the child

221.
The main objective of Family Division Assessments is to provide the court with information and/or recommendations on how the needs of the child may best be met. To meet this objective, an assessor will meet with both parents. An assessor may also meet with the child, grandparents, child care providers, teachers, etc., if appropriate. The assessor's focus is best interests of the child. 
 
222.
Child welfare workers with the provincial government and its child protection agencies receive training  to: develop cultural sensitivity to the needs and experiences of African Canadian and Aboriginal children and families involved with a child welfare agency; explore different cultural beliefs and how these differences affect the work environment; and, identify aspects of  culture that are particularly relevant to the role and function of the family and its significance for child protection activities.

Family environment and alternative care
(Articles 5, 9-11, 18-21, 25, 27 and 39)

Adoption, search for birth parents and access to parental medical history

223.
The Government of Nova Scotia has implemented policies that ensure that children who are adopted can maintain their language, culture and identity. More information on the Mi'kmaq and African Nova Scotian adoption programs can be found at the following web site: www.gov.ns.ca/coms/families/adoption/index.html.
 

Child care and support services

224.
The goal of the Supported Child Care Program is to ensure families of children with special needs have access to child care in their own communities regardless of the child's developmental needs (www.gov.ns.ca/coms/families/childcare/SupportedChildCare.html).
 
225.
Expanded support for child care has been provided through federal-provincial agreements.
 
226.
To provide additional options to families for child care, the Government of Nova Scotia supports family home child day care. The Family Home Day Care Program gives parents access to monitored day care services in a home setting. It is a voluntary program offered to in-home care providers to reduce their isolation, provide them with professional support and help them enhance their services. The program is designed to provide healthy, safe and appropriate environments for young children who are being cared for in private homes across Nova Scotia (www.gov.ns.ca/coms/families/provider/FamilyHomeDayCare.html).
 
227.
Information on measures to improve child care in Nova Scotia was included in Canada's Fifth Report on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
 
228.
The Government of Nova Scotia has implemented an Early Learning and Child Care Plan which will add more day care spaces, increase subsidized spaces, and provide ongoing support for the province's child care sector over 10 years (www.gov.ns.ca/coms/families/ELCCProgram.html). In addition, partial funding is available to eligible lower-income families who require child care (www.gov.ns.ca/coms/families/childcare/ChildCareSubsidy.html).
 

Child and family benefits and other initiatives addressing child poverty

229.
The Nova Scotia Child Benefit is the provincial government's contribution to the National Child Benefit (NCB) initiative. The Nova Scotia Child Benefit is provided to all low-income families to help them with the cost of raising children under the age of 18. Over 48,000 children in Nova Scotia receive this benefit each year. Since the NCB began, the percentage of low-income families in Nova Scotia declined from 19.7 percent in 1998 to 16.6 percent in 2000. Additional information on Nova Scotia child benefits was also included in Canada's Fifth Report on the ICCPR.
 
230.
The Government of Nova Scotia funds a program that provides prescription drug coverage for children of low-income families. Families pay $5 per prescription regardless of the cost of the medication. Nova Scotia Family Pharmacare is a provincial drug plan designed to help Nova Scotians with the cost of prescription drugs. The program offers protection against drug costs for families who have no drug coverage or if the cost of the prescription drugs becomes a financial burden to them. The program is available to all Nova Scotians with a valid health card and there is no premium or fee to join the program. The annual out-of-pocket cost is capped at a percentage of family income.
 
231.
The Government of Nova Scotia is working on a comprehensive, multi-year Poverty Reduction Strategy. A legislatively mandated working group is looking at options and making recommendations to the government (www.gov.ns.ca/coms/specials/poverty/povertyreductionstrategy.html).
 
232.
In May 2008, the Government of Nova Scotia increased the minimum wage. Experienced employees must be paid at least $8.10 per hour and inexperienced employees must be paid at least $7.60 for each hour of work.
 
233.
The Employment Support Services program provides support, training and opportunities for return to employment (www.gov.ns.ca/coms/employment/employment_services/index.html). Volunteer opportunities, funding for education and training, and support in researching work opportunities help individuals find solutions that are appropriate for their circumstances.
 

Use of minor corrective force and alternatives to physical discipline of children

234.
No forms of corrective force are permitted towards children in alternative care, in schools or daycare facilities in Nova Scotia. Through the Nova Scotia Family Resource Centres, parents can access information on appropriate discipline measures and support in child rearing.

Basic health and welfare
(Articles 6, 18, 23, 24, 26 and 27)

Pregnancy and early childhood development

235.
The Healthy Beginnings Program provides services to infants, children, parents and caregivers from preconception to school, including prenatal education, in-home support for families of young children and preschool screening for four year old children.
 
236.
To increase awareness of and decrease the instance of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, information is shared through public health contact with families and the Tobacco Strategy and Provincial Breastfeeding Policy.
 
237.
The Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Stakeholder Forum was held in March 2008 and a plan for the key actions identified at the Forum will be developed. The purpose of the Forum is to bring together key stakeholders from across the province to share experiences and resources and to explore a process for a more coordinated approach along the continuum of programs and services from prevention to supporting individuals and families affected by FASD.
 

Health care for Aboriginal and rural children

238.
The Mi'kmaq Health Committee was established to promote a setting where Nova Scotia Mi'kmaq, the province of Nova Scotia and the Government of Canada can collaborate to address various issues in regards to the health needs of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaq. Through researching the needs of the Mi'kmaq, projects and partnerships are developed with First Nations communities and the government (www.tripartiteforum.com/committees/health.php).
 
239.
In Nova Scotia, public health services for individuals, families and children in both rural and urban areas are provided through nine District Health Authorities. The services provided include primary care, emergency medicine, hospitals and clinics.
 

Aboriginal youth suicide prevention

240.
In 2006, the Government of Nova Scotia implemented a Strategic Framework to Address Suicide. This Framework is a seven to 10 year plan for reducing suicide/attempted suicide in Nova Scotia. Additional information can be found at www.gov.ns.ca/hpp/publications/SuicideFramework.pdf.
 

Minimizing risks to adolescent health

241.
Information on measures to minimize risks to adolescent health in Nova Scotia was included in Canada's Fifth Report on the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), under Article 12.
 
242.
Nova Scotia Student Drug Use Survey, conducted in 2007, is available online at www.gov.ns.ca/hpp/publications/NS_Highlights_2007.pdf. The report sets out six recommendations which the Government of Nova Scotia is reviewing.
 
243.
A Question of Influence, an alcohol and drug education curriculum supplement for students in Grades 7 to 9 has been broadly distributed (www.gov.ns.ca/hpp/question_of_influence.html).
 
244.
Youth health centres, operating on a walk-in basis in high schools throughout Nova Scotia, allow community care-givers to coordinate a wide range of primary preventative health services such as counselling, wellness programs, nutrition information, mentoring and peer support groups.
 

Adequate housing

245.
Information on measures in place to support low-income housing in Nova Scotia is available at www.gov.ns.ca/coms/housing/documents/Housing_Options_Brochure.pdf.
 
246.
Additional information on support mechanisms that have been put in place by the Government of Nova Scotia for homeless or under-housed children were included in Canada's Fifth Report on ICESCR.
 

Homelessness

247.
The Nova Scotia Poverty Reduction Strategy mentioned above also addresses homelessness issues in the province.
 

Education, leisure and cultural activities
(Articles 28, 29 and 31)

248.
The Options and Opportunities program provides co-operative opportunities to students to help them acquire hands-on experience and make successful transitions from high school to work, a career path or a post-secondary program (www.ednet.ns.ca/O2/e/index.shtml).
 

Education for Aboriginal children, rural children and children at risk

249.
Established in 2008, the Mi'kmaq Liaison Office (MLO) is mandated to serve as a conduit between the Government of Nova Scotia and the province's Aboriginal communities regarding education issues. To achieve this, the MLO works closely with the Government of Nova Scotia and liaises with the community through the Council on Mi'kmaq Education, the Tripartite Forum Education Working Group, the Mi'kmaw Kina'matnewey Education Working Group, and other organizations. The MLO works with Mi'kmaw Kina'matnewey to provide services to teachers and administrators in Nova Scotia's band-operated schools. The MLO also assists the public school system through professional development and curriculum/resource development to promote the inclusion of Mi'kmaq content and perspectives in all of the province's classrooms.
 

Minority language education

250.
The province's French Language Services Plan 2007-2008 in the education system can be found at http://dsalf.ednet.ns.ca/documents/FLSPlan_en.pdf
 
251.
Information on First Nations schools in Nova Scotia can be found at www.ednet.ns.ca/index.php?t=sub_pages&cat=409.
 

Child rights education

252.
Information on human rights is included in various education curriculums at all levels of the education system in Nova Scotia. For example, in the province's Grade 6 curriculum, there is a specific learning outcome for students to demonstrate an awareness of human rights and international children's rights.

Special Protection Measures
(Articles 22, 30 and 32-40)

Protection of Aboriginal children

253.
Information on the measures that have been put in place by the Government of Nova Scotia to ensure access to equal opportunities for Aboriginal children on- and off- reserve and information on the measures that have been put in place to ensure access to quality health and educational services for Aboriginal children were included in Canada's Seventeenth and Eighteenth Reports on the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination.
 

Protection of refugee children, separated children and unaccompanied children seeking asylum

254.
Children who are not in the care of their parents may be assisted through the provisions of the Children and Family Services Act (www.gov.ns.ca/legislature/legc/statutes/childfam.htm) in that they would become a ward of the province and as such protected, or the Maintenance and Custody Act (www.gov.ns.ca/legislature/legc/statutes/maintcus.htm),which would allow for next of kin or friends to care for the child. The preferred option is always to have the child live with family members.
 

Protection from economic exploitation

255.
Information on Nova Scotia legislation and regulations surrounding employing children are available at the following web site: www.gov.ns.ca/lwd/employmentrights/children.asp.
 

Children in conflict with the law

256.
Young persons under the age of 18 are not tried as adults in Nova Scotia, although in particular circumstances they may be sentenced as adults. When sentenced as an adult, a young person remains in a youth facility until reaching the age of 18, and although an application may then be made to transfer the young person to an adult facility, the practice in Nova Scotia has been to keep the young person in a youth facility until all program opportunities have been exhausted. Young persons may make their own application to be transferred to an adult facility if they wish to do so. Although young persons are held in the same facility as adults in some circumstances, every effort is made to ensure that they are housed as far away as possible from the adult offenders.
 
257.
Legal Aid may be available for children in particular circumstances, and the courts may appoint a guardian ad litem for a child where appropriate.
 
258.
The provisions of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (www.gov.ns.ca/legislature/legc/statutes/freedom.htm) and the Youth Criminal Justice Act protect the privacy of children in conflict with the law.
 
259.
The provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act provide various options for children in conflict with the law to reduce the number of children in detention through the use of programs such as alternative measures or conditional sentences.
 
260.
The "Our Kids Are Worth It" strategy has a crime prevention focus and concentrates on the needs of children and youth, containing a mix of both immediate and longer-term priorities. The strategy's five key directions are to:
 
  • Build a strong foundation;
  • Identify problems, help early;
  • Co-ordinate programs services;
  • Improve access, close gaps;
  • Engage youth, and promote shared accountability.
261.
Information on Nova Scotia's Secure Treatment Centre was included in Canada's Fifth Report on the ICCPR.
 
262.
The Halifax Youth Attendance Centre addresses the needs of high-risk youth, under court orders, living in the Halifax Regional Municipality, by providing a structured group and individual programs and services, including a day school program. The Centre operates in partnership the Government of Nova Scotia and their service providers.
 

Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict

263.
Although the Government of Nova Scotia does not specifically target children in their reintegration, health and wellness programs, all programs that are available to the general population are available to immigrant or refugee children in Canada who may have been involved in or affected by armed conflicts.

New Brunswick

General measures of implementation
(Articles 4, 42 and 44)

Child expenditures

264.
An overview of basic spending distributions for all health services, including those provided for children can be found in the Department of Health Annual Report at www.gnb.ca/0051/pub/pdf/5068ef-final-1.pdf. Past Annual Reports can be found at www.gnb.ca/0051/pub/index-e.asp.
 
265.
Information on expenditures related to children's education can be found on pages 39 to 44 of the Government of New Brunswick's Main Estimates for 2008-2009 at www.gnb.ca/0160/budget/buddoc2008/Main_Estimates_08-09.pdf. Past budgets can be found at www.gnb.ca/0160/budget/buddoc2008/index-e.asp.
 

Data collection and dissemination

266.
The New Brunswick Ombudsman and Child and Youth Advocate published a report in January 2008, entitled Connecting the Dots: A report on the condition of youth-at-risk and youth with very complex needs in New Brunswick. The report made a number of recommendations that the province is assessing (www.gnb.ca/0073/PDF/ConnectingtheDots-e.pdf).
 
267.
The Government of New Brunswick collects data on children with disabilities for effective program planning and budget allocations and to identify students at-risk of learning challenges. In addition, the government collects enrolment, achievement, and dropout data on First Nation students attending public school and living on reserve in order to improve education programs and services for Aboriginal children.
 
268.
In May 2007, the Government of New Brunswick launched the Personal Health Information Task Force, which conducted public consultations and released a report in October 2007, which was carefully considered by the government (www.gnb.ca/0051/personal_health_information/index-e.asp).
 

Coordination and monitoring of children's rights

269.
The Child Victims of Abuse and Neglect Protocols (www.gnb.ca/0017/Protection/Child/index-e.asp), which were revised in 2005 to enhance coordination within government, delineate the roles and responsibilities of professionals reporting cases of child abuse and neglect.
 
270.
In 2007, the Government of New Brunswick adopted the Child and Youth Advocate Act (www.gnb.ca/0062/acts/BBA-2007/Chap-C-02-7.pdf), which created the Child and Youth Advocate. Its mandate is to protect and advance the rights of children and youth and to ensure their voices are heard; to ensure children and youth have access to services and programs provided for them by the government of the province; to provide information and advice to government, its boards and agencies and to communities about the availability, effectiveness, responsiveness and relevance of the services they provide to children and youth; and to act, generally, as an advocate of the rights and interests of the children and youth of the province.
 
271.
The Concluding Observations from the Committee on the Rights of the Child are shared through a network of Government of New Brunswick officials who disseminate and discuss them.
 

Complaint mechanisms

272.
The Policy for the Protection of Pupils was revised in 2004, to reflect the new mandatory reporting requirements of the Education Act (www.gnb.ca/0062/acts/acts/e-01-12.htm) concerning professional conduct, to ensure a fair process for the respondent and to improve the handling of "inappropriate behaviour management" complaints. This policy protects all pupils who are registered in public schools in New Brunswick regardless of their age and applies to all adults whose job or role, on behalf of the public school system, places them in contact with pupils.
 

General principles
(Articles 2, 3, 6 and 12)

Non-discrimination

273.
The Government New Brunswick and the Government of Canada have collaborated to develop Tuition Arrears/Enhancement Agreements that will permit investment into the creation of more culturally sensitive and relevant programming for First Nation students in the public education system.
 
274.
New Brunswick's education plan, "When kids come first" (www.gnb.ca/0000/kidsfirst-e.asp) (released June 2007) contains actions that promote cultural identity and linguistic growth. These include initiatives to strengthen the minority francophone identity and initiatives aimed at improving education for First Nation students. One of the specific actions outlined in the program towards creating safe and healthy schools, is to explore new and innovative tools to prevent and reduce bullying, violence, dating violence, homophobia, and other forms of discrimination in schools by working with communities and school leaders. A revision of Policy 703 - Positive Learning Environment (www.gnb.ca/0000/pol/e/703A.pdf) is included in the plan, to place an emphasis on parental involvement, dispute resolution, student safety, the prevention of bullying, cyber-bullying, and harassment in school and on buses, assess the effects of these policies on inclusive education, and add a Student Code of Conduct.
 
275.
In 2004, a study was commissioned to review the entire range of programs and services related to the Government of New Brunswick's inclusive education system. The recommendations outlined in the report shape the commitments in "When kids come first", in particular Commitment #5, "To Live up to the Promise of Inclusion".
 
276.
The Government of New Brunswick has worked with a committee of Ministers and stakeholders on developing a definition of inclusive education. In partnership with stakeholders, the government has also developed an Autism Strategy and a Provincial Learning Disabilities Strategy built around early intervention, ongoing support, and reducing wait times for services. In October 2007, the Government of New Brunswick developed a new guideline on the duty to accommodate students with a disability in public and private schools from kindergarten to Grade 12 (www.gnb.ca/hrc-cdp/PDF/pamphlet-accommodating-students-disability.pdf).

Family environment and alternative care
(Articles 5, 9-11, 18-21, 25, 27 and 39)

277.
The Government of New Brunswick has implemented a Mi'kmaq and Maliseet Relationship Building Bilateral Agreement,which allows for the establishment of various roundtables to address program and service delivery gaps in the areas of First Nation health, education, social development, land and resources, governance and jurisdiction, and economic development and sustainability issues.
 

Child care and support services

278.
The Early Learning and Child Care Trust Fund was established by the Government of New Brunswick in June 2007. The Quality Improvement Funding Support Program, which began in 2002, continues funding investments to support wage enhancements for child care staff, professional development opportunities, and equipment and materials.
 
279.
Child care costs are eligible to be deducted from income and reduce taxable income. As a result, New Brunswick residents' taxable income and personal income tax payable are reduced. The annual deduction per child is as follows:
 
  • Under age seven - maximum deduction of $7,000
  • Over age seven and under age 16 - maximum deduction of $4,000
  • Children eligible for disability tax credit - maximum deduction of $10,000
280.
In 2004, the Government of New Brunswick implemented Policy 710 - Release of Students and Access to Student Information to help schools handle requests for access to student information and the physical release of students when child custody is a factor (www.gnb.ca/0000/pol/e/710A.pdf).
 

Use of minor corrective force and alternatives to physical discipline of children

281.
A publication on spanking and disciplining of children was released in April 2007, by the Public Legal Education and Information Service of New Brunswick. The pamphlet, Spanking & Disciplining Children: What You Should Know About Section 43 of the Criminal Code, is written in plain language for parents and others with children in their care and gives information on the Supreme Court's definition in relation to child discipline and what constitutes reasonable force (www.legal-info-legale.nb.ca/en/publications/criminal_law/Spanking_EN.pdf).
 

Basic health and welfare
(Articles 6, 18, 23, 24, 26 and 27)

282.
In 2006, the Government of New Brunswick announced a three-year expansion of the publicly funded vaccination program against whooping cough. The vaccine to protect against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis is currently given to Grade 9 students and will now be given to students entering Grade 6. Additionally, in 2007, the government announced that the publicly-funded vaccination program to protect against mumps, measles, and rubella will be expanded to Grade 12 students (to continue for six years). The province is also switching to a new meningitis vaccine for Grade 9 students. The current meningococcal C vaccination program for one-year-olds will continue, as this newer vaccine is not recommended for the younger age group.
 

Health care for Aboriginal and rural children

283.
Facilitated by a new Aboriginal Policy Advisor, a priority was placed on consultation and relationship strengthening with First Nations. These discussions have led to community initiatives in mental health and addictions treatment. Over the reporting period, communities partnered with the Government of New Brunswick in preparing project proposals for the Government of Canada Aboriginal Health Transition Fund, leading to funding approvals being received in 2008 for projects including:
 
  • Evidence-based consensus model and strategy for Mental Health services
  • Suicide prevention
  • Community mobilization strategy to identify health priorities, needs assessments
  • Childhood obesity
  • Chronic disease management and active living strategies.

Aboriginal youth suicide prevention

284.
Existing suicide prevention initiatives received a particular focus in 2007, ranging from naming February 2007 Suicide Prevention Awareness month; to the release in August 2007 of an analytical study of suicides that occurred in New Brunswick in 2002-2003; to the publication and highlighting of the history and status of the provincial suicide prevention program.
 

Minimizing risks to adolescent health

285.
In 2006, the Government of New Brunswick approved ongoing funding for the creation of an interdisciplinary team of health-care professionals with a specific mandate to serve children experiencing severe autism symptoms. In 2007, grants were provided to six autism community centres throughout the province to support their programs. Each of these centres provides social support, self-help, public education, and a broad array of resources for persons with autism and their families.
 
286.
Middle and high schools participated in a Student Wellness Survey in 2006-2007, which focused on healthy eating, physical activity, tobacco use, and mental fitness. This was a joint initiative between the University of New Brunswick, the Université de Moncton, the University of Waterloo, and the Government of New Brunswick.
 
287.
New Brunswick published the 2007 New Brunswick Student Drug Use Survey, which provided survey information and analysis regarding substance use, gambling, mental health, and associated risk behaviours among adolescent students across the province. The study can be viewed at www.gnb.ca/0378/pdf/SDUS-2007-e.pdf.
 
288.
The Healthy Learners Program aims to improve the health, wellness, and learning of students by promoting healthy behaviours that will be carried into adulthood. Additional information on this program was provided in response to the advance questions from the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women regarding the review of Canada's Fifth Report on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
 
289.
The Link Program is aimed at assisting youth from Grades 6 to 12 who are experiencing any kind of life challenges, and provides an opportunity to access help through a resource person. It provides all teenagers with the opportunity to find a solution to his/her challenges before they lead to more severe difficulties, as well as helping them acquire new coping skills and build resiliency.
 

Education, leisure and cultural activities
(Articles 28, 29 and 31)

290.
As per the Education Act, the Minister shall provide free school privileges for every person who is of school age who has not graduated from high school and is a resident of the province.
 
291.
New Brunswick began revision of the Positive Learning Environment Policy (Policy 703). One of the goals of this policy is to have parents, pupils, staff, and the community work together to define the goals of the school's learning environment through a Positive Learning Environment Plan. Work has also begun on a Student Code of Conduct, which will set out standards of behaviour and roles and responsibilities when inappropriate behaviours occur in school. Students are being consulted through focus groups on the Code of Conduct.
 
292.
Frequent meetings are held between the Government of New Brunswick and the New Brunswick Teachers' Association/l'Association des enseignants et enseignantes francophones du Nouveau-Brunswick. Policy-making involves consultation with diverse stakeholder organizations.

Education for Aboriginal children, rural children and children at risk

293.
New Brunswick works collaboratively with First Nation communities to improve the learning outcomes of First Nation students in the public education system, as well as those enrolled in schools in their community. It works to ensure that public school programming is culturally sensitive and that specific curriculum and services are supported, such as language courses and awareness events. An action plan has been developed to help facilitate the transition for First Nation students into the public system.
 
294.
First Nations' education priorities are fundamental elements of the above-mentioned "When kids come first" program. Specific actions in Phase 1 of this program include the:
 
  • Establishment of new partnership agreements with the Government of Canada and First Nations to improve education programs and services for Aboriginal children;
  • Establishment of a new First Nations Ministerial Advisory Committee on Curriculum; and
  • Development and implementation of a First Nations education strategy founded on the work of the Provincial Aboriginal Education Advisory Committee.
295.
The approach outlines strategic direction for First Nation education in order to, among others, engage individuals and communities to preserve First Nation culture and traditions, and foster, in First Nation communities, the importance of lifelong learning. In Phase 2, New Brunswick will host a Minister's Summit on First Nations Education to assess progress and share results.
 
296.
The Government of New Brunswick has started working on a strengths-based guidance model to help students discover their personal strengths. A "Diversity in Learning Initiative" is being developed, which supports trades and vocational education in schools in order to address the needs of students and help them find a goal to inspire them to work towards. A policy is also being developed to ensure students identified as being at risk of dropping out are given the opportunity to meet with school officials and propose an alternate educational program to allow them to meet graduation requirements.
 

Minority language education

297.
In 2004, New Brunswick implemented Policy 321 - Admission Based on Language (www.gnb.ca/0000/pol/e/321A.pdf). The purpose of the policy is to provide assistance in interpreting the Education Act as it relates to admission to an English or French school based on linguistic proficiency and entitlement.
 

Child rights education

298.
Both the Anglophone and Francophone education sectors have made strides in their curriculum development to ensure that children are made aware of their rights.
 
299.
In the Anglophone sector, the Kindergarten to Grade 2 social studies curriculum makes reference to United Nations treaties. The context is children's right to protection and support (physically, emotionally and psychologically), to education, and to play. The Grade 3 curriculum outcomes state that students will "examine the rights and responsibilities of citizens in a democracy." Teachers are referred to the Convention on the Rights of the Child as a potential resource. The Grade 6 curriculum outcomes state that students will "identify and describe examples of human rights issues around the world", and teachers are referred to the 1959 Declaration of the Rights of the Child. The Grade 9 curriculum outcomes state that students will "take age-appropriate actions that demonstrate the rights and responsibilities of citizenship (local, national and global)." The curriculum references the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Students in Grades 11 or 12 are provided with the option to take a law course with an optional human rights unit which references among others, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography.
 
300.
In the Francophone sector, through the "Formation personnelle et sociale" curriculum under "Citoyenneté," students learn about how various societies function in terms of democratic institutions, roles of men and women, as well as rights, laws and responsibilities that help to create a harmonious society. From Kindergarten to Grade 2, students examine the importance of belonging to different groups (e.g., Brownies, Cubs) in order to promote civic pride. Students also examine certain rules that exist in society and understand the importance of having such rules in society or a group. In Grades 3 to 5, students learn that rules and responsibilities exist within communities, as well as for individuals. They learn the difference between rules, laws, responsibilities, and privileges and also identify certain rights of children. In Grades 6 to 8, students look at appropriate behaviours that are respectful towards others and how to prevent discrimination and racism. They also identify consequences related to criminal acts such as intimidation, harassment, vandalism and violence. In addition, they explore their role as citizens by examining laws, rights, and responsibilities at the local, regional and international levels. In high school, students continue to examine their role as citizens and the importance they have within society, as well as, the power that youth have in creating a harmonious society.
 

Special protection measures
(Articles. 22, 30 and 32-40)

Protection of Aboriginal children

301.
The Government of New Brunswick, all 15 First Nations residing in the province, and the Government of Canada began working on a Memorandum of Understanding in 2007 regarding a reinvestment strategy on enhanced educational programs and services for First Nation students in New Brunswick.
 

Protection of children from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse, and the sale, trafficking and abduction of children

302.
A Human Trafficking Working Group, comprised of a partnership amongst non-government organizations, the law enforcement community, and the Government of New Brunswick, works to make the public aware of human trafficking.
 

Children in conflict with the law

303.
New Brunswick has developed a protocol on case conferencing in order to help reintegrate children who have been in conflict with the law into the public school system.
 

Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict

304.
The Government of New Brunswick does not provide any specific programs that provide assistance for the psychological and physical recovery and social reintegration of immigrant or refugee children in Canada who may have been involved in or affected by armed conflicts. Any such cases, brought to the attention of the school or education district in any manner, are assessed for referral to the mental health clinic in the Regional Health Authority. Individuals receive care through existing programs as a part of the spectrum of services offered to all residents of New Brunswick and not under any specific new programs mandated through the "Action Plan on Child Protection." 

Québec

General measures of implementation
(Articles 4, 42 and 44)

305.
Since the adoption in 2004 of the government's action plan for children, entitled Un Québec digne de ses enfants, the Government of Québec has adopted the following measures:
 
  • The Refundable Tax Credit for Child Assistance, instituted in January 2005, helps simplify financial support measures targeting families.
  • The Work Premium Program was established in 2005.
  • In 2006, financial support to families, including child care, totalled $4.6 billion, a 29 percent increase from 2003. This support has steadily increased, reaching $6.6 billion in 2008. 
  • Also in 2006, the goal of having 200,000 child care spaces available for children five years and younger was attained.
  • The Government's child care education program, entitled Accueillir la petite enfance, was updated in 2007.
  • The Québec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) entered into force in January 2006. The Plan facilitates a balance between family and professional responsibilities and supports fathers in their commitment to their children by guaranteeing them an exclusive three- to five-week leave. During the Plan's first year, more fathers (36.7 percent) benefitted from QPIP compared to the previous plan (18 percent).
  • Through the policy Pour que l'égalité de droit devienne une égalité de fait, the Government of Québec aims for a better work-family balance as a means to achieve gender equality. In total, $6.9 million will be dedicated to this policy.

Data collection and dissemination

306.
The Institut de la statistique du Québec (ISQ) provides reliable and objective statistical information on various aspects of Québec society. The ISQ conducts, among other things, the Québec Longitudinal Study of Child Development. The second phase (2003-2010) of this study seeks to identify factors that, when implemented during early childhood, contribute to the social adaptation and academic success of children in Québec.
 
307.
The Ministry of Education, Recreation and Sport collects data on children attending preschool and elementary school, including children from cultural communities. Various government reports are available at www.mels.gouv.qc.ca/GR-PUB/m_englis.htm.
 

Promoting awareness and understanding of theConvention

308.
In 2005, the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse du Québec and the International Bureau for Children's Rights, an international non-governmental organization, hosted a three-day international conference that reviewed the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Children, 15 years after its adoption.
 

General principles
(Articles 2, 3, 6 and 12)

Non-discrimination

309.
One of the measures of the 2004-2007 government action plan, Shared Values, Common Interests, aimed specifically at promoting intercultural learning among school children. The Programme d'appui aux relations civiques et interculturelles, established as part of this action plan, allows the provision of support for projects promoting the awareness and understanding of the pluralistic nature of Québec society. Several of these projects were aimed at children (www.micc.gouv.qc.ca/publications/fr/planification/PlanAction20042007-summary.pdf).
 
310.
In 2005, following the recommendations made by the Joint Task Force on Homophobia, a training module was developed for the use of senior high school teachers and non-teaching staff, aimed at raising awareness among young people of  prejudices with respect to sexual orientation. The Task Force was established to fight homophobia in schools and the marginalization of single-parent families and their children, and to prevent suicide among sexual minority youth.
 
311.
The Government of Québec will see to the implementation of the recommendations set out in the 2007 report of the Advisory Committee on Integration and Reasonable Accommodation in the Schools, entitled Inclusive Québec schools: dialogue, values and common reference points, by preparing a reference guide on accommodation, establishing a team to support the institutional setting, and organizing training sessions on reasonable accommodation for school staff (www.mels.gouv.qc.ca/sections/accommodement/pdf/RapportAccRaisonnable
_a.pdf
).
 
312.
The 2008-2011 action plan La violence à l'école : ça vaut le coup d'agir ensemble! was put in place to address various forms of school violence such as: intimidation, bullying, racism, homophobia, sexual violence, physical violence and street gangs. The plan aims at supporting the establishment of a safe and secure environment for all students and staff members in schools.
 
313.
The Government of Québec provides relevant youth-friendly information regarding the justice system via the Internet and publications distributed in various public locations.
 

Best interests of the child

314.
When legislative measures are being developed, the memorandum accompanying a Bill presented to the provincial Cabinet must include a section that outlines the projected impact of such measures on youth, highlighting to representatives of the executive branch the principle of the best interests of the child principle.
 
315.
The Youth Protection Act (www.cdpdj.qc.ca/en/commun/docs/LPJ_A.pdf), amended in 2006, includes specific provisions to guarantee respect for the principle of the paramount consideration of the best interests of the child, such as the child's and parents' active participation in decision-making and in choosing the measures that affect them, and the consideration given to grandparents and other extended family members when fostering a child. Professionals working with young people have received training with regards to the legislative amendments. The Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse must now produce a report every five years on the implementation of the Act and, where appropriate, propose amendments.
 
316.
Québec's Educational Childcare Act, which came into force in June 2006, promotes the quality of educational child care services offered by child care service providers. It aims to ensure the health, security, development, well-being of, and equality of opportunity for children receiving child care services, including those who have special needs or who live in an environment of socio-economic insecurity. The Act also aims to foster the development of the provision of child care services in a way that takes into account the needs of parents, notably by facilitating the balance between parental and professional responsibilities.
 
317.
The provisions pertaining to criminal record checks for people working in the education sector were adopted on June 15, 2005, and are outlined in the Act to amend the Education Act and the Act respecting private education. These provisions specify the powers of the Government of Québec with regards to the delivery and renewal of teacher certifications, and the requirements with which those who want to obtain or renew such a certification must comply. The Act establishes new requirements for school boards and private educational institutions, and for people who work or are in regular contact with minor students.

Civil rights and freedoms
(Articles 7, 8, 13-17 and 37)

318.
In 2006, amendments were made to the Youth Protection Act with the purpose of balancing the protection of children and respect for privacy. To better circumscribe the disclosure of private information, it was specified that the Director of Youth Protection would only have access to information related to the grounds on which the security or development of the child is considered to be in danger and which give rise to protective measures provided for under the law.
 
319.
It should be noted that:
 
  • the file of a young person under the care of the Director of Youth Protection, cannot be retained once the person reaches 18 years of age; and
  • the Act provides that retaining the information on file beyond the stipulated period may be possible, but only if authorized by a court.

Family environment and alternative care
(Articles 5, 9-11, 18-21, 25, 27 and 39)

Adoption, search for birth parents and access to parental medical history

320.
According to the Civil Code of Québec (sections 582-584), adoption files are confidential. However, an adopted person who is now an adult or an adopted minor, 14 years of age or over, is entitled to obtain the information enabling him/her to find his/her birth parents if they have previously consented thereto. An adopted minor under 14 years of age is also entitled to obtain such information if the birth parents and the adoptive parents have given their prior consent. The case law interprets the term "parents" strictly, as referring only to the mother and father of the child.
 

Child care and support services

321.
Since 2004, a program offering integrated perinatal and early childhood services to vulnerable families has been in force throughout the province of Québec. This prevention and promotion program, focussing on the health and well-being of children and parents, includes family support components and the establishment of favourable environments. The measures aim at reducing the risks linked to the social determinants of health, including abuse and neglect, and favour early and intensive intervention.
 
322.
Following an ISQ study on the quality of educational services, in 2004, the Government of Québec announced its Ongoing Quality Improvement Plan regarding educational child care. The Plan's goals are to promote the improvement of child care services as an ongoing process which requires each child care service provider to offer services that, at the very least, meet the same quality criteria throughout Québec for all types of child care services and in all aspects of child development.
 
323.
In December 2004, the Mesure exceptionnelle de soutien à l'intégration dans les services de garde pour les enfants handicapés ayant d'importants besoins, came into effect in Québec. This measure supports the integration in the day-care system of children with disabilities that have special needs. It consists of an allowance provided to daycare service providers to cover part of the additional costs incurred due to the extra hours required to support a child with a severe disability.
 
324.
Since 2006-2007, the Government of Québec has been funding community-based drop-in child care centres with a $3 million budget allocated to the consolidation of services, which enable parents, primarily from disadvantaged areas and who take care of their children full-time, to benefit from relief care and to participate in social and professional integration activities, including volunteer work.
 
325.
Parents who are recipients of employment assistance are eligible for the parental contribution exemption pursuant to the Reduced Contribution Regulation. This exemption allows for free child care services for up to two and a half days or five half-days per week. In 2006-2007, 11,722 children whose parents benefitted from the exemption were able to attend a day-care facility.
 
326.
With respect to Aboriginal institutions and cultures, the Government of Québec is working towards opening child care services in each Aboriginal community. As of December 31, 2007, Aboriginal communities had access to 3,303 child care spaces.
 
327.
The Government of Québec's educational child care program, entitled Accueillir la petite enfance, was updated in 2007. This new edition of the program introduces terms of reference for educational child care and addresses, among other things, different aspects of educational intervention, the structuring of activities and the environment, and the relationship with parents. Particular attention is given to children with special needs.

Child and family benefits and other initiatives addressing child poverty

 
328.
Residents of the province of Québec receive the National Child Benefit, in addition to payments from the Refundable Tax Credit for Child Assistance (CIRSE). The latter constitutes the Government of Québec's principal financial support instrument for families.
 
329.
The CIRSE, which came into effect on January 1, 2005, replaced the Québec Family Allowance, the non-refundable tax credit for dependent children under the age of 18 and the tax reduction for families, and provided increased benefits. The CIRSE offers financial assistance to every family with a dependent child under 18 years of age to help cover costs for their essential needs, and provides higher benefits to low-income families. The level of the benefits is established according to marital status and the number of children in the household. For example, in 2008, families with two dependent minor children were eligible for annual benefits of up to $1,365 (single-parent families) or $1,924 (couples). This is an increase from benefits under the previous family allowance plan in 2004. In addition to the child support benefits, the CIRSE offers a $167 monthly supplement for children with disabilities, irrespective of family income or marital status. In 2007, more than 870,000 families received this tax credit, representing more than $2 billion.
 
330.
Under the Refundable Tax Credit for Child-Care Expenses, families in need of child care services in order to work, pursue educational opportunities or actively seek employment, are eligible for a 26 percent to 75 percent refund of their child care expenses, part from the network of reduced-rates child care services. The refund rate is based on family income. Overall, almost 360,000 families benefit from the Refundable Tax Credit for Child-Care Expenses, for a total amount of approximately $173 million.
 
331.
Also, the Refundable Tax Credit for Adoption Expenses and the Refundable Tax Credit for the Treatment of Infertility allow for a refund of up to 30 percent of the expenses related to adoption or infertility treatments incurred by a family, up to $20,000.
 
332.
Under the Government Action Plan to Combat Poverty and Social Exclusion, Québec committed to address child poverty. Investments under the Plan total more than $3.1 billion between 2004-2005 and 2008- 2009. These financial measures helped significantly improve the living conditions of many Québec families living with poverty (www.mess.gouv.qc.ca/grands-dossiers/lutte-contre-la-pauvrete/plan_en.asp).
 
333.
One of the measures taken by the Government of Québec to address child poverty is the introduction, in January 2005, of the Work Premium, to make employment more beneficial for low-income workers, as well as for last-resort assistance recipients.
 
334.
A report on the results of the implementation of the Government Action Plan to Combat Poverty and Social Exclusion, issued in June 2008, showed that 114,775 children in the province of Québec have parents who rely on last-resort financial assistance to meet their needs. This represents a decrease of more than 46 percent in the number of beneficiary children over a period of 10 years (99,681 fewer children than in June 1998).
 
335.
Other measures implemented by Québec to address the factors contributing to child poverty include:
 
  • the extension, since January 2006, of the partial exemption (up to $100 per month) of alimony income to every recipient family with children (regardless of age). This exemption alone allows for an increase of up to $1,200 per year in available income for eligible families. Previously, this exemption was only available to families with dependent children under five years of age;
  • full exemption for the amounts provided under family benefit programs for the purposes of calculating last-resort assistance;
  • the implementation of the approach entitled Ma place au soleil, which offers young parents receiving income security benefits who wish to continue their education the opportunity to pursue an integrated employment approach adapted to their needs;
  • the implementation of the Pregnant Minors Financial Assistance Measure, to help pregnant teenagers who are without financial resources to meet their needs;
  • Special benefits to address specific child-related needs, for instance breast-feeding, school fees and pregnancy; and
  • the increase of the minimum weekly employment support allowance, from $30 to $45, for people who take part in employment assistance programs, and an additional $25 per week for single parents. This measure is included in the almost $1 billion investment over three years under the Government of Québec's Pacte pour l'emploi, announced on March 18, 2008, of which $548 million come from the Government of Québec, and $439.4 million  come, from the private sector.

Illicit transfer and non-return

336.
The Act to Implement the Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption and to amend various legislative provisions in relation to adoption was adopted by the National Assembly in April 2004. Pursuant to the Act, all intercountry adoption procedures must be undertaken by a certified organization, except in exceptional circumstance provided for in the Order Respecting the Adoption Without a Certified Body of a Child Domiciled Outside Québec by a Person Domiciled in Québec.
 
337.
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction was implemented in Québec through the Act Respecting the Civil Aspects of International and Interprovincial Child Abduction, adopted in 1984. With the adoption of an Order in Council in 2003, the following additional States were identified for the purposes of the application of the Act: Brazil, El Salvador, Estonia, the Republic of Malta, Uzbekistan, Peru, Sri Lanka, the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay.[25]
 

Use of minor corrective force and alternatives to physical discipline of children

338.
The use of corporal punishment as a disciplinary means for young people living in youth centres is strictly prohibited. Under section 118.1 of the Act respecting health services and social services, restraint and isolation can only be used in situations where a young person puts his/her life, or that of another, in danger. Each establishment has adopted a protocol governing the use of such measures.
 
339.
Since 2004, the Government of Québec has offered training and support to resource people responsible for providing regional support services and expertise with regards to the legal aspects of physical intervention in crisis situations that occur in schools and that can compromise the physical security of individuals.
 
340.
The Government of Québec has published a pamphlet for parents, entitled Ensemble, prévenons les abus which provides information regarding alternatives to corporal punishment (www.rrsss12.gouv.qc.ca/documents/brochure_abus2.pdf).

Basic health and welfare
(Articles 6, 18-21, 23, 24, 26 and 27)

341.
The Healthy Schools approach, implemented throughout Québec since 2005, originated from a complementary services agreement between the Ministry of Health and Social Services and the Ministry of Education, Recreation and Sport. This partnership approach brings together schools, families and communities and aims at ensuring the cohesion, complementarity and continuity of interventions with regards to prevention and health promotion carried out in elementary and secondary schools.
 

Health care for Aboriginal and rural children

342.
In 2007, the Government of Québec published a reference guide, Delivery and funding of health services and social services for Aboriginal people (First Nations and Inuit).
 
343.
The Government of Québec has worked with First Nations communities in training for their social workers who are specialized in alcohol and drug abuse, and the development of several communication strategies to prevent pathological gambling. Furthermore, a new campaign is being elaborated to address drug problems among Aboriginal youth.
 

Aboriginal youth suicide prevention

344.
With respect to suicide, an interdepartmental working group on associated social problems has been established in order to support Aboriginal communities going through a social crisis, for instance in the event of a suicide.
 

Minimizing risks to adolescent health

345.
As part of the Government of Québec's implementation of the Mental Health Action Plan 2005-2010 - Strength in connections, each youth centre in the province has established a suicide crisis intervention protocol. As well, front line multi-disciplinary teams on youth mental health have been created in health and social services centres, and training has been provided to those who carry out youth mental health monitoring in schools. These teams support the onsite workers (i.e. special-education teachers, social workers).
 
346.
With respect to sexually-transmitted diseases, the Government of Québec has produced a guide on the dangers of the hypersexualization of young girls in order to assist front-line workers responsible for sexual education. Moreover, tools and brochures on sexual education have been designed and communicated through artistic means, such as theatrical presentations.
 

Adequate housing

347.
In 2003, the Government of Québec implemented changes to the Affordable Housing Québec program to include a component on the development of new housing units in the 14 Aboriginal communities of the Kativik region. Consequently, between 2003 and 2007, the government contributed to the construction of 311 residential units for off-reserve Aboriginal people: 239 social housing units and 72 private units. Québec's contribution also allowed for the renovation or adaptation of 163 private units, and nearly $45.1 million were dedicated to the renovation of social housing units.
 

Homelessness

348.
In 2008, the Government of Québec published a reference framework on homelessness which focuses on the need to:
 
  • take action to prevent homelessness;
  • respond to emergency situations by supporting shelters;
  • intensify intervention and social reintegration efforts; and
  • mobilize partnerships to solve the problem.
349.
The framework outlines a set of social and individual factors likely to cause homelessness or temporary situations of homelessness: family violence, repetitive placement in foster homes, broken homes or drug abuse.
 
350.
Some of the measures proposed in the Youth Action Strategy 2006-2009 aim to reduce the frequency of placement for young people in foster homes, and to implement a qualification program for those living in youth centres.
 
351.
The Société d'habitation du Québec refers to two documents with respect to the situation of homeless children:
 
  • Hurtubise, Roch and Shirley Roy. L'itinérance en questions, 2007, Québec, Presse de l'Université du Québec, 366 p.
  • Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse. Nunavik - Investigation into child and youth protection services in Ungava Bay and Hudson Bay - Report, conclusions of the investigation and recommendations, 2007, 83 p.

Education, leisure and cultural activities
(Articles 28, 29 and 31)

Education for Aboriginal children, rural children and children at risk

352.
Nearly 90 percent of Aboriginal students in Québec attend a school in their own community. Classes are taught in their native language full-time in elementary school, and part-time at the secondary level. Aboriginal schools also ensure that classes and programs include cultural components specific to their communities.
 
353.
Aboriginal students attending schools within the Québec school system have the opportunity to take part in activities related to their culture and can, in many cases, consult with liaison officers who will assist them in maintaining ties with their own communities.  
 
354.
Aboriginal communities are focussing on improving the language and subject-specific competency skills of their students. As such, they have implemented homework help services, put in place culturally-adapted programs, classes, material and exams, and developed training alternatives (e.g. occupational training and adult education).
 
355.
Several schools in Aboriginal communities have implemented more stringent absence-control measures, strengthened ties with parents and elders of the community, and diversified extracurricular activities.
 
356.
Aboriginal communities, in partnership with Québec universities and colleges, developed teacher and educator training programs adapted to the specific modern-day realities and needs of Aboriginal students. 
 
357.
Aboriginal educators consult and work with program development specialists during the development and updating of the programs and courses offered in their schools.
 
358.
An intervention strategy, entitled New Approaches, New Solutions, was also implemented to encourage students from rural communities to remain in school. This strategy has been extended to other schools.  

Children from cultural communities

359.
To ensure the preservation and enrichment of heritage languages and cultures for cultural communities, as well as to facilitate the integration of cultural community members in the Québec school system, the Government of Québec has implemented the Programme d'enseignement des langues d'origine in its public schools. This program has also been extended to all students, regardless of their origin, in order to promote positive relationships between people of different cultural backgrounds. Seventeen curricula have been developed throughout the years, including in Algonquin (an Aboriginal language). At the elementary level, nearly 6,600 students are enrolled in such classes.  
 
360.
The Programme des langues ethniques offered in community schools by cultural associations helps maintain and improve the basic knowledge and language skills of students from cultural communities while encouraging them to learn more about their origins, thereby preserving the linguistic and cultural vitality of their communities. Currently, 11 languages are taught, and more than 1,200 secondary school students are enrolled in these classes.
 
361.
The policy on educational integration and intercultural education, entitled A School for the Future, seeks to involve schools, families and communities, including community and municipal organizations, in the integration of newly-arrived immigrant students. The Government of Québec provides financial support to projects, conducted in partnership with these stakeholders, which enable immigrant students and their parents to familiarize themselves with various aspects of Québec society.   
 
362.
As part of its policy A school for the future, the Government of Québec supports organizations recognized for their intervention efforts that encourage young people, aged 16 to 24, who are immigrants or members of ethnic minorities, to remain in school.
 
363.
The Government of Québec supports projects developed by organizations from Afro-Canadian communities aimed at providing summer socio-educational activities to elementary and secondary school students with learning difficulties. 
 
364.
The Government of Québec has developed an integration and intervention plan for newly-arrived immigrant students with severe educational delays (more than three years based on the Québec standard), as well as tools to support teachers working with these young people. On average, almost seven percent of newly-arrived immigrant students are in a situation of severe educational delay.
 
365.
Also, the Government of Québec is participating in university research work on the educational background of young immigrants and the factors affecting their success at school. This research enhances knowledge on the academic success of immigrant students, which will translate into programs and measures more suited to their specific needs. A first study, entitled La réussite scolaire des jeunes des communautés noires au secondaire, was completed in September 2005.
 

Special protection measures
(Articles 22, 30 and 32-40)

Protection of Aboriginal children

366.
In 2007, the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse conducted a study on the situation of young people in need of protection in Nunavik. The report stemming from this study presented a series of recommendations for those individuals, agencies and institutions most likely to be able to promote child protection in the region. At the Katimajiit Forum, held in August 2007, the Government of Québec committed to follow up on several of the report's recommendations, including with respect to:
 
  • restructuring of youth protection services;
  • development of front line social services;
  • promotion of community engagement;
  • addition of staff members who would focus on interventions with young people and their families; and
  • promotion of community work.
367.
After the First Nations Socioeconomic Forum, held in 2006, which was attended by government representatives, the Government of Québec committed to developing practical solutions to close the socioeconomic gap between Aboriginal people and the rest of Québec's population, especially in terms of front-line social services provided to young people and their families. A tripartite committee was created to help four Aboriginal communities improve development of parenting skills and family and youth support components of their social services. Steps are currently being taken to extend this initiative to other Aboriginal communities. 
 
368.
In Nunavik, some services which are part of the health care and social services network are provided in schools, such as prevention and health promotion services, services targeting vulnerable youth, and services aimed at children. 
 
369.
Since 2007, research and analysis work has been conducted in Nunavik in order to develop solutions to support Inuit midwives trained in the region, including pre- and postnatal follow-up, and to allow for the recognition of their experience and training. Also since 2007, additional funds have been provided to the three shelters for women victims of spousal abuse and their children in Nunavik, to support the prevention of domestic violence in the region.
 

Protection of refugee children, separated children and unaccompanied children seeking asylum

370.
The Act to amend the Youth Protection Act, adopted in 2006, brought changes to custody law, allowing the Court of Québec to appoint guardians for children placed under protective supervision. While the scope of custody remains the same, the purpose of the amendment is to allow the court of justice with the most information on a child under protective supervision to decide on the appropriateness of appointing a guardian.
 
371.
In order to facilitate access to basic education and health care for newcomers, a new information-sharing mechanism between immigration services and health care and social services agencies was implemented in 2008, more specifically to collect data on refugees placed under the care of the Government of Québec. This data is sorted by age group and gender.
 
372.
In 2008, the Government of Québec developed administrative procedures to speed up the processing of family-class sponsorship applications; it will be possible to apply these procedures to some refugee children living abroad.
 

Children in conflict with the law

373.
The Youth Qualification Program, which helps young people who must leave youth centres at the age of 18 acquire the required level of autonomy to reintegrate into society, can also be applied to young offenders in need of such support after their stay in a rehabilitation centre.
 

Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict

374.
In Québec, various public institutions and organizations (hospitals, health care and social services centres) have developed child-specific programs or services, including for children who may have been affected by armed conflicts.

Ontario

General measures of implementation
(Articles 4, 42 and 44)

Child expenditures

375.
Information on Government of Ontario resource allocations for issues relating to children can be found at http://www.children.gov.on.ca/.
 

Data collection and dissemination

376.
The Government of Ontario conducts or coordinates research and evaluation activities related to programs and services for children and youth. Most data is collected by external agencies such as the Offord Centre for Child Studies.
 
377.
The Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies in partnership with the University of Ottawa collects data based on the Ontario Looking after Children assessment protocol.
 
378.
The Government of Ontario has developed a Child and Youth Mental Health Data and Information Strategy to support the implementation of A Shared Responsibility: Ontario's Policy Framework for Child and Youth Mental Health. The Strategy will guide the collection, analysis, dissemination, and utilization of quantitative and qualitative information to support effective policy, program and resource decision making for the government and the child and youth mental health sector.
 
379.
The Government of Ontario maintains information sharing agreements with the Government of Canada to obtain data on parents and children who are in receipt of social assistance and are entitled to the Canada Child Tax Benefit, including the National Child Benefit, and the federally-administered Ontario Child Benefit.
 

Coordination and monitoring of children's rights

380.
The Government of Ontario introduced a new strategic framework in spring 2008 to meet the government's commitment of improving how services are provided to Ontario's young people and their families. Realizing Our Potential - Our Children, Our Youth, Our Future provides a common foundation for working with partners to improve outcomes for children and youth.
 
381.
In March 2004, the Government of Ontario established the Education Partnership Table, which is a forum for collaboration designed to get insights from the education sector on provincial education policy early in the government's policy development process. Participants have the opportunity to contribute to the common public interest in publicly funded education. In return, they agree to work toward consensus and, wherever possible, to raise issues first at the Table for all to examine and help solve collectively. Participants include organizations representing students, parents, trustees, teachers, support workers and principals.
 
382.
Provincial government departments work cooperatively to develop the Student Support Leadership (SSL). Implemented in 2008, this initiative fosters leadership within and across the province's school boards/authorities and community agencies by establishing or enhancing local partnerships in order to build capacity and better meet the needs of students through collaborative planning, service coordination and referrals.
 
383.
The SSL initiative supports:
 
  • A Shared Responsibility: Ontario's Policy Framework for Child and Youth Mental Health, by promoting enhanced collaboration and coordination across school boards and community agencies to support the healthy development of Ontario's children and youth; and
  • Ontario's Safe Schools Strategy, by encouraging school boards to form partnerships with community agencies to provide non-academic supports that promote positive student behaviour.

Complaint mechanisms

384.
To strengthen Ontario's child well-being and protection system, the government has created the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, an independent officer reporting directly to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Children and youth with special needs who are seeking or receiving approved services under the Child and Family Services Act (CFSA) (www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/statutes/english/elaws_statutes_90c11_e.htm)in Ontario have access to the services of the Advocate, who can increase visibility of the rights and voices of these vulnerable children and youth.
 
385.
The Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth Act, 2007 (www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/statutes/english/elaws_statutes_07p09_e.htm),which was proclaimed in October 2007, states that the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth:
 
  • Provides an independent voice for children and youth, including First Nations children and youth and children with special needs, by partnering with them to bring issues forward;
  • Encourages communication and understanding between children and families and those who provide them with services; and
  • Educates children, youth and their caregivers regarding the rights of children and youth.

General principles
(Articles 2, 3, 6 and 12)

Non-discrimination

386.
Ontario promotes permanency options for all children and youth in need of protection regardless of cultural background. Since December 2007, the Parent Resources for Information Development and Education training protocol has been used to educate prospective adoptive and foster parents in how to deal with culturally sensitive issues that might affect children and youth who will be placed into their care.
 
387.
The Government of Ontario is implementing the Residential Action Plan to improve the safety, security and quality of residential services: tool kits - Healthy Eating Matters and Achieving Cultural Competence - have been developed for use in licensed residential settings to support food and nutrition standards and cultural competency policies.
 

Best interests of the child

388.
As part of the Government of Ontario's commitment to the best interest of the child principle, it introduced the new Child Protection Standards in February 2007, to provide the framework within which Ontario's 53 Children's Aid Societies deliver child protection services to vulnerable children. The standards establish a minimum level of performance for Children's Aid Societies, child protection workers and supervisors and create a norm that reflects a desired level of achievement.
 

Respect for the views of the child

389.
The Policy and Program Memorandum 128 requires each school board in the Province of Ontario to have a Code of Conduct that must include the standards stated in the provincial Code of Conduct and include procedures and timelines for review. Reviews must be conducted at least every three years. In developing or reviewing these local standards of behaviour, the principal must take into consideration the views of the school council and seek input from students, staff, parents and members of the school community.
 

Training of professionals

390.
Children's Aid Societies workers have received training in child care and protection. They received training in the Ontario Practice Model, which was implemented in 2007. The Ontario Practice Model consists of the Looking after Children protocol to determine the needs for every child that comes into care, the Parent Resources for Information Development and Education and the Structured Analysis Family Evaluation training and assessment protocols for prospective adoptive and foster parents. Children's Aid Societies are mandated under the CFSA to provide services to children who are in need of protection.

Civil rights and freedoms
(Articles 7, 8, 13-17 and 37)

391.
On May 25, 2007, a regulation under the Vital Statistics Act (http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/statutes/english/elaws_statutes_90v04_e.htm) was amended to permit a new system of electronic birth registration to be phased in across Ontario. ServiceOntario, in partnership with ServiceCanada, has developed and implemented electronic birth registration for more than 46 percent of the province. This allows parents and hospitals/midwifery clinics to submit birth registration information directly to ServiceOntario, eliminating the need for municipalities to collect birth registration documents and forward these on to the Province for registration. This has eliminated municipal fees for birth registration (a barrier to registration) and reduced the time registration takes from an average of 20 weeks down to four weeks after the birth.
 
392.
The Child and Family Services Act (CFSA) provides recognition of culture, heritage, traditions, religious, and regional differences for all children in need of protection. In particular, the CFSA mandates Children's Aid Societies to examine the options of kinship care or kinship service for children in care. The CFSA also recognizes that First Nations people should be entitled to provide, wherever possible, their own child and family services, in a manner that recognizes their culture, heritage and traditions and the concept of the extended family. To this end, the CFSA legislated the use of customary care for Indian or native children.
 

Family environment and alternative care
(Articles 5, 9-11, 18-21, 25, 27 and 39)

Adoption, search for birth parents and access to parental medical history

393.
Some intercountry adoptions must be finalized in Ontario and are not covered under the Ontario Intercountry Adoption Act, 1998. Ontario's CFSAhas yet to beamended to reflect the ratification of the Hague Convention of 1993 on the Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption. Legislative and regulatory changes are currently being examined in order to bring the CFSA into full compliance with the Hague Convention.
 
394.
On May 14, 2008, the Ontario legislature passed the Access to Adoption Records Act, 2008, which provides for more open access to original birth registrations and adoption records, while balancing the rights of adopted adults and birth parents who wish to protect their privacy. Adopted adults and birth parents may still submit no contact notices if they do not want to hear from one another or notices of contact preference if they wish to specify how they wish contact to occur. Any notices registered to date remain valid. The Act includes a disclosure veto for adopted adults and birth parents involved in adoptions where the adoption order is made before September 1, 2008.
 

Child care and support services

395.
Since 2005, under the Best Start Strategy, the Government of Ontario has funded the creation of more than 22,000 new child care spaces across the province. As of January 2007, child care fee subsidies are assessed based on income, which has replaced the previous needs test.
 
396.
An Automated Licensing Project was implemented across Ontario in 2006 to eliminate manual inspection report production and provide program advisors with an on-demand information system while on site in child care facilities. The project provides remote access to licensing tools, such as the Day Nurseries Manual and the child care program's licensing history.
 
397.
Early Childhood Education and Care in Canada 2006 (www.childcarecanada.org/ECEC2006/index.html) provides across-Canada data and information on regulated child care and kindergarten by province/territory, maternity and parental leave together with relevant demographic information.
 
398.
In November 2006, amendments to the Day Nurseries Act were implemented to provide consistency with governmental and local school board policies and the flexibility needed to achieve the Best Start goals of integrating early learning and child care.
 
399.
Also in November 2006, the Government of Ontario increased the maximum allowable deduction for recipients of the Ontario Disability Support Plan for informal child care costs to $600 per child per month and the up-front child care benefit for informal child care to $600. Where child care is provided by a licensed provider, the costs of child care (with no maximum costs) are eligible as a deduction from the recipient's monthly net employment earnings, training wages, or business income. For unlicensed providers, the costs of child care are eligible as a deduction up to a maximum of $600 per child per month. The amount is the same for all children, including children who require child care for special circumstances.
 
400.
In 2007:
 
  • A special advisor was appointed to advise on implementing full-day learning for four- and five-year-olds starting in 2010-2011.
  • The province launched the Licensed Child Care Resource web site that provides families with improved access to information on licensed child care programs (http://www.ontario.ca/ONT/portal51/licensedchildcare).
  • Three-hundred new child care spaces were created for Aboriginal children.

Child and family benefits and other initiatives addressing child poverty

401.
Children's Aid Societies are required to invest in Registered Education Savings Plans for children aged zero to six years of age to promote engagement in post-secondary education.
 
402.
The Cabinet Committee on Poverty Reduction is developing poverty indicators and targets and a focused strategy for reducing child and youth poverty, including:
 
  • expanding opportunities so that all Ontarians - particularly children - can reach their full potential;
  • delivering more effective and efficient services that are tailored to the unique needs of individuals and families;
  • encouraging governments, business leaders, not-for-profit organizations, volunteers and individuals to work together to address poverty issues within the province; and
  • delivering a measurable poverty reduction plan that is also beneficial for the economy.
403.
The Ontario Child Benefit (OCB) is a provincially funded benefit provided to low-income families with children between the ages of 0 to 18 years - regardless of whether or not they receive social assistance. The OCB is being phased in over a five-year period that began in 2007. In 2008, the OCB has been providing up to $600 annually per child, reduced by eight cents for every dollar of adjusted family net income over $20,000. This program helps parents receiving social assistance make the transition to work, because they continue to receive support for their children after beginning employment. By 2011, this investment will reach 1.3 million children in 600,000 families across Ontario.
 
404.
Ontario's Student Nutrition Program was expanded recently to assist high needs communities as identified through a formula which includes the Low Income Cut-Off, single parent families and other factors.

Illicit transfer and non-return

405.
Ontario has a well-established AMBER Alert program that quickly alerts the public about a missing or abducted child under 18 years of age who is believed to be in imminent danger. It is a voluntary program that can be activated by any police service in Ontario.
 
406.
The request to activate an AMBER Alert must be made by a senior police officer who ascertains the accuracy of abduction information. Activation criteria include:
 
  • confirmation that a child under the age of 18 years has been abducted;
  • belief that the circumstances surrounding the abduction indicates that the child is in danger of serious bodily harm or death; and
  • enough descriptive information about the child's abductor and/or suspect's vehicle to believe an immediate broadcast alert will help in locating the child.
407.
A number of public notification strategies are then deployed through the commitment of several partners. This includes displaying the AMBER Alert on traffic and public transportation systems such as COMPASS,[26] RESCU[27] and the Toronto Transit Commission Changeable Message Signs. Information is also immediately communicated through radio, television and cable TV stations, posted on over 10,000 lottery terminals, and provided to anyone who has signed up for free notifications services through email and SMS text messaging. Over 15,000 people receive email/text messages when an Ontario AMBER Alert is issued. There are an undetermined number of people who then rebroadcast the message they receive.
 

Use of minor corrective force and alternatives to physical discipline of children

408.
All Ontario school boards have voluntarily abolished corporal punishment. The Policy/Program Memorandum No. 145 requires school boards to address progressive discipline and promote positive student behaviour.
 
409.
Progressive discipline is a whole-school approach that uses a continuum of interventions, supports, and consequences to address inappropriate student behaviour and to build upon strategies that promote positive behaviour. When inappropriate behaviour occurs, disciplinary measures are applied within a framework that shifts the focus from one that is solely punitive to one that is both corrective and supportive. Ongoing interventions may be necessary to sustain and promote positive student behaviour and/or address underlying causes of inappropriate behaviour. For example, they include meetings with parents, volunteer service to the school community, conflict mediation, peer mentoring, and/or a referral to counselling.
 
410.
The Ontario Early Years Centres support parents and caregivers and provide them with essential education, health and well-being information, including positive discipline measures.
 

Basic health and welfare
(Articles 6, 18, 23, 24, 26 and 27)

Pregnancy and early childhood development

411.
The Best Start Strategy provides families living in poverty with the skills and supports they need to help their children learn and succeed. Through early identification, delays in development are recognized in infants and young children and early intervention services are put in place so that those children receive the best possible chance at healthy development. Early years programs, such as Healthy Babies Healthy Children, specifically target children at risk, including those living in poverty, to identify and intervene so that the children become healthy, educated, confident and productive adults. Through the universal Early Learning Program in demonstration communities, children aged two and a half to four years old have access to the equivalent of two and a half hours per day of activities that support early learning, at no cost to parents.
 
412.
The Aboriginal Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and Child Nutrition Program are part of the Government of Ontario's Early Childhood Development Initiatives. Eighteen Aboriginal service providers and First Nations deliver these programs which provide services related to FASD and child nutrition to 180 Aboriginal communities both on- and off-reserve land. Each project site is responsible for developing and delivering programming activities that meet the needs of the local community. Services are delivered in three primary streams: support for families; health promotion and prevention; and delivery of training and capacity building opportunities.
 
413.
The Government of Ontario also runs the Aboriginal Healthy Babies Healthy Children Program, delivered through the Aboriginal Healing and Wellness Strategy.
 
414.
The Infant Hearing Program has implemented a system of remote assessment of hearing for children in remote communities using the Ontario Telehealth Network. Children are able to have their hearing assessed in their home, or closest major community by an audiologist located in a major urban centre.
 

Health care for Aboriginal and rural children

415.
Ontario boards of health provide public health programs and services to Aboriginal children both on- and off-reserve, including Healthy Babies, Healthy Children and childhood immunization.
 
416.
The Government of Ontario continues to support a number of Aboriginal-specific health programs and services, including the Aboriginal Healing and Wellness Strategy,[28] mental health and addictions programs, and community health centres.
 
417.
Ontario supports Akwe:go Urban Aboriginal Children's Program and Wasa-Nabin Urban Aboriginal Youth Program, two unique programs for urban Aboriginal children aged  seven to 12 years and 12 to 18 years of age, addressing the mental health and wellness of Aboriginal children and youth in a culturally relevant and holistic manner. The fundamental goal of these programs is to provide at-risk Aboriginal children and youth with a strong foundation that will encourage their ability to make healthy choices throughout their lives.
 
418.
In 2007, the Government of Ontario funded the Off-Reserve Coalition on Aboriginal Child and Youth Mental Health to complete a research project in order to ascertain the child and youth mental health landscape for Aboriginal children and their families living in urban communities.
 

Aboriginal youth suicide prevention

419.
Supports to Aboriginal children and families in the prevention of suicide include:
 
  • Aboriginal Child Protection Services, including six designated Aboriginal Children's Aid Societies; and
  • Child Well-being and Prevention Initiatives - Services on Reserve.

 

Minimizing risks to adolescent health

420.
The Ontario Harm Reduction Distribution Program was established in July 2007, with the goal of providing single use drug-using equipment to people who use drugs in Ontario to reduce sharing and thereby decrease the risk of transmitting hepatitis C and HIV and other blood-borne pathogens. Educational materials have been developed to emphasize harm reduction practices and educate at-risk populations, specifically youth. As well, ongoing data collection and review of research identifies emerging harm reduction issues and evidence that further supports the goal of the program and the development of educational information on harm reduction initiatives.
 
421.
A maternal-child-youth strategy is being developed for Ontario that will track and address the issues of suicide, sexually transmitted infections, injury and some mental health indicators on an annual basis. Presently, the efforts are focused on prevention for sexually transmitted infections (funding has been provided for the human papillomavirus vaccine) and there are mandatory laws for children under 12 to wear helmets when riding bicycles to prevent injuries. There is also a Mental Health and Addiction Strategy being developed to address the mental health needs of the general population, including children.
 
422.
In 2006, the Government of Ontario released A Shared Responsibility: Ontario's Policy Framework for Child and Youth Mental Health that sets out the strategic direction for change in the delivery of child and youth mental health services over the next decade and outlines a broad continuum of services ranging from promotion/illness prevention through to highly-specialized services. The vision of the Framework is "an Ontario where child and youth mental health is recognized as a key determinant of overall health and well-being, and where children and youth grow to their full potential."
 
423.
Utilizing videoconferencing, the Ontario Child and Youth Telepsychiatry Program provides children, youth and their families/caregivers living in rural, remote and under-serviced areas with access to a child psychiatrist without having to leave their home communities. In 2006-2007, the program provided close to 200 consultations with Aboriginal children and youth.
 

Adequate housing

424.
Ontario has taken specific measures to assist families and children obtain and maintain adequate housing, including:
 
  • Rental Opportunity for Ontario Families is a $185 million housing allowance program that provides financial supplements directly to low-income families to help pay the rent. Starting in January 2008, eligible families receive housing allowance assistance for up to five years.
  • The Special Priority Policy under the Social Housing Reform Act, 2000 provides priority access to social housing for victims of abuse. Under the policy, households that have members who have experienced abuse can request to be included in the Special Priority Household Category for priority placement on the waiting lists for rent geared-to-income assistance, special needs housing or internal transfers.
425.
To implement the $80 million Aboriginal Housing Trust, Ontario has initiated discussions with Aboriginal communities to determine how best to use this funding to increase off-reserve Aboriginal housing.
 

Homelessness

426.
Ontario implements several initiatives to help the homeless and people at risk of homelessness, including:
 
  • the creation and repair of affordable housing supply;
  • the provision of housing allowances and rent supplements;
  • a Provincial Rent Bank Program to prevent evictions;
  • strong protection against unlawful eviction under the Residential Tenancies Act; and
  • a commitment to develop a long-term affordable housing strategy.
427.
Municipalities are the service system managers for homelessness prevention programs and determine the scope of services necessary to address the issue of homelessness at the local level. A number of municipalities in Ontario have produced reports that analyze trends and issues faced by their local homeless population, including children and youth. This research is used to inform local decision-making.
 
428.
The Government of Ontario provides funding to municipalities to provide services such as housing, community supports, mental health and addictions. Through the Consolidated Homelessness Prevention Program, municipalities are provided with funding to develop programs and conduct research that will assist individuals and families who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness.
 
429.
The Ontario Municipal Social Services Association (OMMSA) is a non-profit organization that represents municipal service managers in delivering social and community services throughout Ontario. In April 2008, OMSSA released a report entitled A Strategy to End Homelessness (www.omssa.com/lib/Db2file.asp?fileid=21607), which included recommendations for all levels of government with respect to coordination, strategic policy, funding and service delivery for homelessness prevention.
 
430.
The Government of Ontario and York University have partnered on two research projects to examine the role of affordable housing in exits from homelessness and children's educational achievement and a longitudinal research study on housing and children's educational outcomes. Final reports for both research projects will be considered in the context of the government's commitment to implement a Long Term Affordable Housing Strategy.

Education, leisure and cultural activities
(Articles 28, 29 and 31)

431.
The preservation and maintenance of the facility in first languages is a component of the English language learner strategy and the International Languages program that provides students in both elementary and secondary schools support for maintenance and development of their first languages.
 
432.
Cultural diversity is a component of the Grades 9-12 Canadian and World Studies curriculum. For example, in the Grade 10 Academic and Applied Canadian History courses, students are expected to identify the diverse contributions to Canada's multicultural society by various communities (e.g., Aboriginal peoples, Franco-Ontarians, Black Canadians, Doukhobors, Mennonites, local immigrant communities). In the Grade 12 Canada: History, Identity and Culture course, students are expected to learn about Aboriginal life prior to contact with Europeans (e.g., traditional economies, spirituality, relationship with the environment, political organization) and assess the extent to which Canadian identity and culture have been influenced by Aboriginal peoples.
 

Education for Aboriginal children, rural children and children at risk

433.
Ontario has implemented new programs to address higher dropout rates in Aboriginal, rural and remote communities and among higher risk youth, including adult education and the Youth Apprenticeship Program, making it easier for individuals to return to school or continue their education
 
434.
Additional examples include:
 
  • Specialist High Skills Majors allow students to focus on a future career through a bundle of classroom courses, workplace experiences and sector certifications; Band Council advisors are included in the board and/or school advisory committees of Specialist High Skills Major Programs.
  • Expansion of Cooperative Education allows students to count this hands-on learning towards two compulsory high school credits.
  • Dual Credits count towards a student's high school diploma as well as a college certificate, diploma or apprenticeship certification. Aboriginal students are identified as a target group of students for enrolment in Dual Credit programs and some have an Aboriginal focus, designed to appeal to and engage Aboriginal students.
435.
Ontario's Aboriginal Education Strategy for First Nation, Métis and Inuit students supports learning and achievement for Aboriginal students with respect to their cultures, histories, and perspectives in schools. The Strategy was launched in January 2007, with the release of the First Nation, Métis and Inuit Education Policy Framework. The Framework provides the strategic policy context within which the Ministry of Education, school boards and schools will work together to support the academic achievement of Aboriginal students in provincially-funded schools.
 
436.
The Aboriginal Secondary School Program in Native Friendship Centres specifically addresses the needs of disengaged, urban Aboriginal students and helps them complete their secondary school diploma. The program has proven to be successful in addressing the learning and cultural needs of Aboriginal youth.
 
437.
The Government of Ontario has also developed a framework of "lenses" to review curriculum. One of the lenses is that of an Aboriginal perspective to facilitate learning about contemporary and traditional First Nation, Métis, and Inuit cultures, histories, and perspectives among all students.
 

Special protection measures
(Articles 22, 30 and 32- 40)

Protection of refugee children, separated children and unaccompanied children seeking asylum

438.
Children's Aid Societies (CAS) are mandated to provide services to children and youth in need of protection who are under the age of 16 years. A CAS will carry out an investigation of a suspected unaccompanied minor and determine the specific protection needs of a child if his/her current whereabouts are within that CAS jurisdiction, or if the child normally resides within this jurisdiction. The CAS ensures that once the immigration officer releases the child to the CAS, the child will have access to appropriate government services. Also, the CAS will meet the immediate needs of the unaccompanied minor such as housing, psychosocial assessment, health services, education and continued follow-up as required.
 
439.
Regulation 552 of the Health Insurance Act states that refugees are eligible for Ontario health insurance coverage provided that they meet the regulated residency requirements. Refugees are also exempt from the three-month waiting period.
 
440.
In July 2006, the Government of Ontario amended Regulation 552 of the Health Insurance Act to exempt Canadian citizens and Permanent Residents/Landed Immigrants from the three-month waiting period for Ontario Health Insurance Plan coverage, if they arrive in Ontario after July 20, 2006, from a foreign country where an evacuation effort is being undertaken or facilitated by the federal government.
 

Protection of children from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse, and the sale, trafficking and abduction of children

441.
Where children who may be at risk of sexual abuse or exploitation have been reported to a Children's Aid Society, workers are required to use modern, updated and evidence-based Eligibility Spectrum, Ontario Child Protection Standards and Tools to assess risk to a child's safety and match their response to the needs of the child and family. These Standards include more stringent provisions for assessments, investigations and case management.
 
442.
The Provincial Strategy to Protect Children from Sexual Abuse and Exploitation on the Internet was implemented in 2006. The Strategy is an integrated model that promotes collaboration among justice partners - Ontario's police services, Crown attorneys and victim services personnel. The initiative's partners work together to address the complete picture of Internet child exploitation, from the outset of the investigation. It includes efforts to identify and rescue the child victims, and provides the support services they need. It also aims to help prevent the cycle of recurring victimization. Since the start of the reporting period, this initiative has resulted in:
 
  • police, Crown attorneys and victim services working together to deal consistently and effectively with instances of Internet child exploitation;
  • a 50 percent increase in the number of offenders charged with Internet child exploitation offences;
  • increased training for dedicated Crown prosecutors;
  • specialized police teams for investigating child-luring and identifying children in images of child exploitation;
  • new counselling programs for child victims; and
  • the identification of over 300 child victims of online sexual abuse and exploitation in Ontario.
443.
The Government of Ontario continues to provide public education in regards to protecting children while online. In 2007, 82 presentations were given to over 10,000 attendees.
 
444.
YTV (a major children's television network) has partnered with the Government of Ontario and has added an interactive game and information spots to their web site to educate children on how to protect themselves online. Thousands of children have registered on this interactive game. YTV's target audience is eight to 13 year olds. Additional advertisements were run on the network's television programming.
 
445.
A sex offender registry, created under the statute Christopher's Law (Sex Offender Registry) 2000, is another investigative tool for police forces that provides information that may help prevent and solve crimes of a sexual nature.
 
446.
The Ontario Victim Services Secretariat has introduced an Internet Child Counselling Program in support of victims. Through the provincial strategy to protect children from Internet crimes, it has formed a partnership with Crimestoppers regarding detection of crimes.
 
447.
The Ontario Victim Services Coordinator has established investigative protocols and techniques that pay special attention to identifying and locating child victims while investigating child pornography offences.
 
448.
The Government of Ontario identified 138 victims in 2007 and 33 more victims were rescued by Provincial Strategy partners. The Government of Ontario works collaboratively with other governments and NGOs such as Cyber Tip, Kids Internet Safety Alliance and Child Find, nationally and internationally to identify victims.

Protection from economic exploitation

449.
Ontario has taken appropriate legislative measures through its health and safety regulations, under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) (http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/statutes/english/elaws_statutes_90o01_e.htm), to set minimum age requirements based on the level of risk in particular activities or sectors.
 
450.
The following minimum ages for workers are prescribed by Regulation:
 
Activity / Sector Minimum Age
Construction projects 16 years
Logging operation 16 years
Factory other than a logging operation 15 years
Workplace other than a factory (e.g., office, stores, restaurant) 14 years
Mining plant or a surface mine, excluding the working face 16 years
Underground mine or at the working face of a surface mine 18 years
Oil & Gas - Offshore 18 years
Window cleaning 18 years
 
451.
According to the OHSA, young workers, like all workers in Ontario, have the right to refuse work when he or she believes that work might endanger him or herself or another person.
 
452.
The Government of Ontario, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, and its health and safety partners across the province, have put a number of measures into place to reduce the risk for workplace injuries among young workers. For instance, its web site includes information for employers on how to be proactive in making their workplaces as safe as possible for new and young workers. Inspectors focus on orientation, training and supervision of new and young workers when they make visits to workplaces.
 
453.
The majority of research on child/youth labour conducted in Ontario is centred on injury rates among workers under 24 years old. Statistics from 2006, illustrate the number of workplace injury claims among 15 to 24 year olds versus other age groups. The total number of claims received in 2006, including both lost-time and no lost-time injuries, were 260,760. Of the total number of injury claims, 17.1 percent were made by young workers aged 15-24. Of the total number of allowed lost-time injury claims (83,179), 13.7 percent were young workers. Since 2002, the total number of allowed lost-time injuries has been reduced by a total of 3,102 injuries or approximately 21.4 percent.
 

Children in conflict with the law

454.
The key components of service delivery of programs for children in conflict with the law include comprehensive risk assessment, effective case management, reintegration and community-based programming. Services include: 
 
  • a range of community-based interventions and alternatives to custody that are responsive to the issues of youth in conflict with the law and build community capacity to respond to these issues, fostering safer communities;
  • supervision of youth with community sentences such as probation, community and personal service orders by probation officers;
  • effective community programming that contributes to community safety and promotes effective rehabilitation of young persons who have been diagnosed with a serious mental health illness or disorder; and
  • creating opportunities for youth to make appropriate, informed decisions that reduce the number of youth coming into conflict with the law.
455.
Since the introduction of the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA), there has been a significant drop in detention counts in Ontario.
 
456.
Ontario is moving from a predominantly custody-based system to a system that offers a broad range of evidence-based community and custodial programs and services that address the needs of youth, their families and communities.
 
457.
An integrated and dedicated justice system for youth aged 12 to 17 at the time of their offence that is separate and apart from the adult system is being established in Ontario. All youth in units currently co-located within adult correctional facilities will be removed from adult correctional facilities by March 2009. These new facilities are designed to meet the unique needs of youth and to provide services as close to home as possible.
 
458.
For Aboriginal youth, the Government of Ontario runs the Aboriginal Alternatives to Custody Programs. Supports include counselling services, addictions and substance abuse programming, healing circles and Elder support, recreational program and mentoring. Each program is tailored to meet the specific needs of its community.
 
459.
The Government of Ontario has implemented policies and procedures based on the YCJA, which recognize the importance of confidentiality to a young person's rehabilitation and reintegration as well as the long-term protection of the public. The policies and procedures provide strict limitations on the publication of information about young persons in conflict with the law who are under age 18 at the time of the offence. They also provide strict limitations on the access to, and disclosure of, information and records about young persons.
 
460.
Ontario established the Youth Justice Committee Program in 1999 and has introduced youth justice committees to 57 communities throughout Ontario. The Program is an extrajudicial measures/sanctions program under the YCJA. A youth justice committee brings together a young person aged 12-17 alleged to have committed a low-risk offence, his or her parent(s), the victim and trained members of the community to negotiate an appropriate way for the young person to make amends for his or her actions. Youth justice committees engage young persons in a restorative process and provide an increased role for victims and communities in dealing with minor offences committed by young persons who are prepared to be accountable. Measures take into consideration the individual circumstances of the offence and the young person, including situations where young persons may benefit from specific programs and/or services that address physical or psychological recovery and reintegration into the community.
 
461.
The Youth Mental Health Court Worker (YMHCW) provides supports to Youth Justice Court for transitional aged youth 16 years and older with mental health issues and  functions as a short-term 'bridge' between these systems to reduce barriers to youth accessing necessary mental health and ancillary services to reduce recidivism. In cooperation and with the approval of the Youth Justice Court, the YMHCW facilitates the diversion of youth out of the criminal justice system and provides referral supports to link the youth with community-based mental health services.
 
462.
The Intensive Support and Supervision Program (ISSP) is a pilot program that provides a clinically-focused, community-based individualized program designed to deliver services appropriate to the youth's level of functioning and to target those specific needs or underlying mental health issues that are recognized as contributing to the youth's offending behaviour. ISSP is designed for youth who would benefit from an extended period of intensive, highly structured and closely supervised programming in the community.
 

Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict

463.
A Child and Youth Mental Health Extraordinary Circumstances Reserve was created in 2007 to provide time-limited support for agencies in communities facing an immediate need for child and youth mental health services caused by an extraordinary circumstance/crisis that cannot be met within existing resources. This includes war-affected children.

Manitoba

General measures of implementation
(Articles 4, 42 and 44)

Child expenditures

464.
For information on children services and expenditures by the Government of Manitoba for children, including Early Childhood Development, see the following reports:
 

Data collection and dissemination

465.
The Government of Manitoba collects data on stillbirths and births through the Vital Statistics Agency. This data is shared with the Government of Canada under approved disclosure mechanisms.
 
466.
The Government of Manitoba annually commissions a series of data deliverables from the University of Manitoba's Centre for Health Policy, which conducts secondary analyses of administrative data from the Government of Manitoba. In 2005, the Government of Manitoba permanently allocated one of these annual deliverables to the Healthy Child Committee of Cabinet to focus on child-centred analyses of cross-departmental interest. The Government of Manitoba works in partnership with the Centre in the secondary analyses of data for these cross-departmental deliverables.
 
467.
In the Kindergarden to Grade 12 system there are protocols in place for sharing information relevant to the education of students, with due consideration to existing access and privacy legislation. Pupil file guidelines provide direction on the sharing of information within Manitoba.
 
468.
Examples of research and reports that occurred within Manitoba include: Adolescence without Shelter: A Comprehensive Description of Issues Faced by Street Youth in Winnipeg,[29] and  Strengthening our Youth" Their Journey to Competence and Independence: A Report on Youth Leaving Manitoba's Child Welfare System.[30]
 
469.
The latter report (which identified the issue of homelessness as one outcome for youth exiting care) was incorporated along with four other external reviews into the child welfare Changes for Children initiative announced in the fall of 2006. This initiative is designed to respond to the 289 recommendations arising from the external reviews, through seven thematic areas: enhancing primary prevention, early intervention for families, enhanced support for front-line workers, improved communication, strengthening the governance structure, securing the federal role, and improvements to child death reviews. Addressing issues facing youth aging out of care is one of the areas for action within this framework (which is overseen by the Child and Family Services Standing Committee, created by The Child and Family Services Authorities Act 2003).
 

Coordination and monitoring of children's rights

470.
In 2004-2005, the Government of Manitoba established a program review team of the Healthy Child Manitoba partner departments, to develop a new Early Childhood Development (ECD) centred estimates process. The ECD-Centred Estimates Process establishes annual cross-departmental inventories of ECD programs and expenditures, and is Manitoba's key mechanism for intergovernmental and joint community-government planning, funding, and evaluation of ECD initiatives and activities.
 
471.
In December 2007, the Government of Manitoba proclaimed The Healthy Child Manitoba Act (HCM Act), which commits the government to inter-sectoral collaboration, evidence-based decision-making, and increased investments in prevention and early intervention, particularly in the areas of early childhood development; physical and emotional health; safety and security; learning success; and social engagement and responsibility. The Act commits the Government of Manitoba to reporting regularly on children's development and directs the collecting and sharing of data for the purpose of researching, planning, implementing, evaluating or monitoring the Healthy Child Manitoba Strategy.
 
472.
The HCM Act establishes the Provincial Healthy Child Advisory Committee to advise the Healthy Child Committee of Cabinet and the Healthy Child Manitoba Office about any matter relating to the Healthy Child Manitoba strategy, and to assist in identifying and assessing community strengths and needs relating to children and their families. It also legislatively establishes parent-child coalitions in all regions of the province.
 
473.
Protection of the Child: The Child and Family Services Authorities Act (http://web2.gov.mb.ca/laws/statutes/ccsm/c090e.php) came into force in November 2003, and created: four authorities responsible for the delivery of child and family services (including adoption) to their constituent populations; a Child and Family Services Standing Committee to advise and collaborate on resolving issues in the system; and a Leadership Council consisting of the political leaders of the Manitoba Métis and First Nations chief organisation and a Manitoba minister to discuss issues related to child and family services.
 
474.
The Government of Manitoba is also represented on several local, provincial, and national committees, including the: Canadian Council on Learning - Early Childhood Learning Knowledge Centre; Canadian Institutes of Health Research; Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network; Centre of Excellence for Early Childhood Development; Community Data Network; Council for Early Childhood Development; Understanding the Early Years; Invest in Kids Foundation; Many Hands, One Voice; and Statistics Canada's Aboriginal Children's Survey and National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth.
 

Complaint mechanisms

475.
In 2007, the role of the Children's Advocate was expanded through an amendment to The Child and Family Services Act (http://web2.gov.mb.ca/laws/statutes/2007/c01407e.php#1) to include an automatic review of an agency after the death of a child in its care. The Children's Advocate must also now report the findings of the review with recommendations.
 

Promoting awareness and understanding of the Convention

476.
As part of Manitoba's ongoing training for administrators and educators on legislation and regulations that impact on schools, a section on the Convention on the Rights of the Child is included. This training opportunity for professionals in the Kindergarten- Grade12 schools occurs annually.
 
477.
The Manitoba Human Rights Commission and the Children's Advocate endeavour to inform children of their rights, including their rights under the Convention on the Rights of the Child. For example the Commission holds annual Youth Conferences throughout Manitoba. The Manitoba Human Rights Commission, the Children's Advocate and Ombudsman have information on-line (www.gov.mb.ca/hrc/english/rights_of_youth.html and www.gov.mb.ca/hrc/english/docs/human_rights.pdf).

Definition of the child
Article 1)

478.
The Government of Manitoba funds a number of programs that help immigrant children integrate into Manitoba society. For the purposes of these programs, 'children' are defined as individuals who are 6 to 18 years old, although individuals up to 19 years old may participate in some programs.
 

General principles
(Articles 2, 3, 6 and 12)

Non-discrimination

479.
The Government of Manitoba funds a variety of newcomer youth projects that support the goals of non-discrimination and cultural diversity. During the reporting period, a number of projects and initiatives were introduced:
 
  • The Boys and Girls Clubs Community Support Worker Project provides resources to members who are newcomers to Canada and their parents/families in areas such as short-term crisis intervention, including tailored services that are directly responsive to identified individual needs.
  • The Graffiti Art Programming Inc. and Art City Art Workshops are a series of workshops offering art programming to newcomers aged six to 18 as a tool to reinforce relationship building, mentorship, education, and family support.
  • The Spence Neighbourhood Association Newcomer Youth Programming funds a youth worker who works in cooperation with City of Winnipeg Community Services in a drop-in program to help integrate and facilitate the settlement of newcomer youth aged 13 to 19.
  • The YMCA-YWCA Newcomers Program provides six month memberships for newcomer youth aged 12 to 17 and to 300 families to access programming.
  • The Youth Employment for Newcomers program is a training and work experience program that helps newcomer high school students develop the employability skills required to enter and successfully participate in the Canadian labour market.
  • The After School Program is a program for immigrant children aged 12 to18 that offers support in the areas of computer use, homework and recreational activities.
  • INTRO introduces refugee youth aged six to 12 to Canadian education and culture.
  • The Assistant Deputy Minister's Committee on Youth seeks to remove barriers and provide appropriate support and programming to assist newcomer youth settlement in Manitoba by identifying existing programs to assist newcomer youth in settling and remaining in Manitoba, and ways of responding to gaps in programming to address the needs.
  • The Youth Peace Building Project is an eight-day gathering among Aboriginal, refugee and mainstream Winnipeg youth between the ages of 14 and 16 along with mentors from the same identity groups. Facilitators engaged in trust building, transformation dialogue, perspective sharing, conflict resolution training and other forms of interaction to establish strong relationships across the identity groups.
  • The New Settlement Strategy identifies the need for project-based activities to meet the specific needs of immigrant and refugee groups, such as women, youth, persons with disabilities and vulnerable populations. This includes a range of programs to address psycho-social needs related to adaptation, family violence, intergenerational communication, parenting, youth development and crime prevention.
480.
In 2003, the Manitoba legislature passed The Child and Family Services Authorities Act (http://web2.gov.mb.ca/laws/statutes/ccsm/c090e.php) described in Canada's Fifth Report on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The Child and Family Services Authorities Act Regulation requires the completion of an "Authority Determination Protocol," which gives families (as well as children in/entering independent living and minor or expectant minor parents) the opportunity to choose by which culturally-appropriate Child and Family Services Authority/Agency they wish to be served.
 
481.
The Manitoba curriculum is infused with the promotion of accepting diversity within the community. Belonging, Learning, and Growing: Kindergarten to Grade 12 Action Plan for Ethnocultural Equity was released in 2008 and its web site provides resources to educators to address a variety of issues related to potential discrimination (www.edu.gov.mb.ca/k12/cur/diversity/index.html).
 

Best interests of the child

482.
The Child and Family Services Act has, as one of its basic principles, that "the safety, security and well-being of children and their best interests are fundamental responsibilities of society."
 
483.
As of May, 2007, a parent education program, "For the Sake of the Children", became a mandatory prerequisite for Manitobans requesting or responding to a request for orders of child custody, child access or private guardianship. The program focuses on how children are affected by parental separation or divorce and teaches parents lower-conflict methods of communication.      
 

Training of professionals

484.
The Government of Manitoba ensures comprehensive training and professional development opportunities for program staff, in order to continually improve child-centred outcomes for its programs. Examples of child-centred training curricula made available to program staff include: Growing Great Kids, Manitoba Curriculum for Training Home Visitors, Nobody's Perfect Parenting Program, Bookmates Family Literacy Program, Roots of Empathy Program, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder (FASD) Prevention and Support, Stop FASD Mentoring, and Triple P Positive Parenting Program.
 
485.
Training is ongoing, and the interdepartmental approach to gathering information and sharing initiatives has benefitted a number of departments. The periodic reporting and the information sessions have led to an increased understanding of the multifaceted approach to addressing the needs of children.
 
486.
Examples of training offerings in which the best interest of the child principles are reflected include: child abuse investigation/interviewing, relationship-based strength approach, non-violent crisis intervention, suicide prevention, orientation to the Child and Family Services system, FASD and child and youth care approach. Manitoba also provides ongoing training in core competency areas for child welfare workers (endorsed by the Child Welfare League of America and Canada) including an introductory series (which includes orientation to the legislation and its principles), a supervisory series, and specialty modules (e.g., Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training, Sexual Exploitation of Children and Youth, etc.) which also emphasize the best interests principle.
 
487.
Training is available for staff in the areas of childhood disability, intervention techniques and family-centred practice. These topics assist staff to better understand the unique needs of the child and support the family to make decisions that are in the "best interests" of their child. Training is also provided to tutors and educators to deliver the Applied Behaviour Analysis program to children with a diagnosis on the autism spectrum.

Civil rights and freedoms
(Articles 7, 8, 13-17 and 37)

488.
Every effort is made to support and foster the cultural identity of children in care through appropriate cultural matching of child to caregiver and through the provision of access to cultural teachings and experiences consistent with the child's identity. Two of the many responsibilities of caregivers directly relate: the responsibility to accept and support the biological parents of the child and to assist and cooperate in visits between the child and his or her family; and the responsibility to encourage and promote the child's participation and involvement in his or her religious or spiritual and cultural beliefs.
 
489.
The Manitoba Vital Statistics Agency's collection and preservation of Manitoba birth information enables children to establish identities for registration at school, drivers' licenses, and passports; and parental information when and if they are so desired.
 

Family environment and alternative care
(Articles 5, 9-11, 18-21, 25, 27 and 39)

Adoption, search for birth parents and access to parental medical history

490.
The Intercountry Adoption (Hague Convention) Act and Regulation was passed February 19, 1999 (http://web2.gov.mb.ca/laws/statutes/ccsm/a003e.php).
 

Child care and support services

491.
Major program changes included the following:
 
  • A multi-year plan for child care in Manitoba (2002 to 2007) was announced to maintain and improve child care quality, accessibility and affordability (www.gov.mb.ca/fs/childcare/five_yr_plan.html).  
  • Funding was provided to support an increase to the number of spaces receiving an operating grant throughout the period.
  • Training initiatives were established or expanded to increase the number of trained early childhood educators in the province (between 2003 and 2006).
  • Operating grants were increased to child care centres and family child care homes (2004, 2005 and 2007), to increase wages for early childhood educators, and help improve recruitment and retention in the sector.
  • In 2005, nursery school funding was enhanced to increase the number of subsidized spaces.
  • In 2006, a recruitment fund was established to attract qualified staff back to the field of child care and a Capital and Leasehold Improvements Program was created for child care centres.
  • In 2007, the child care subsidy program was improved by adjusting income levels and allowable deductions and Quality Enhancement Initiatives were started, including using the Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale to support the development of quality enhancement plans, and quality and curriculum frameworks.
  • Exceptional circumstances grants also began being issued in 2007 to assist centres with unexpected costs.
492.
There are annual re-licensing inspections and additional annual assessment visits to licensed programs to ensure compliance with provincial regulations under The Community Child Care Standards Act (http://web2.gov.mb.ca/laws/statutes/ccsm/c158e.php).
 

Child and family benefits and other initiatives addressing child poverty

493.
Between October 2003 and December 2007, Manitoba moved forward on a number of benefit enhancements and exemptions that place more income in the hands of income assistance participants and other low-income Manitobans. These changes are reflected in The Employment and Income Assistance (EIA) policy manual (www.gov.mb.ca/fs/eiamanual) or The EIA Regulation (www.gov.mb.ca/fs/eiamanual/2.html).
 
494.
The Common-Law Partners' Property and Related Amendments Act came into force June 30, 2004, including common-law partners within Manitoba's family property-sharing regime. Children of common-law relationships indirectly benefit when the law provides for an equal division of property on relationship breakdown.
 
495.
Portions of The Improved Enforcement of Support Payments (Various Acts Amended) Act came into force March 31, 2005, including several measures to enhance the ability of the Maintenance Enforcement Program to collect support payments and support arrears.
 
496.
Manitoba's Child Support Recalculation Service began operating in the spring of 2005. The service administratively recalculates child support orders on a regular basis and adjusts child support to correspond to the current income of the payer parent. Children thereby benefit from any increase in parental income without requiring the receiving parent to bear the expense of a variation application through the court. In November 2007, enhancements were made to the Child Support Recalculation Service and legislation was enacted to improve access to information for locate purposes in inter-jurisdictional support cases under The Family Maintenance Act and The Inter-jurisdictional Support Orders Amendment Act.
 
497.
Manitoba tax credits for the benefit of children include the following:
 
  • Budget 2007 raised the Eligible Dependent amount from $6,482 to $8,034, matching the Basic Personal Amount.
  • Effective January 1, 2008, the Manitoba Family Tax Benefit has been enhanced and is folded under the non-refundable tax credit block. Manitobans can claim $2,065 for an eligible dependent and $2,752 for each dependent 18 years of age or younger.
  • The Children's Fitness Tax Credit is a non-refundable tax credit based on eligible fitness expenses paid to register a child in a prescribed program of physical activity. Parents can claim up to $500 per year per child who is under 16 years of age ($1,000 for children with disabilities).
498.
In April 2007, the Government of Manitoba announced Rewarding Work, a four-year strategy focused on easing the transition from welfare to work that seeks to enhance employability, encourage work, ease the transition to employment and support employment retention. This strategy includes initiatives for single parents, families and other target groups to leave income assistance for employment.
 

Illicit transfer and non-return

499.
The Child and Family Services Act (Child Protection Penalties) came into force in June 2005. It substantially increased penalties for various offences under the Act, including for the purported sale of a child for any purpose.
 
500.
As the Canadian common law jurisdiction representative, Manitoba participated in the fall 2006 Special Commission to review the operation of the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child. A Manitoba judge also sits on the Special Committee on International Parental Child Abduction established by the Canadian Judicial Council in September 2006.
 

Use of minor corrective force and alternatives to physical discipline of children

501.
Training programs provided in partnership with school divisions and the Government of Manitoba focus on a positive approach to behaviour management. A series of Core Competency training sessions (four in each series) continue to be provided for educators. The training sessions focus on school-wide behaviour management, school safety, positive behaviour management, and effective ways to deal with aggressive students.
 
502.
The Government of Manitoba has policies in place preventing the use of physical punishment in child care facilities and alternative care arrangements (www.gov.mb.ca/fs/childcare/quality_child_care.html). A pamphlet on discipline has been published to support parents in making positive discipline decisions (www.gov.mb.ca/health/documents/discipline.pdf).

Basic health and welfare
(Articles 6, 18, 23, 24, 26 and 27)

Pregnancy and early childhood development

503.
Since its conception in 2000, prevention of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a core component of the Healthy Child Manitoba Strategy and, as such, is reflected in a range of programs, activities and partnerships, which have been developed, implemented and expanded. For example, in 2006-2007, the Government of Manitoba partnered with the Government of Canada to provide FASD mentors working in First Nations communities with training in the Stop FASD mentoring model. In 2003, the universal Families First postpartum screening, collected by public health nurses in all regional health authorities of Manitoba, added a dedicated module on alcohol use during pregnancy.
 
504.
Beginning in 2003-2004, the Children's Therapy Initiative has provided funding to reduce wait lists and ensure that children, including those in rural and remote locations, have improved access to community-based therapy services (i.e., occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech-language therapy, and audiology).
 
505.
The Healthy Baby Manitoba Prenatal Benefit Program provides a monthly financial benefit to pregnant women with a net family income of less than $32,000 a year, including residents of First Nations on-reserve communities, to help women with low income to meet their extra nutritional needs during pregnancy.
 
506.
Information on the Applied Behaviour Analysis for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders is provided in Canada's response to advance questions with regard to the review of its Second Report on the Convention on the Rights of the Child. As of December 2007, 58 pre-school and 47 school-age children with Autism Spectrum Disorders receive this intervention.
 
507.
Announced in 2008, the Rural and Northern Special Education Initiative supports families and schools and has two major goals: increasing the skills of professionals living and working in rural and northern Manitoba and increased specialist consultant support. Specialists hired by the Government of Manitoba will be available to assist school divisions in programming for students with exceptional needs, including FASD, in their home communities.
 

Aboriginal youth suicide prevention

508.
A number of resources are available through Government of Manitoba consultants for educators and at www.gov.mb.ca/healthyliving/mh/docs/suicide_prevention_framework.pdf.
 
509.
In 2007, the child welfare system distributed materials on suicide prevention to its agencies for their staff and caregivers and provided training for caregivers and staff in child welfare in suicide prevention. Such training is an ongoing part of training provision for those working in the child welfare system.
 
510.
The Aboriginal Sub-Committee for Suicide Prevention is developing activities and implementing recommendations stemming from the provincial Framework for Suicide Prevention in partnership with the Government of Manitoba, the Government of Canada, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, and Mother of Red Nations. Key areas of the work plan include activities in assessment and planning, awareness and understanding, mental health promotion, intervention and prevention, and research.
 

Minimizing risks to adolescent health

511.
In 2006, a literature review and environmental scan were developed as part of the strategic plan to ensure policy and program initiatives meet the needs of Manitoba's most vulnerable children and families.
 
512.
Promoting a harm reduction philosophy, the Government of Manitoba works with community agencies, service providers and health professionals to offer strategies and interventions that reduce risk factors for young people, improve sexual and reproductive health outcomes, promote health and wellness, and support adolescent parents (www.harmreductionnetwork.mb.ca/).
 
513.
The cross-departmental Healthy Schools Manitoba promotes the health of school communities, through awareness promotions, community-based activities and public resource materials, in physical health, safety and injury prevention, substance use and addictions, sexual and reproductive health, and mental health.
 
514.
The Youth Drug Stabilization (Support for Parents) Act came into force in November 2006. It allows a parent to apply to court for an order to apprehend a child who is seriously and persistently abusing drugs. The child can be detained in a stabilization facility for detoxification and treatment for up to 30 days. 
 

Homelessness

515.
In April 2007, the Government of Manitoba announced that under the new low-income housing strategy, homelessness would become a departmental focus in the housing portfolio. As a result, a number of key activities have been undertaken through the new provincial Homeless Initiative, including a research project that was initiated in the fall of 2007. Through the engagement of two local community research bodies, Manitoba is undertaking a strategic policy review on homelessness in the province, which will examine existing programs, services, policies, legislation and planning documents regarding homelessness issues. The findings from the report are intended to guide homeless prevention policy development.
 

Education, leisure and cultural activities
(Articles 28, 29 and 31)

516.
Many schools recognize the importance of having students engaged in ensuring the school is a safe environment. As part of this process, schools have developed peer support models and trained students to be "peacemakers" or "school ground mediators". Student council members are, when appropriate, included in the local policy development.
 

Education for Aboriginal children, rural children and children at risk

517.
The Rural and Northern Special Education Initiative, described earlier in the report, is infused with the Aboriginal perspective, including Aboriginal people in the development and consultation with the Aboriginal community.
 
518.
Measures taken to address drop out rates include the Rural and Northern Development Initiative announced in 2008, the Resiliency Conference, Student Services Grant (providing increased funding to schools with the highest socio-economic indicators), the Middle Years Engagement Initiative, and various school division partnerships to pilot innovative programming.
 

Minority language education

519.
The Government of Manitoba recognizes that to achieve the goals set out in the Belonging, Learning, and Growing: Kindergarten to Grade 12 Action Plan for Ethnocultural Equity there is a need to more effectively address the needs of linguistically and culturally diverse students and communities.
 

Child rights education

520.
The Manitoba Human Rights Commission has worked with public schools to inject human rights issues into the curricula, including references to international human rights instruments. It holds annual Youth Conferences on human rights topics. On International Human Rights Day, December 10 of each year, together with the Canadian Human Rights Commission and the Manitoba Association for Rights and Liberties, it confers a number of human rights awards. One of these, the Sybil Shack Memorial Youth Award, goes to a school or youth(s) for promoting human rights.

Special protection measures
(Articles 22, 30 and 32-40)

521.
The Child and Family Services Act (Child Protection Penalties) came into force in June 2005. It substantially increased penalties for various offences under the Act, including failing to report a child believed to be in need of protection.
 
522.
Amendments to The Domestic Violence and Stalking Act that came into effect October 31, 2005, provide some enhanced protections and remedies for children who have been subjected to domestic violence or stalking, including the ability to seek an order of protection against an extended family member or a person the child has dated and the ability to seek compensation for monetary losses suffered by a child.
 

Protection of Aboriginal children

523.
In 2004-2005, the Roots of EmpathyProgram, a classroom-based parenting program that aims to increase pro-social behaviour and reduce physical aggression and bullying by fostering children's empathy and emotional literacy, has been expanded to Manitoba's remote northern communities, including on- and off-reserve sites.
 
524.
The Families First Home Visiting Program, which provides intensive home visiting support to vulnerable families with children, offers services to on-reserve families. In 2006, the Government of Manitoba began training Home Visitor and Supervisor staff from the Maternal Child Health Program of the Government of Canada and the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs.
 
525.
The Government of Manitoba has entered into a number of agreements with Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre, which focus on sharing of training and resources for students with special needs, in particular those who are deaf, blind or have speech and language disabilities.
 

Protection of refugee children, separated children and unaccompanied children seeking asylum

526.
The Government of Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) introduced measures that have successfully supported family reunification in the province, including the Family Support Stream, and the General Stream. The Manitoba PNP allows temporary foreign workers to include their families in their application for permanent residence after working in Manitoba for six months.
 

Protection of children from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse, and the sale, trafficking and abduction of children

527.
The Government of Manitoba has created and funded a new position focused upon child sexual exploitation victims and cases, whose role it is to improve cooperation and coordination with other agencies responding to child sexual abuse in families, in and across communities, on the street and on the Internet, particularly with regard to law enforcement and social services. The position involves a Prosecutor administrator who takes cases to trial but oversees the management of cases in the Crown office as well. This mentoring and monitoring role is designed to ensure a consistent quality of services provided to child victims and that offenders are appropriately dealt with. A key aspect of this role is to ensure that Crown practices are current to changing circumstances and legislation and responsive to newly identified needs, such as the growing awareness of human trafficking. This involves gathering information and serving an educational role to prosecutors and police regarding the issue.
 
528.
The Manitoba Strategy Responding to Children and Youth at Risk of, or Survivors of, Sexual Exploitation is described in Canada's response to the Committee's advance questions with regard to its Second Report on the Convention on the Rights of the Child and in Canada's First Report on the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography. Initiatives include: an outreach project; Safe Transition Home; Residential Child Care Facility; training for foster parents and other workers; continued support of the Transition and Education Resources for Females Program; specialized foster care resources; and Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness and School Learning Resources.
 
529.
By developing and enhancing existing relationships with social services and various police agencies across Manitoba and North America, the Government of Manitoba is better able to respond to the mobility of offenders and victims by ensuring that a variety of tools and resources are applied to individual prosecution cases and information is shared with partners in this area.
 
530.
In 2006, the Government of Manitoba ordered a research document by an expert to examine the sexual exploitation of boys titled "Under the Radar." The document speaks to the link of homelessness and the sexual exploitation of boys. The results will be used to help form actions under the Manitoba Sexual Exploitation Strategy to better support the needs of boys.
 

Protection from economic exploitation

531.
Changes to The Employment Standards Code came into effect on April 30, 2007, and included the following provisions regarding child employment:
 
  • All employees under 16 years old must have a permit before they begin their jobs. They cannot work more than 20 hours during a week of school, and cannot work at all from 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. As established by regulation, they are not allowed to work at construction sites, on drilling or servicing rigs, on swing stages or scaffolds, in industrial or manufacturing processes or pruning, repairing, maintaining, or removal of trees. The Government of Manitoba can approve a permit for these employees to work outside those parameters under special circumstances and with the appropriate terms and conditions to protect the health, safety and social/educational development of children.
  • No employee under 18 years old can work alone from 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. in any industry. Regulations stipulate that they are not allowed to work in forestry, asbestos removal, saw or pulp mills, confined spaces, underground in a mine or on the face of an open pit quarry.

Children in conflict with the law

532.
In 2004, an Information Sharing Protocol was developed to facilitate the sharing of information between schools, the courts and police. The goal of this protocol is to ensure the best possible transition and sharing of information.
 

Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict

533.
The Intensive Newcomer Support Grant (2006-2007) is intended to help school divisions develop specialized programming for newcomer youth from war-affected or refugee backgrounds with English as an additional language and literacy needs as a result of significantly disrupted schooling.

Saskatchewan

General measures of implementation
(Articles 4, 42 and 44)

Coordination and monitoring of children's rights

534.
The web site of the Saskatchewan Children's Advocate (www.saskcao.ca) indicates that the office, among other things, "[a]dvocate[s] for the rights of children to be respected and valued as identified in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)." The web site contains other references to the CRC, and includes a link to the UNICEF web site, for information on the CRC and its Optional Protocols. The Saskatchewan Government and the Children's Advocate continue to discuss further options to enhance recognition of the CRC.
 

Promoting awareness and understanding of the Convention

535.
Within government, information related to the CRC and its Optional Protocols is disseminated, and awareness and understanding is promoted, primarily through two inter-ministerial committees: the Inter-ministerial Committee on Human Rights and the Inter-ministerial Steering Committee on Sexual Exploitation of Children and Youth.
 
536.
Saskatchewan has a number of educational initiatives that illustrate the extent to which the CRC is considered when developing legislation or policy:
 
  • The Children's Services Policy Framework 2002, a provincial policy on community and special education, was developed in the context of the CRC and significant legislation. The values of the CRC are embedded in it.
  • Caring and Respectful Schools: Towards SchoolsPlus (2004) provides a framework for strengthening schools as caring, safe and respectful centres of learning, support and community for children, youth and their families.
  • The Early Learning Program Guide (2007) for three- and four-year-olds refers to the CRC in its vision and principles. The guide draws on two particular articles of the CRC:  the child's right to play, and the child's right to an education directed to holistic development.
  •  The KidsFirst Program uses the CRC as its "code of ethics" and the fundamental values base for the development and management of the program. The focus of the program is providing parenting and family support to vulnerable families with infants/young children, through trained lay home visitors and dedicated mental health and addictions services.
  • The Community Schools Program and the Empowering High Schools policy framework reflect many of the rights articulated in the CRC.
  • Within the Community Schools Program there is dedicated funding to support children's nutritional needs within the school setting.

General principles
(Articles 2, 3, 6 and 12)

Non-discrimination

537.
A Bullying Prevention Model Policy was developed in 2006, in accordance with rights and responsibilities relating to children and young persons articulated in the CRC, The Education Act, 1995, and other Saskatchewan legislation. It reflects the guiding principles of care, respect, and safety; collective responsibility and accountability; prevention and early intervention; and youth voice.
 

Best interests of the child

538.
In January 2006, Saskatchewan established an Access to Justice Committee involving members of the judiciary, the Children's Advocate, the Legal Aid Commission, the private bar, and government ministries, to review access to justice in family and youth matters. Included in the topics for consideration was representation for children in proceedings before the court.
 
539.
Section 4 of The Child and Family Services Act sets out factors to be taken into account when a person or court is required by the Act to determine the best interests of a child. Through a Child and Family Services Training Module, individuals are instructed on the factors to be considered, and on how this affects their practice. Case workers are expected to have a working knowledge of the factors, as a framework for decision making, and to employ them when making a case plan, presenting a case in court or making an order.
 

Civil rights and freedoms
(Articles 7, 8, 13-17 and 37)

540.
When children come into the care of the Ministry of Social Services, there is a policy to ensure the preservation of a child's identity. The Children's Services Manual requires that a Life Book be started for every child who remains in out-of-home care for more than six months, and that a Family History be completed for every family with a child in out-of-home care for more than six months.
 
541.
Saskatchewan is participating in a national review of child status legislation with a view to ensuring that the parental status is clear for all children, whether born through "natural" means or through assisted human reproduction processes.
 

Family environment and alternative care
(Articles 5, 9-11, 18-21, 25, 27 and 39)

Adoption, search for birth parents and access to parental medical history

542.
Saskatchewan has legislation entitled The Intercountry Adoption [Hague Convention] Implementation Act, which came into effect on April 1, 1997. The Ministry of Social Services is the designated Central Authority responsible for ensuring that the rights and best interests of the child are protected and served. Federal and provincial/territorial designates continue to discuss issues as they impact the implementation of the Hague Convention. Saskatchewan has also had legislation in effect since November 1, 1986, named The International Child Abduction Act, 1996, which implements the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.
 
543.
The Adoption Act, 1998 and Regulations allow for access to identifying information based on the mutual consent of the adult adoptee and birth parent. This approach has been in effect since 1995. The Ministry of Social Services announced a broad legislative review of both child welfare and adoption legislation, including consultations on the issue of open records in adoption. Since the commencement of adoptions in Saskatchewan in 1922, the original name of the adopted child has appeared on the Order of Adoption. This document is in the possession of the adoptive parent following finalization of the adoption, and is available to adult adoptees.
 

Use of minor corrective force and alternatives to physical discipline of children

544.
In 2005, section 152 of The Education Act, 1995 was amended to prevent corporal punishment of all students. The section was amended in consultation with the Children's Advocate, to bring it in line with other jurisdictions and with the Supreme Court of Canada decision in Canadian Foundation for Children, Youth, and the Law v. AG Canada [2004]. There are also policies prohibiting the use of corporal punishment in mandated programs for children in the care of the Minister (foster homes, group homes and facilities) and in Young Offender custody settings.

Basic health and welfare
(Articles 6, 18, 23, 24, 26 and 27)

Pregnancy and early childhood development

545.
The Cognitive Disabilities Strategy (CDS) enhanced its services and supports for the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder population, beginning in April 2006. Multi-disciplinary assessment teams have been established to allow for increased ease of access to assessment services. Travelling clinics provide services to select rural and remote areas. Intervention and Prevention Training was provided, and prevention support to high-risk communities was enhanced. A total of 10 CDS consultant positions were created in communities throughout the province to provide assistance to families and individuals aged six to 24 years with cognitive disabilities.
 
546.
A Process Evaluation of the CDS was completed. The evaluation framework addressed two main areas: are the processes working, and are there positive client outcomes? The overall results indicate that the intent of the CDS to fund unmet needs has been received positively. However, there are a few areas that have been identified for improvement, such as the need to explore workforce reconfiguration to address lack of local capacity to absorb CDS administration; the need to build competencies in integrated case management through training and staff development; and the need to research alternatives or modifications to the Daily Living Skills Assessment tool. The CDS Cross Ministry Working Group has initiated work to address many of the concerns raised.
 

Aboriginal youth suicide prevention

547.
Implementation of the Child and Youth Mental Health Services Plan in Saskatchewan began in the fall of 2006. It included the creation of several professional, consulting and outreach mental health positions; enhancement of outreach and respite services in most regions; and distribution of a booklet on depression and suicide in youth, and a pamphlet on the Saskatchewan Plan for Child and Youth Mental Health Services.
 
548.
Following the tragic suicides of five youths and one adult between September 2006 and February 2007, in Sandy Bay, an inter-ministerial, inter-governmental and community initiative (involving eight Saskatchewan ministries, two Government of Canada departments, and a number of non-government organizations) was launched in 2007 to support community healing. The community of Sandy Bay is a northern community with a predominantly Aboriginal population that has struggled with high levels of interpersonal violence and abuse for several years. Among other things, this initiative involves community stabilization through suicide intervention training, support groups, healing circles, and other approaches, including a range of small economic and employment initiatives; opportunities for youth; and fostering leadership. A new victims services program was established in Sandy Bay in the fall of 2007, and several ministries financially support the community's healing initiatives.
 

Adequate housing

549.
The Government of Saskatchewan has a number of programs and services targeted to low-income families with children. These supports are available to low-income working parents and parents who receive social assistance. For example, the Saskatchewan Family Housing Supplement helps address the affordability of quality housing for low-income parents. Families living in rental accommodation may receive a subsidy based on their income, family size and location.
 

Homelessness

550.
The Government of Saskatchewan works with community partners and municipalities to assist the Government of Canada in making project funding decisions for the National Homelessness Initiative. The first step is the creation of a community plan, which is a local strategy to fight homelessness. The Government of Saskatchewan plays a key role in the development of community plans by providing data, recommending best practices, and coordinating with provincial housing and social policy and programs. Provincial representatives also sit as part of each of the funding committees across the province.
 
551.
An important part of Saskatchewan's commitment to reducing child poverty and homelessness is the design of programs and services to address the specific needs of parents. For all housing programs, new and existing, families with children are a priority group. Saskatchewan Housing Corporation also recognizes the needs of youth who do not reside with their families, and provides capital funding for projects that house youth living independently.

Special protection measures
(Articles 22, 30 and 32-40)

Protection of children from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse, and the sale, trafficking and abduction of children

552.
The Inter-ministerial Steering Committee on Sexual Exploitation of Children and Youth oversees provincial policies, programs and services related to sexually-exploited children and youth. It liaises with Regional Intervention Committees in the three largest urban centres. These Committees, in turn, provide local leadership in implementing the provincial strategy, including the provision of coordinated support services to sexually-exploited children andyouth. The province provides funding to community-based organizations to enhance outreach and prevention programs in those centres. 
 
553.
Under the Vehicle Impoundment Against Sexual Exploitation program, police have the authority to seize and impound vehicles that they have reasonable grounds to believe have been used in committing certain offences related to procuring sexual services and prostitution. If any person in the vehicle at the time of seizure is convicted of one of these offences, a vehicle remaining on impound at the time of trial will automatically be forfeited to the Crown.
 
554.
Saskatchewan has co-funded with other jurisdictions and partners research on sexual exploitation of young men.
 
555.
The Saskatchewan Government provided additional funding for five municipal police positions to deal with street-level sexual exploitation of children and youth, and a team of two prosecutors and one assistant coordinator to strengthen the Province's use of the National Flagging System to identify long-term or dangerous offender cases. In the fall of 2007, additional provincial funds were provided for an Integrated Child Exploitation Unit. It consists of 11 dedicated police positions, and provides a focus for investigation skills, technical resources and criminal intelligence to investigate persons suspected of preying on young victims through the Internet.
 
556.
In 2006, a Provincial Task Force on Missing Persons was established. It involved enhanced police positions to investigate missing person cases; research and support for police policy development; and establishment of a Provincial Partnership Committee on Missing Persons. The Committee, involving representatives from government, police, community, child advocacy and Aboriginal organizations, looked at how to prevent people from going missing, how to better respond when they do, and how to enhance collaboration among agencies. The Provincial Partnership Committee relied on research on police data to determine that the majority of reported missing person cases involved children and youth under age 18. These children and youth are at risk of being victimized sexually and physically while on the run from home or foster care, and at risk of becoming involved in criminal activity. The Partnership Committee, in its final report issued in October 2007, made a number of recommendations on prevention and intervention to improve the response to runaway or abducted children. The Committee is overseeing the implementation of its recommendations.
 
557.
While police-based victim services programs are available to all victims of crime, some of the clients supported by these programs may have been victims of sexual abuse, sexual violence or sexual exploitation. The Government of Saskatchewan established several new victims services programs between 2003 and 2007. For example, two new police-based victims services programs were implemented in 2007 to serve three northern communities, and a new Victim/Witness Program opened in another northern community in 2005 to serve northern Saskatchewan. One program in the southeast part of the province expanded to include additional communities and rural areas. The Victim/Witness Services Programs provide court orientation and support for child victims and other vulnerable victims and witnesses. The majority of the victims served by the northern programs are Aboriginal.
 

Children in conflict with the law

558.
With regard to the implementation of the Youth Criminal Justice Act, provincial guidelines have been established to ensure appropriate procedures, and an inter-ministerial committee oversees the policy and guidelines. To protect the privacy of personal information of young offenders, staff receive appropriate training, undergo criminal record checks and take an Oath of Confidentiality upon hiring. As well, access to data bases is controlled and limited.
 
559.
Young Offender Programs provide a targeted response to youth involved in the justice system. The young offender continuum of service includes an alternative measures program, targeted initiatives focusing on repeat offenders, reintegration programming for high risk youth exiting custody, and a judicial interim release program for youth who require supervision in the community while awaiting their court hearings.
 
560.
Under alternative measures, lower-risk youth who have committed less serious offences are diverted from the formal court system. Extrajudicial measures include police warnings and referrals, and police and Crown cautions. Extra-judicial sanctions (typically referred to as "alternative measures"), the most formal type of extra-judicial measures, are to be used only if a young person cannot adequately be dealt with by a warning, caution or referral. Saskatchewan is a high user of alternative measures, and front-end warnings by law enforcement officials have increased.
 
561.
Custody facilities provide an array of programs including those that teach and reinforce pro-social skills, cultural services, education, recreation, sex offender treatment, substance abuse programs, values and moral development, anger management and work training. Programs designed to provide young offenders with the necessary supports needed for a successful reintegration into the community include: community service and restitution programs; day programs (including life skills training, community service, work exposure, addictions awareness and remedial academic support); school re-entry programs; reintegration programs (including cultural, school, recreation, treatment); and a number of transition to employment programs. 

Alberta

General measures of implementation
(Articles 4, 42 and 44)

Child expenditures

562.
For information on children's services and early childhood development in Alberta please refer to the following report: Alberta Children's Services Annual Report, 2006/2007 by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services (www.child.alberta.ca/home/documents/rpt_06-07_annual.pdf).
 

 Data collection and dissemination

563.
Police agencies collect and analyze data through specialized investigative units and share it with other specialists. For example, the Zebra Child Protection Center in Edmonton operates a hub for police, medical and mental health specialists.
 
564.
Units such as the Alberta Relationship Threat Assessment Management Initiative were established in 2006 to share information among police, Crown, and other professionals with regard to spousal and family violence.
 

Coordination and monitoring of children's rights

565.
The Child and Youth Advocate is appointed for a term of up to five years. The Office of the Child and Youth Advocate (OCYA) is mandated to advise the Minister regarding the welfare and interests of children and youth receiving services under the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act (CYFE Act) and the Protection of Sexually Exploited Children Act. The OCYA provides advocacy services, assists in training natural advocates for children and youth, and has the lead responsibility for the Legal Representation for Children and Youth program. The OCYA must deliver quarterly and annual reports to be tabled in the legislature.
 

Definition of the child
(Article 1)

566.
In 2004, the Child Welfare Act was repealed and replaced by the CYFE Act. Under the former Act, services could be provided to youth between the ages of 18 and 20 years; under the latter Act, services can be provided to youth between the ages of 18 and 22 years.
 

General principles
(Articles 2, 3, 6 and 12)

Non-discrimination

567.
Alberta's Bullying Prevention Strategy included three public education and awareness campaigns targeting children, youth, and adults between 2005 and 2008. It promotes acceptance of diversity by raising awareness of what bullying is, identifying what people can do to stop it, and encouraging a change in societal attitudes and behaviour towards bullying. The web sites have included information on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer youth and homophobic bullying as these youth are vulnerable to discrimination from their peers and others. The strategy also promotes mental health by addressing social inclusion and exclusion among children and adolescents through its youth campaign, including anti-bullying web sites (www.teamheroes.ca and www.b-free.ca) and information on cyberbullying and homophobic bullying.
 
568.
Funding is made available through the Government of Alberta Restorative Justice grant programs. Applicants for Restorative Justice grants, in particular, are encouraged to submit proposals for funding in the areas of conflict resolution between and within cultures.
 

Best interests of the child

569.
First developed in 1989 to outline information sharing provisions of the federal Young Offender's Act and the Provincial Child Welfare Act, the Youth Justice Protocol was revised to reflect the federal Youth Criminal Justice Act (2003) and the provincial CYFE Act(2004).
 
570.
Section 2 of the CYFE Act states that "all persons who exercise any authority or make any decision under this Act relating to the child must do so in the best interest of the child" and lists 16 matters that are to be considered when making a decision about a child. The Act is located at www.child.alberta.ca/home/525.cfm
 
571.
The CYFE Act and Family Support for Children with Disabilities (FSCD Act) entrench the right to appeal key decisions. The CYFE Act specifically directs the panel to focus on "the best interests of the child". The CYFE Regulation is available at www.qp.alberta.ca/574.cfm?page=2004_160.cfm&leg_type=Regs&isbncln=9780779736072. The FSCD Act is available at www.qp.alberta.ca/574.cfm?page=F05P3.cfm&leg_type=Acts&isbncln=9780779727988
 

Training of professionals

572.
The Government of Alberta provides province-wide training to professionals who work with children. This training has "best interests of the child" as the end result, even with respect to behavioural intervention, interviewing, or family intervention. For example, training was completed in March 2008 for probation officers and youth workers in Motivational Interviewing. The purpose of the training was to enhance interviewing skills that enable youth to make positive changes. Training was also completed with this group in April 2008, on dealing specifically with adolescent sex offenders, victims' families and the community.
 
573.
Prior to the CYFE Act coming into force, staff were provided with training on the new terminology of the Act and its intent. Staff were educated on best practices with children, youth and their families under the new Act, differential response as well as the increased emphasis on the best interests of the child and the integrity of the family unit.
 
574.
All new front-line workers are required to take Delegation Training, which provides staff with information on their roles and responsibilities in administering the CYFE Act. All foster parents and kinship care providers receive in-depth training on the legislation, policies and procedures and issues pertaining to the provision of a nurturing environment and appropriate care of children in the care and custody of the Director. Foster parents also receive a handbook that focuses on the best interest of the child.
 
575.
The Structured Analysis Family Evaluation (SAFE) model provides standardized, consistent and comprehensive home study tools and practices for the description and evaluation of adoption, foster care, kinship care and private guardianship home assessment reports in Alberta. The SAFE model helps to ensure that the best interests of the child are met in their caregiver's care by analyzing the information obtained during the assessment process; identifying family strengths and areas of concern; and measuring family functioning according to the SAFE rating scale. Training began in March 2008.
 
576.
Province-wide training is being provided to victim service unit coordinators, advocates, Crown and police on the provisions established in the amendment to the Criminal Code Bill C-2 (Amendments to Protect Children & other Vulnerable Persons). The purpose of the amendment is to protect children and other vulnerable persons from sexual exploitation, violence, abuse and neglect.
 
577.
CYFE and FSCD Appeal Panel members receive training on interpreting legislation (www.child.alberta.ca/home/529.cfm).
 
578.
The Child Abuse Handbook was developed and regional training provided to address how to recognize abuse and neglect; how to respond to a disclosure of abuse and neglect from a child; how to report and intervene, as well as the role of service providers and rules governing sharing of information among service providers.

Civil rights and freedoms
(Articles 7, 8, 13-17 and 37)

579.
Section 2 of the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act (CYFE Act)speaks to preserving the integrity of the child's family, continued connectedness to the extended family and home community, and respect for a child's familial, cultural, social and religious heritage. There should be no unreasonable delay in making or implementing a decision affecting a child.
 
580.
For children in the Director's care, the Government of Alberta utilizes the services of International Social Service Canada to gather the information required to secure birth registration documents.
 

Family environment and alternative care
(Articles 5, 9-11, 18-21, 25, 27 and 39)

Adoption, search for birth parents and access to parental medical history

581.
Alberta passed and implemented legislation, regulations and policy required under the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption. The legislation was passed in 1997 and additional regulations were implemented in November 2004. The legislation appears in the CYFE Act - Division 6 - Intercountry Adoption with Respect to Designated States - Sec. 92(1) to 105.  Regulations appear in the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Regulations - Part 2 - International Adoption Sec. 26 to 32.  Alberta is fully compliant with the requirements of the Convention.
 
582.
The above-mentioned amendments to the CYFE Act also changed adoption legislation with regards to an adoptee accessing identifying information about their biological parents. Section 74.2(2) allows the Minister to release identifying information regarding the biological parent to an adoptee, as long as neither of those parents filed a veto prohibiting the release of their information. Section 74.2(2) applies to adoptions completed prior to January 1, 2005. Any adoptions completed after this date would allow for release of all information in the file to an adoptee who has reached the age of 18 years (Sec. 74.3(2)).
 
583.
Alberta negotiated a new bilateral adoption agreement with Vietnam that provides a process for Vietnamese children to be adopted by Alberta families. The agreement took effect in July 2008.
 

Child care and support services

584.
In October 2005, the Government of Alberta Five-Point Child Care Investment Plan was launched. The five points include: affordable child care, support for parents who stay home with their children, improved child care services for children with disabilities, improved quality of child care, and enhanced access to early intervention programs.
 
585.
The What We Heard:  Consultation on the Proposed Child Care Licensing Regulation Report, published in October 2007, summarized the results of the government's first phase of public consultation on a new Act and Regulation (www.gov.ab.ca/home/NewsFrame.cfm?ReleaseID=/acn/200710/22417F1DC9451-C25A-BD0B-FA799852C038F842.html).
 
586.
In June 2007, the Government of Alberta revised its Child Care Accreditation Funding Program.
 
587.
A range of investments have been put in place to improve access to quality child care, including increased wage top-ups, child care bursaries, increased subsidy rates, space creation incentives, staff attraction, and subsidies for stay-at-home parents.
 

Child and family benefits and other initiatives addressing child poverty

588.
The Advancing Futures Bursary program provides recipients with the opportunity to obtain a skill or trade in hopes of removing them from a life of poverty. Awards are granted to cover full tuition, books, basic supplies and a monthly living allowance. Single parent families also receive a higher monthly living allowance and are provided child care funding. Since its inception in 2004, 756 students have received bursaries and 117 students have graduated from a degree, diploma or certificate program.
 
589.
Information on new measures in place to address factors leading to child poverty, with particular attention to single parent families and other vulnerable groups can be found at http://www.child.alberta.ca/home/programs_services.cfm.
 

Basic health and welfare
(Articles 6, 18, 23, 24, 26 and 27)

590.
Alberta provides education and training events to parents, staff, community agencies and health care professionals through videoconferencing technology. This initiative has attracted many rural and remote families who, in the past, would not have had the opportunity to receive this support.
 

Pregnancy and early childhood development

591.
Alberta has seven Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Service Networks to support individuals impacted with FASD across their lifespan and their caregivers. The FASD Service Networks also deal with the strategies related to targeted and indicated prevention, assessment and diagnosis (www.child.alberta.ca/home/872.cfm).
 

Aboriginal youth suicide prevention

592.
In April 2007, seven Alberta Métis communities gathered to review evidence from community-led research on youth resilience and concluded their meetings with action plans to prevent suicide in their communities. This was the first cycle of research and planning within the Alberta chapter of the Aboriginal Community Youth Resilience Network (www.ciet.org/en/documents/projects_sub_cycles/2007428124023.asp).
 
593.
The Aboriginal Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy (AYSPS) is a Government of Alberta cross-ministry initiative. The vision of the Strategy is that Aboriginal youth feel hopeful, empowered and optimistic about their futures. The objectives of the AYSPS are to work with communities, provide education and training to support community mobilization, broaden awareness and provide education, and build knowledge through research and evaluation. Five Aboriginal community pilot sites from various parts of the province have been engaged in the AYSPS and have been delivering intensive community-driven prevention programs that focus on promoting the protective factors of preventing suicide.
 
594.
As part of an overall goal to contribute to an awareness and education campaign for the province, a social marketing research company report (Provoke) helped to identify promising practices and potential next steps for delivering suicide awareness and prevention messages to Aboriginal youth and their communities. The research project involved 115 interviews with Aboriginal youth and their chaperons from across the province. The key finding was that each community needs to be supported to develop methods and messages specific to that community. As a result of the report, a grants program was established by the AYSPS, which provided 35 grants to Aboriginal communities across the province to support relevant activities.
 
595.
Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training is mandatory for all provincial caseworkers and supervisors who work with children.

Minimizing risks to adolescent health

596.
The Protection of Children Abusing Drugs Act was introduced as a private member's bill and came into force on July 1, 2006. Under this legislation, a parent or a guardian of a child who is using alcohol and/or other drugs in a way that severely endangers themselves or others can apply to the Provincial Courts to have the child placed in a protective safe house for up to five days. During this court-ordered confinement, detoxification services are provided, assessments for the abuse of drugs and alcohol are made, and work is done with the child and parent/guardian to develop a voluntary treatment plan after the child leaves the protective safe house.
 

Homelessness

597.
The Youth Emergency Shelter Review was initiated in 2005 and its report was released in February 2007. Eight facilities fitting a very specific definition responded to a detailed questionnaire regarding shelter funding, usage, a profile of the youth accessing services, and programs and services. The findings indicate that funding is regionally specific and shelter usage is often near or at capacity, particularly in the larger urban centres. Additional findings include:
 
  • The profile of youth who access services range in age from 12-21 years, with the average range being 15-17 years. 
  • The provincial ratio of males to females is 3:2, with males being slightly older than females when accessing services. 
  • The three most frequently occurring family environments identified by youth when entering the shelter are: wards of the province; single mother as caregiver, or nuclear family. Most youth leave home as a result of conflict over rules, and will be in some sort of transition prior to entering the shelter. 
  • Most youth will experience some form of exploitation (e.g. panhandling, providing sex in exchange for goods) and will likely have engaged in some form of criminal activity.
  • The largest single percentage of youth accessing shelter services comes from foster care or group care; regional authorities contract with shelters to support these youth who often struggle with complex issues.
598.
The report makes recommendations about improving programming and services to youth, supports to shelters, contracting, and collaboration with regional child intervention authorities.
 
599.
Under the Radar: The Sexual Exploitation of Young Men (McIntyre, Dr. Susan, June 2005) specifically focused on the experience of sexually-exploited young males. This research has influenced caseload practice with this population of youth. Additional information can be found at www.child.alberta.ca/home/documents/childintervention/undertheradar.pdf.
 

Education, leisure and cultural activities
(Articles 28, 29 and 31)

Education for Aboriginal children, rural children and children at risk

600.
In October 2007, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Alberta Education and Alberta Children and Youth Services to allow for information sharing for the purpose of matching and analyzing data regarding success in school, including high school completion rates, for children in care.
 
601.
A committee comprising the Aboriginal Co-Chairs of the Child and Family Service Authorities meets four times per year, in advance of the General Assembly of Co-Chairs. The Aboriginal Co-Chairs have a library of resources to increase cultural education and a component of each Assembly of Co-Chairs and annual board leadership conference is dedicated for this purpose.
 

Special protection measures
(Articles 22, 30 and 32-40)

602.
Section 21.1(6) of the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act (CYFE Act) states that within 42 days of applying for a Temporary Guardianship Order or a Permanent Guardianship Order, consultation with the guardian and other family members must occur to develop a plan describing the services to be provided to facilitate the return of the child to the guardian's care and an alternative permanent placement for the child should reunification not be possible.
 
603.
The CYFE Act includes service provision to a family where a child has been exposed to domestic violence occurring within the child's family, providing services to the family in a manner that supports the abused family members and prevents the need to remove the child from the custody of an abused family member.
 
604.
Cross-ministry coordination led to amendments in the Protection Against Family Violence Act (PAFV Act) (2006) (www.child.alberta.ca/home/528.cfm), and training was provided to frontline workers across sectors.
 
605.
The PAFV Act recognises that children may also be at risk in a family violence situation and that a protection order may be required to ensure their safety as well as the safety of the direct victim of violence. As well, amendments allow children to access counselling when needed with the consent of only one parent, preventing the offending parent from hindering access to such services.
 
606.
Section 2 of the PAFV Act was amended in subsection (1) by repealing clause (b) and substituting the following:
 

(b) that by reason of seriousness or urgency, the order should be granted to provide for the immediate protection of the claimant and other family members who reside with the claimant.

607.
Section 4(2) of the PAFV Act was amended by adding the following after clause (k):
 

(k.1) a provision authorizing counselling for a child referred to in section 1(1)(d)(iv) without the consent of the respondent;

608.
On November 1, 2006, the Drug-endangered Children Act came into force. It identifies who is a drug-endangered child and makes it clear that children exposed to serious drug activity are victims of abuse and require protection. The Act is located at www.child.gov.ab.ca/home/526.cfm.
 
609.
In 2007, five safe visitation pilot sites were established across Alberta. Safe visitation provides children in families experiencing family violence between adult partners with a structured place and the necessary supports to have supervised visits with a parent. Safe visitation programs provide a high level of security, structure, and supervision to enable children to maintain a relationship and have a positive interaction with their non-custodial parent in an environment where they are protected from exposure to further violence and abuse.

Protection of Aboriginal children

610.
The Government of Alberta supports a service delivery governance structure with Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Co-Chairs of the Child and Family Service Authorities, with up to 40 percent of board members being Aboriginal.
 
611.
The Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act (CYFE Act) applies equally to Aboriginal children living on- and off-reserve. Section 2 of the Act stipulates that whenever a child is placed outside of the family, the placement selection should take into consideration the child's familial, cultural, social and religious heritage, and obliges the person caring for the child to ensure that the child is aware of this heritage. Section 107 requires consultation with a band designate in planning for the services to be provided to a child.
 
612.
A new funding model between the federal and provincial governments was approved in 2007, which allows for better delivery and use of the least intrusive methods of child intervention services on-reserve. The majority of on-reserve services are delivered by Delegated First Nation Agencies (DFNAs); Child and Family Services Authorities (CFSAs) may deliver services on-reserve where no DFNA exists. CFSAs generally deliver services to Aboriginal families off-reserve under guidelines on cultural sensitivity. Alberta currently has agreements with 18 DFNAs which service 40 of 47 First Nations in the province on 110 of 126 reserves. Aboriginal children and communities (both rural and urban) are identified as key areas of focus, and applicants are encouraged to submit proposals for funding in either/both of these areas. 
 
613.
Additional actions taken by the Government of Alberta to enhance services for Aboriginal children include:
 
  • The Permanency Planning for Aboriginal Children report was completed in 2006; the recommendations of the report have been fully implemented.
  • A Métis Steering Committee was established in the fall of 2007 as a follow-up to a provincial action plan to increase Métis people's participation and involvement in programs, policies, and standards that impact Métis children. 
  • The First Nations Practice Standards have been implemented, which are audited on a quarterly basis by the Government of Alberta.
  • A Memorandum of Understanding was signed in October 2007 between Alberta Education and Alberta Children and Youth Services to allow for information sharing for the purpose of matching and analyzing data regarding educational outcomes, including high school completion rates, for children in care.
  • The Aboriginal Funders Network was established to share information on funding available to Aboriginal groups and communities.  The Network includes representation from municipal, provincial and federal levels of government as well as related services.

Protection of children from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse, and the sale, trafficking and abduction of children

614.
Public education measures to prevent the exploitation of children online are outlined in Canada's First Report on the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.
 
615.
The Protection of Sexually Exploited Children & Youth Awareness Manual was produced in 2004 and updated in 2007. As well, three information pamphlets related to sexual exploitation were redesigned and updated in 2007.
 
616.
On October 1, 2007, amendments to the Protection of Children Involved in Prostitution Act were proclaimed. As a result the name of the legislation was changed to the Protection of Sexually Exploited Children Act to: decrease the stigma attached to the word "prostitution"; remove perceived barriers to service; reinforce the fact that children being sexually exploited through prostitution are victims of sexual abuse; and strengthen protection of the child's privacy. Additional information is available at www.child.alberta.ca/home/533.cfm.
 
617.
Updates of educational materials to reflect the changes in legislation, as well as online outreach, are available 24 hours a day.
 
618.
The Prevention of Sexual Exploitation of Children and Youth Working Group meets quarterly to discuss common issues related to sexually exploited children and youth. This Working Group includes representatives from the departments of Children and Youth Services, Solicitor General and Public Security, Justice, Education and Health and Wellness. 
 

Children in conflict with the law

619.
Emphasis is placed on work with youth in the community through Youth Attendance Centres in Edmonton and Calgary. The youth attendance centre program commenced in February 2000, in response to the requirements of the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) and the recommendations of the Justice Summit. The program enhances supervision and support of young offenders serving community sentences and those making the transition from custody to the community.
 
620.
The Youth Attendance Centres provide a variety of program functions that include administration of community service work, fine option programs, surveillance supervision and educational and rehabilitative programs. Non-residential Orders are forwarded directly to the Youth Attendance Centres from court.
 
621.
Youth Justice Committees are sanctioned under section 18 of the YCJA that authorizes community members to be actively involved in the administration of justice to first and second time offenders, between the ages of 12-18, who commit less serious offences. In Alberta, Youth Justice Committees are authorized to perform the following roles:
 
  • assist in the administration of the Extrajudicial Sanctions Program;
  • play a role in sentencing advisory; and
  • conduct public education about youth crime and issues relating to youth crime.
622.
The Youth Restorative Action Project (YRAP) is a unique youth justice committee model. Developed in 2003, YRAP is involved in cases where young persons have committed offences involving social issues such as racism, homelessness, poverty or drug and alcohol abuse. Unlike other Youth Justice Committees, YRAP is made up of young people supported by adult advisors. YRAP receives referrals from judges and other youth justice professionals.
 
623.
The Young Offender Project (2007), a collaborative undertaking by the Government of Alberta, focuses on the mental health of youth, with the purpose of developing assessment and treatment services, enhancing program planning, implementation and evaluation across the partners. Principles guiding the project included:
 
  • effective use of resources by working together, sharing of information and common frameworks;
  • youth are valued, respected, listened to and given support to make decisions impacting their lives, including fostering active participation by youth;
  • close ties maintained between residential and community based programs; and
  • services offered in an environment where values, traditions, languages and cultures of all people are acknowledged, recognized and respected.
624.
Utilizing a semi-structured interview of professionals in Alberta working within young offender correctional and mental health services, the partners obtained information for a report with the following recommendations:
 
  • comprehensive mental health screening, using common format, for youth entering custody;
  • program evaluation and outcome tracking of emerging issues and needs;
  • targeted training to keep pace with trends;
  • survey of professionals working in rural areas to determine needs and gaps;
  • addressing transition issue by planning at each interface of custody and community; and
  • looking at specialized needs service delivery.
625.
The Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Justice Support Project is a committee co-chaired by Solicitor General and Public Security and consists of a partnership of community agencies and representatives. The purpose of the committee is to provide case planning conferences to address the issues surrounding young persons affected by FASD who come into conflict with the criminal justice system and to identify community resources and to link the young persons to appropriate supports.

British Columbia

General measures of implementation
(Articles 4, 42 and 44)

Child expenditures

626.
The Government of British Columbia web site has links to ministries that have resource allocations set aside for children, including those with responsibility for children and families, education, health, public safety, and housing (www.earlylearning.ubc.ca/).
 
627.
Information on the Government of British Columbia Three-Year Service Plan for children and families is available at www.bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/2007/sp/cfd/ and the Annual Service Plan Report for children and families for 2007-2008 is available at www.bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/Annual_Reports/2007_2008/cfd/cfd.pdf.
 
628.
The Government of British Columbia Early Years Annual Report 2006-2007 can be accessed at www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/early_childhood/pdf/ecd_annual_06_07.pdf. The report outlining the Strong, Safe and Supported: A Commitment to British Columbia's Children and Youth - Action Plan and Operational Plan is available at www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/about_us/commitment.htm.
 

Data collection and dissemination

629.
The Government of British Columbia collects and analyzes data on programs to support evaluations and planning. The government also collaborates on specific research with other governments and agencies, including by providing funding for significant external research such as the Human Early Learning Partnership, an interdisciplinary university-based research network working to advance early years knowledge (www.earlylearning.ubc.ca/). Funding has also been provided for the inclusion of 100 British Columbia children in a five-year (2005-2009) national research project on autism spectrum disorder.
 
630.
The Online Program Records Administration system allows for the collection of statistical information from government-funded victim services programs in British Columbia, specific to sexual offences against children and youth.[31]
 
631.
WorkSafeBC, an independent, statutory agency funded through insurance premiums paid by registered employers and through investment returns, keeps data for injured workers, including the ages of claimants. In administering the Workers Compensation Act, the organisation remains separate and distinct from government; however, it is accountable to the public through the government, which is responsible for protecting and maintaining the overall well-being of the system.
 
632.
British Columbia has developed and adopted a provincial government Aboriginal data standard for the collection of information concerning Aboriginal people that will assist in monitoring and tracking progress on closing social and economic gaps. Measures and data tracking to monitor the implementation of the Transformative Change Accord and Métis Nation Relationship Accord have also been developed.
 
633.
Data are collected and analyzed for Aboriginal child and family services. Also, staff of Aboriginal delegated agencies participate in training in data information systems related to their service delivery systems for recipients.
 
634.
In 2007, British Columbia finalized plans to establish a new Integrated Quality Assurance program to further support continuous organizational learning and a culture of improvement, including leading diverse input for initiatives to further implement the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
 

Coordination and monitoring of children's rights

635.
In direct response to the 2006 Hughes Review of British Columbia's child welfare system, in 2007, the Government of British Columbia created the independent office of the Representative for Children and Youth (www.rcybc.ca). The Representative is an officer of the legislature and reports through an all party Select Standing Committee on Children and Youth. The mandate of the Representative is to improve services and outcomes for children in the province through advocacy, accountability and review. The Representative's office promotes the rights of children and youth, using the Convention on the Rights of Child as a foundation for its work.
 
636.
Also in 2007, British Columbia established the Office to Combat Trafficking in Persons (www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/octip/about.htm). Please refer to Canada's First Report on the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography for additional information.
 
637.
Related action and operational plans regarding child and family services, called Strong, Safe and Supported, can be found at www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/about_us/pdf/Strong_Safe_Supported.pdf. An associated publication, Strong, Safe and Supported: What's Working for Children, Youth and Families in B.C., was developed through collaboration with First Nations Elders, the Youth Advisory Council, the Federation of BC Youth in Care Network, Aboriginal community representatives, staff, service partners and others (www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/about_us/pdf/WW_Final%20proof%20June2.pdf).
 

Complaint mechanisms

638.
Information on British Columbia's regional complaints resolution process relating to children, youth and families can be found at www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/complaints/index.htm.
 
639.
British Columbia has expanded options to increase the use of less adversarial, court-based alternatives to resolve disputes in child welfare matters, such as the Collaborative Planning and Decision Making model, when appropriate. Participation by a family is voluntary, and can enable a family to build on strengths and capacity to help them safely stay together. For more information see:
 
640.
The use of Child Protection Mediation more than doubled in 2006 and 2007 and a research project was initiated in 2007 to further the mediator practice standard regarding meaningful participation of children in child protection mediation. 
 

Promoting awareness and understanding of the Convention

641.
The Government of British Columbia provides ongoing funding for the BC Federation of Youth in Care Networks (www.fbcyicn.ca/) who was a partner in a rights-based project that included consultation with youth and others towards a workshop for children and youth at-risk, to help inform about rights, responsibilities and self-advocacy skills. In 2007, the Network also started a new youth publication, Your Life Your Rights (www.fbcyicn.ca/files/rights-book/know-rights-online.pdf).
 
642.
British Columbia hosted the International Forum on Child Welfare, WorldForum 2006, with over 1,000 delegates from 40 countries attending to share knowledge and perspectives on innovative practices. WorldForum 2006 included an opportunity for 100 youth to participate as planners, presenters, delegates and volunteers.
 
643.
A representative from each child and youth service region attended intensive training called Child Rights in Practice: Tools for Social Change in 2007, hosted by the International Institute for Child Rights and Development. It discussed child participation, building children's natural resiliency, Indigenous child rights, and implementing children's rights in daily practice.

Definition of the child
(Article 1)

644.
In 2007, a definition of a "young worker" was added to British Columbia's Occupational Health and Safety Regulations as any worker who is under 25 years of age.
 

General principles
(Articles 2, 3, 6 and 12)

Non-discrimination

645.
Information on the British Columbia Anti-Racism and Multiculturalism Program is included in Canada's Seventeenth and Eighteenth Reports on the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination. More recent initiatives under this program are described on the following web site: www.welcomebc.ca/en/service_providers/index.html#.
 
646.
The North Region's Aboriginal Recruitment Project was developed to target recruitment and retain qualified Aboriginal social workers to work with children and youth.
 
647.
British Columbia has implemented several measures aimed at promoting non-discrimination in the school system which include:
 
648.
The Government of British Columbia has also worked with post-secondary institutions to ensure diversity is taught in Child Welfare Specialization curricula, and that core training for new front-line staff addresses diversity.
 

Respect for the views of the child

649.
The Government of British Columbia has developed and implemented numerous initiatives to increase opportunities for child and youth participation towards decisions in related programs and services. For example, a Youth Advisory Council was established in 2007 to bring together young people from across the province to provide input to help inform related government services.
 
650.
Effective October 17, 2007, legislation was in place requiring provincial standards for codes of conduct in schools. The Ministerial Order Provincial Standards for Codes of Conduct requires that the School District staff consult with students when establishing the Code of Conduct for schools within their district and that they review the Code annually with students (www.bced.gov.bc.ca/legislation/schoollaw/e/m276-07.pdf).
 
651.
During the reporting period, British Columbia commenced a pilot project involving children in mediation, which provides an opportunity for children to express their views during the mediation process when parents are developing parenting plans after family separation. The service is confidential and is contingent upon the consent of the parents and the child, and an assessment by the Family Justice Counsellor. A child's views may be brought to the parents' mediation session by a trained Family Justice Counsellor following an interview with the child, or, the child may participate in the mediation session providing the child is at least 12 years of age and the circumstances deem it appropriate. It is anticipated that the inclusion of the child's views in mediation will encourage an earlier settlement of the child-related issues and help parents make better decisions for their family.
 

Training of professionals

652.
The federal Youth Criminal Justice Act, the provincial Youth Justice Act (www.qp.gov.bc.ca/statreg/stat/y/03085_01.htm), as well as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guide youth justice services in British Columbia. Ongoing training on youth justice matters occurs for new employees and on a regular basis as part of British Columbia's continuing education plan for justice system professionals.
 
653.
Examples of rights-based training include a leadership team and regional staff participation in a university-hosted Child Rights in Practice educational conference in 2007. A new Child Rights and Advocacy Team is developing initiatives related to child and youth rights and effective advocacy. For information on overall plans, please visit www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/about_us/pdf/Strong_Safe_Supported.pdf.
 

Civil rights and freedoms
(Articles 7, 8, 13-17 and 37)

654.
The Government of British Columbia has implemented measures towards ensuring that Aboriginal children in alternative care are able to maintain their identity and culture. In 2007, approximately 130 of nearly 200 First Nation bands in British Columbia were represented by agencies that either have, or are planning toward, delegation agreements to provide child and family services to their communities. By the end of 2007, 24 delegated Aboriginal child and family service agencies in British Columbia operated, with varying levels of delegation. Partnership work continues as Aboriginal communities continue building capacity to exercise jurisdiction in delivering their own child and family services.
 
655.
A series of Aboriginal Cultural Awareness training sessions took place during the reporting period through Caring for First Nations Children Society facilitators. Programs such as the North Region's A Child's Roots are Forever are in place to help ensure that Aboriginal children in care are able to preserve connections to their family, community and Aboriginal identity and heritage.
 

Family environment and alternative care
(Articles 5, 9-11, 18-21, 25, 27 and 39)

Child care and support services

656.
In 2005, a new Targeted Major Capital Grants Program began supporting project costs to create new licensed child care spaces by non-profit providers in communities.
 
657.
As well, in 2005, improvements to British Columbia's Child Care Subsidy Program included increases in family subsidies and in the qualifying annual income threshold. In 2006, the Government of British Columbia committed to fund the child care subsidy on a continuous basis, and exempted the federal Universal Child Care Benefit from the income test for subsidy. In 2007, the provincial government improved the subsidy rate system for kindergarten children and increased subsidy rates for school-age children (www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/childcare/subsidy_promo.htm). Further information on changes to the British Columbia Child Care Subsidy Program was reported within Canada's Sixth and Seventh Reports on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).
 
658.
In 2006-2007, significant funds for Quality Improvement Enhancements were provided to facilities to support licensed child care providers with operating costs. Funding was allocated to develop and expand 22 neighbourhood hubs for early years' programs by co-locating and integrating early years' services for families. In 2007, there were over 86,000 licensed child care spaces receiving on-going funding through the Child Care Operating Fund - nearly a 20 percent increase since the launch of the program in 2003-2004. Additional information on child care in British Columbia is available at www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/childcare/.
 
659.
British Columbia's Supported Child Development Program enables more than 5,800 children with special needs to participate in child care settings (see www.cf.gov.bc.ca/spec_needs/scd.htm for more information). Additional special needs supplements help special needs children and their families with their child care requirements.
 
660.
In 2007, partnerships facilitated the creation of child care spaces in social housing developments, eliminating some barriers to child care, employment, and schooling for vulnerable families. Investments have been made to support Young Parent Programs (YPP) to assist young parents in completing secondary education and to access parenting resources while receiving YPP licensed infant/toddler child care.

Child and family benefits and other initiatives addressing child poverty

661.
A number of measures have been implemented by the Government of British Columbia to reduce the risk of poverty for families, thereby benefiting children. For example, the 10 by 10 Challenge invites communities and industry to increase employment for persons with disabilities (www.10by10challenge.gov.bc.ca/).
 
662.
British Columbia's Medical Services Plan (MSP) Premium Assistance was extended by $4,000 (in 2002 and 2005) to eliminate MSP premiums for most low-income families (www.health.gov.bc.ca/msp/).
 
663.
Fair PharmaCare, administered on behalf of the provincial Ministry of Health, protects residents of British Columbia from high drug costs through the subsidization of prescription drugs and designated medical supplies. Starting May 1, 2003, Fair PharmaCare has focused financial assistance on families in British Columbia who are most in need, based on their net income. Details on the Fair PharmaCare Plan are available at www.health.gov.bc.ca/pharmacare/plani/planiindex.html.
 
664.
In April 2007, income assistance rates were increased in British Columbia for all categories of recipients. Rate increases were applied to both support and shelter portions of assistance, benefiting about 135,000 individuals.
 
665.
Investments were increased for community-based Family Resource Programs (FRPs), for families to strengthen parenting skills and access stimulating environments for children. FRPs are community hubs providing information, education, referrals, and targeted supports and interventions. In 2006-2007, funding was provided to the BC Association of Family Resource Programs to build capacity of smaller, rural FRPs.
 
666.
The Children's Education Fund has been established to support the costs of paying for post-secondary education. For every child born on or after January 1, 2007, in British Columbia, outside the province to parents who normally live in the province, or adopted by parents in British Columbia, the government is investing $1,000 into the Fund. By the time the child enters post-secondary education, the fund plus interest is expected to amount to more than $2,200 per child.
 
667.
Additional measures to reduce the risk of poverty for families are described in Canada's Sixth and Seventh Reports on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).
 

Use of minor corrective force and alternatives to physical discipline of children

668.
Corporal punishment is not permitted in British Columbia's public schools. Section 76(3) of the School Actsets out the standard of discipline of a student. Brochures on parenting were produced by the government that include information on positive ways to discipline children.
 

Basic health and welfare
(Articles 6, 18, 23, 24, 26 and 27)

669.
British Columbia continues to support low-income children through initiatives like the Healthy Kids Program, as described in Canada's Sixth and Seventh Reports on CEDAW.
 
670.
Services for children and youth with special needs and their families have expanded in British Columbia, and a new framework was completed in 2007 to improve service coordination and accessibility between provincial ministries/agencies. Some initiatives include:
 
  • expansion of autism resources with direct funding that allows eligible families more choice in choosing interventions for their children (www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/autism/funding_programs.htm); 
  • establishment of a national autism research chair at Simon Fraser University to build capacity and improve treatment and intervention options (www2.news.gov.bc.ca/news_releases_2005-2009/2007CFD0043-001334.htm);
  • increase in some programs for persons with hearing impairments including transitioning, addictions and mental health services (www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/psdhh/); and 
  • development of new key worker and parent support approaches for families of children and youth with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and similar conditions to improve prevention, diagnosis, assessment, intervention and support for children and youth with FASD and their families (www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/fasd/ten_year_plan.htm).

Pregnancy and early childhood development

671.
In June 2006, the Government of British Columbia developed the Peri-natal Depression Framework to guide senior health authority administrators in the development of regionally appropriate strategies for addressing peri-natal depression and strengthening services (www.health.gov.bc.ca/library/publications/year/2006/MHA
_PerinatalDepression.pdf
).
 
672.
In June 2006, the BC HealthFile: Pregnancy and Alcohol Use was published[32] that describes the risks of alcohol use during pregnancy, ways to reduce risk, and how to access support to cut down or stop using alcohol during pregnancy.
 
673.
The Government of British Columbia has released a new 10-year 2008-2010 Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder (FASD) Framework to build on the province's first strategic plan of 2003, which included government departments working with health authorities and community partners to support women having healthy pregnancies and assist those living with FASD (www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/fasd/ten_year_plan.htm).
 
674.
The number of Aboriginal Infant Development Programs has grown significantly since 2003, many of which are on reserves or in remote communities. As well, Aboriginal Early Childhood Development initiatives have been developed and/or expanded in the reporting period.
 
675.
In 2007, Steps in the Right Direction: Connecting and Collaborating in Early Intervention Therapy with Aboriginal Families and Communities in British Columbia was published.[33]
 
676.
In January 2007, funding was provided to the University of British Columbia to support research on the reasons behind the high pregnancy rates among teens in rural and northern British Columbia. These rates are 60 percent higher than the provincial average despite public health efforts. The Rural and Remote Youth Contraception Research team is an interdisciplinary team created to investigate youth's experiences with contraception in Northern British Columbia.
 
677.
In February to May 2007, breastfeeding education, following UNICEF/WHO guidelines, was provided to ninety-two nurses through a five-day 'Train-the-Trainer' program to gain knowledge, tools, templates and techniques to train other health care professionals who are supporting breastfeeding families in British Columbia.

Health care for Aboriginal and rural children

678.
In 2003, additional funding was provided to expand services province-wide; including for new, culturally relevant mental health services for Aboriginal children, youth and their families, through development of regional Aboriginal mental health plans. Funding for the Child and Youth Mental Health (CYMH) Plan in British Columbia doubled as did the number of young persons receiving services and the Plan broadened services from a focus on crisis and treatment, to a focus on reducing risk, building capacity and improving treatment and support using evidence-based practices. This includes strategies to: reduce risk factors that are socio-cultural and bio-psychosocial; promote resilience, strengthen social environments; and, improve recognition and promote awareness.
 
679.
New regional Aboriginal CYMH plans increased culturally relevant services that improve access to general services and develop community capacity. In partnership with local Aboriginal leaders and communities, the Plan provides unique opportunities to create a balanced and holistic approach to treatment and wellness.
 
680.
In November 2006, the Government of British Columbia and the First Nations Leadership Council released the Transformative Change Accord: First Nations Health Plan - Supporting the Health and Wellness of First Nations in British Columbia (the First Nations Health Plan). The First Nations Health Plan identifies twenty-nine action items intended to close the gaps in health status between First Nations people and other British Columbians (www.fns.bc.ca/pdf/FirstNationsHealthImplementationPlan
_Combo_LowResolution.pdf
).
 
681.
In June 2007, following the First Nations Health Plan, the Government of Canada, the Government of British Columbia and the First Nations Leadership Council[34] signed the Tripartite First Nations Health Plan (FNHP) that will implement the action items from the first agreement. The progress of the FNHP will be tracked by monitoring seven "performance indicators": life expectancy at birth, mortality rates, Aboriginal youth suicide rates, infant mortality rates, diabetes rates, childhood obesity, and numbers of practicing, certified First Nations health care professionals. The provincial Health Officer will issue Aboriginal health status reports every five years, with interim updates every two years.
 

Aboriginal youth suicide prevention

682.
British Columbia's rates of death by suicide for youth ages 15-19 years have declined since 2003.
 
683.
In February 2007, British Columbia co-hosted a provincial forum on First Nation Youth Suicide with the Task Force on First Nation Youth Suicide and the Government of Canada.
 
684.
Two actions from the Tripartite First Nations Health Plan (2007) address Aboriginal youth suicide:
 
  • The Government is partnering with First Nations, Aboriginal partners, and the Government of Canada, to develop and implement an Aboriginal Mental Health and Addictions Strategy. A key component of the strategy will be a focus on suicide prevention.
  • The First Nations Leadership Council and the Province will host a forum for all health authorities and First Nations Elders and youth to support and encourage learning about First Nations' heritage, cultures and spirituality, and to develop models for youth suicide prevention.
685.
British Columbia supports local mental health initiatives for Aboriginal children and youth. For example, the Loomsk Project,[35] which resulted from a collaborative partnership between diverse representatives in the North region. Built on evidence-based practices, it combined an Indigenous school-based youth suicide prevention program and an Aboriginal youth mentorship program. Pilot results showed a significant decrease in behavioural problems of participating children, and greater ability to express their feelings (www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/suicide_prevention/approach.htm and www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/about_us/pdf/Strong_Safe_Supported.pdf).
 

Minimizing risks to adolescent health

686.
The Government of British Columbia's partnership with Simon Fraser University, through a major grant, ensures that policy development is informed by research. Funding has been provided to publish reviews of the best available research evidence on preventing and treating a variety of children's mental disorders (www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/mental_health/research_initiatives.htm).
 
687.
A self-help tool for youth, Dealing with Depression: Anti-Depressant Skills for Teens, was posted on the web (www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/mental_health). The school-based FRIENDS program helps to prevent anxiety and depression and promotes resilience among children and youth by skill-building (www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/mental_health/friends.htm).
 
688.
As part of a broad public awareness campaign, child and youth mental health documentaries were created in partnership with the Knowledge Network and Children's Mental Health Policy Centre (www.knowledgenetwork.ca/takingcare/intro.html).
 

Adequate housing

689.
In 2006, the Government of British Columbia introduced a new housing strategy, Housing Matters BC, aimed at strengthening the government response to those in need. One of the six goals is that the homeless have access to stable housing with integrated support services.
 
690.
In April of 2007, the Government of British Columbia increased the shelter rate maximum for income assistance and hardship to provide families with more options. Support and shelter rates for families with children were also standardized so that all children receive the same amount of assistance regardless of the category of their parents.
 
691.
In 2007-2008, the Government of British Columbia increased funding to housing initiatives by 10 percent to $352 million, which expanded housing programs for seniors, the homeless, and rent assistance for low-income working families. During this year, 2,437 new units were added to the existing inventory of subsidized housing. Some 800 housing providers - mostly non-profit societies and housing co-operatives - manage about 57,000 units of subsidized housing and the Government of British Columbia manages 7,800 public housing units.
 
692.
In 2007-2008, agreements were reached with three municipal governments to expedite the development of approximately 1,600 supported housing units. The Government of British Columbia provided $10 million towards pre-development costs to ensure units were ready for construction within one year.
 
693.
Over 85,400 households in 200 communities were assisted through subsidized housing programs in 2007-2008. In 2006, the province introduced the Rental Assistance Program, which was developed to assist low-income families with monthly rent supplements and is helping more than 6,000 households with direct monthly cash assistance.
 
694.
In order to improve access to housing for those most in need, changes were introduced to the application process to give priority access to housing to those who face severe risk to their health and/or safety, such as those who are homeless, or experience serious health, medical or social needs. This includes those at risk of homelessness, people with mental or physical disabilities, women and children fleeing abusive relationships, or those living in severely inadequate housing.

Homelessness

695.
Initiated in 2004, the British Columbia Provincial Homelessness Initiative provides a comprehensive approach to homelessness, mental illness and addictions by integrating housing with the appropriate support services. BC Housing allocated additional units to the program, bringing the total to 2,287 in 2006-2007, with an additional 1,552 new units in 2007-2008. In 2007-2008, the Government of British Columbia also purchased and upgraded a number of single room occupancy hotels totalling 1,428 units, preserving the supply of safe, affordable and stable housing for those who might otherwise be on the street.
 
696.
A new homelessness outreach program was started in 2006 that connects homeless individuals with income assistance, health services and affordable housing. The program was expanded in 2007-2008 to include more than 40 communities. The outreach program complements the Emergency Shelter Program, which was enhanced by converting seasonal beds to year-round shelter. Increased funding in 2007-2008 enabled emergency shelters to open 24 hours a day/seven days a week. The coordination of the outreach and shelter programs is helping to create an integrated system of housing and support that will ensure a more comprehensive approach to homelessness. This approach envisions shelters functioning as 'gateways' to permanent housing and required supports.
 

Education, leisure and cultural activities
(Articles 28, 29 and 31)

697.
StrongStart BC is a free, drop-in, early learning program for preschool children accompanied by a parent or caregiver. Qualified early childhood educators lead learning activities to help children get ready for success in kindergarten (www.bced.gov.bc.ca/early_learning/).
 
698.
British Columbia's kindergarten to Grade12 education system focuses on career development for students and their parents as a key objective (www.bced.gov.bc.ca/careers/planning/).
 
699.
Various initiatives have targeted reducing high school dropout rates such as the CommunityLINK programs for vulnerable students, Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreements, and integrating culturally appropriate Aboriginal content.
 

Education for Aboriginal children, rural children and children at risk

700.
The British Columbia web site on Aboriginal education describes programs and services: www.bced.gov.bc.ca/abed/.
 
701.
During the reporting period, the Government of British Columbia signed the First Nations Education Jurisdiction Agreement and enacted legislation to recognize First Nations' jurisdiction over on-reserve schools. The Government of British Columbia also created, signed and implemented 36 Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreements around the province. Through the agreements, school boards and all local Aboriginal communities jointly identify the direction needed to improve the success of Aboriginal students and take steps to reach their shared goals. These agreements reflect local Aboriginal culture and resources.
 
702.
The Government of British Columbia also provided grants to help Friendship Centre Societies with enhanced early childhood development programming and family literacy initiatives on and off-reserve.
 
703.
The Urban Aboriginal Literacy Strategy increases literacy among Aboriginal families through 24 Friendship Centres. Funding has been provided to the Aboriginal Head Start Association of British Columbia to develop Language Nest and Baby Immersion Programs that aim to immerse children aged zero to three in the child's language dialect and support cultural knowledge to promote healthy babies and families through centre-based and home-support activities. Aboriginal Early Childhood Development programs have been expanded in Aboriginal communities and support culturally appropriate programs.[36]
 
704.
Action research through the Aboriginal Enhancement Schools Network Project (2007-2008), a network set up in partnership with the Network of Performance Based Schools, is designed to make a positive difference to the learning, transition and school completion of Aboriginal students.
 
705.
In 2007, work began on a pilot high school Youth Work Xchange program for Aboriginal youth as an option for them to gain work experience with the Government of British Columbia by exploring social service careers, and be encouraged to consider post-secondary studies in the field.
 

Child rights education

706.
The Rights 2 Success initiative was a partnership project between the former Child and Youth Officer for British Columbia, the Federation of British Columbia Youth in Care Networks (YICN), and the Government of British Columbia (www.fbcyicn.ca/files/rights_2_success/rights2success.pdf). The YICN was also funded to develop a publication called Your Life, Your Rights (www.fbcyicn.ca/files/rights-book/know-rights-online.pdf).
 

Special protection measures
(Articles 22, 30 and 32-40)

Protection of Aboriginal children

707.
In late 2007, the Vancouver Aboriginal Child and Family Services Society signed a five-year delegation agreement with the Government of British Columbia, which has provided them with full delegation authority for child protection services for Aboriginal children, youth and families in two large urban areas. The Cowichan Tribes child and family service agency, Lalum'utul'Smun'eem, signed an Adoption Enabling Agreement in 2007 to assume responsibility for adoptions of Cowichan children.
 
708.
The Government of British Columbia is working with Aboriginal and other partners to develop a 10- year Aboriginal Housing Action Plan that will complement the First Nations Housing Memorandum of Understanding. The Government of British Columbia funded 292 housing units under the $50.9 million Aboriginal Housing Initiative to help address the short-term housing needs for Aboriginal people living off reserve.
 

Protection of refugee children, separated children and unaccompanied children seeking asylum

709.
Effective 2007-2008, the Settlement Workers in Schools initiative, with funding from the Government of British Columbia and the Government of Canada, contracts school districts with significant enrolment of immigrant and refugee students to provide a school-based outreach program that supports newly-arrived immigrant and refugee students and their families. Services are provided by Settlement Workers who are placed in schools and include:
 
  • reaching out to new arrivals to the school district, including 'hard to reach' families;
  • providing information and orientation about Canadian culture and service systems, particularly about school policies and expectations, and the British Columbia education system;
  • referring and assisting students or their families to access school or community programs and services; and
  • providing cultural interpretation and facilitating culturally sensitive communication between school staff and the students and their families over non-educational issues.

Protection of children from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse, and the sale, trafficking and abduction of children

710.
The "Violence in the Lives of Sexually Exploited Youth and Adult Sex Workers in British Columbia" project studied six communities and determined best practices for supporting victims of sexual exploitation. Community and inter-agency training was offered in seven Northwest British Columbia communities (www.jibc.bc.ca/cccs/publications/Violence%20Research%20Final%20Report.pdf).  
 
711.
Reports on sexual exploitation and youth gang involvement were shared with British Columbia's victim services, community action teams and youth serving agencies. The Office to Combat Trafficking in Persons conducts research on the situation of minors trafficked into or through British Columbia for purposes of exploitation.
 
712.
In 2007-2008, service initiatives for victims of sexual exploitation included funding toward the Mobile Access Project, a van supporting sexually-exploited youth and adults, and intensive training on sexual assault for victim service workers, experiential women and others working with sexually-exploited youth and adults.
 
713.
The Assistant Deputy Ministers' Committee on Prostitution and the Sexual Exploitation of Children and Youth, oversees research and policy development related to prostitution and youth sexual exploitation issues. Initiatives include cross-ministry information sharing, joint research, and grant programs. In partnership with the Government of Canada, in 2006 the Government of British Columbia provided nearly $1.3 million in grants to address sexual exploitation of young people and adult prostitution.
 
714.
Please refer to Canada's First Report on the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography for additional information. 
 

Protection from economic exploitation

715.
WorkSafeBC has conducted research that has found that young workers in general are experiencing a higher injury rate than the average of all workers in the province. To mitigate this, the agency has developed tools and educational material to educate youth about their workplace safety rights and responsibilities, and make them aware of dangers at the worksite. Workplace safety instruction is now a mandatory component of the curriculum and all Grade 10 students receive up to seven hours of information about their rights and responsibilities, hazard recognition, and basic injury prevention.
 
716.
The Employment Standards Regulation was amended in 2003 with respect to conditions of employment for children. As part of the young worker injury prevention initiatives, WorkSafeBC implemented new regulations for young and new workers in 2007 that require employers to perform orientation and training to young workers before they begin work.
 

Children in conflict with the law

717.
British Columbia's number of youth in custody has fallen significantly in the last several years. Between 1995-1996 and 2006-2007, the youth custody count dropped by 68 percent. Since the implementation of the Youth Criminal Justice Act in 2003, the youth custody count dropped by over 40 percent.
 
718.
Non-custody options for youth in the justice system have been expanded in British Columbia to include restorative justice conferences, and intensive support and supervision for community re-integration. British Columbia has had a declining custody rate for many years, due in part to community-based alternatives that help rehabilitate a youth while keeping communities safe. In 2006, Youth Custody Services in British Columbia were accredited by the Council on Accreditation, which has played an important role in ensuring that service providers comply with recognized best practices.
 
719.
In January 2007, a policy directive outlining referral policies for police and victim services to ensure victims of certain crimes, including sexual exploitation, are referred to an appropriate program was released (www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/victim_services/publications/policy/ReferralPolicy.pdf).
 

Notes:

[23] Note that the Family Violence Protection Act provides a new mechanism to protect persons who are threatened with or are the victims of family violence. The Act establishes a simple and quick procedure to allow a victim of family violence to apply to a Provincial Court judge for an emergency protection order. The order could include a number of provisions, including granting the applicant sole occupancy of the residence or use of property, restricting contact between the applicant and respondent, granting temporary custody of children to the applicant and banning publication of the proceedings. The Act provides procedural fairness to the respondent who would have the right to apply for a hearing to set aside the emergency protection order, or to vary or terminate the order in whole or in part and the right to be heard and to examine and cross-examine witnesses in the course of such a hearing. Emergency protection orders would be enforceable by the police and the Act makes it an offence, punishable on summary conviction, to breach a provision of an emergency protection order or to violate an order of the court made under the Act.

[24] The AHTF is described in greater detail in Canada's Fifth Report on the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

[25] Order 18-2004 (04-01-14), G.O.Q. 2, 907 (04-01-28), which came into effect on November 1, 2003.

[26] COMPASS refers to a large integrated freeway traffic management system in Ontario. More information can be found at www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/traveller/trip/compass-ftms.shtml.

[27] RESCU is the City of Toronto traffic management system. More information can be found at www.toronto.ca/rescu/.

[28] Described in Canada's Thirteenth and Fourteenth Reports on the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

[29] Jennifer Bodnarchuk, Ph.D., David Patton, Ph.D. and Troy Rieck (April 2006); www.rayinc.ca/Documents/Adolescence%20without%20Shelter%20-%20AFM%20Final_Report.pdf

[30] Billie Schibler (Children's Advocate) and Alice McEwan- Morris (November 2006); www.childrensadvocate.mb.ca/English/Assets/Strengthening%20Our%20Youth%20-%20Final%202006.pdf

[31] Sexual offences involving children up to 13 years of age at the time of the assault are categorized as 'sexual abuse'; the youth 13 to 18 category counts recent youth victims of sexual exploitation and other sexual offences. Police data mechanisms at this time do not record sexual offences including sexual exploitation against children separate from those against adult victims of sexual offences.

[32] Information on HealthFiles was included in Canada's Fifth Report on the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

[33] This report is available at www.acc-society.bc.ca/files_new/documents/StepsintheRightDirectionConnecting
andCollaboratinginEarlyInterventionTherapywithAb.Familiesa.pdf

[34] Represented by the First Nations Summit, BC Assembly of First Nations, and the Union of BC Indian Chiefs.

[35] Loomsk is a Sm'algyaz (a First Nations language) word meaning "respect".

[36] For more on AECD programs, see: www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/early_childhood/aecd.htm.

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