Canada's Second Universal Periodic Review

Canada's second review before the United Nations Human Rights Council's Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group took place on April 26, 2013. A total of 82 countries intervened during the three-and-a-half-hour dialogue. These states made recommendations to Canada on a wide range of topics.

The report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review of Canada includes a list of the 162 recommendations Canada received from other States.

The Response of Canada to the Recommendations was submitted to the United Nations on September 16, 2013. Canada’s response was prepared in close collaboration with federal departments and provincial and territorial governments in accordance with UN guidelines (limit of 2,675 words). The response was informed by views expressed by civil society and Aboriginal organizations throughout the UPR process.

The final outcome of Canada’s review was adopted by the Human Rights Council on September 19, 2013. Canada will report on implementation of the accepted recommendations at its next review in 2017.

Canada’s report

Canada’s Second Report under the UPR was submitted to the Human Rights Council in preparation for its appearance. A major focus of Canada’s report is on measures that relate to the recommendations and voluntary commitments Canada accepted during its first UPR in 2009. The report was prepared in collaboration with federal, provincial and territorial government officials.

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Under the UPR, each country is reviewed by other UN member states on the fulfillment of its human rights obligations and commitments. The UPR is peer-review process, with all countries being reviewed on a 4.5-year cycle. The UPR began on April 7, 2008. The second UPR cycle began in May 2012. Three sessions are held each year, with 14 countries reviewed per session.


The UPR considers written input from three sources: a report from the State under review, a compilation of recent recommendations from UN human rights treaty bodies and special procedures (Special Rapporteurs) and a summary of information provided by national human rights institutions and non-governmental organizations.

The reviews are conducted by the UPR Working Group which consists of the 47 members of the Human Rights Council; however, any UN Member State can take part in the discussion with the State under review. Each State review is assisted by groups of three States known as troikas, who serve as rapporteurs. Prior to each Working Group Session, the selection of troikas is done through a drawing of lots.

Following the State review, a report is prepared by the troika that provides a summary of the discussion and includes recommendations made by States to the country under review. The State will subsequently provide a written response to the recommendations, indicating which recommendations it accepts and which it does not. The outcome of the review is then adopted at a plenary session of the Human Rights Council.

Canada’s First UPR

Canada’s first UPR took place on February 3, 2009.

Canada’s First Report under the UPR was submitted to the UN in December 2008. The report provided an overview of the framework for the promotion and protection of human rights in Canada and related policies and programs.

The Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review of Canada includes a list of the 68 recommendations Canada received from other States.

Canada submitted it response to the recommendations in June 2009.  Canada accepted, in part or in full, 54 of the recommendation and did not accept 14. Canada also made nine additional voluntary commitments that complemented the accepted recommendations.

The outcome of Canada’s review can be found in the Report of the eleventh session of the Human Rights Council.

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Additional information on the UPR process is available on the website of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.