Rights and Responsibilities

All people have human rights that guarantee freedoms, safety, equality and dignity. There are numerous legislations and policies that are especially relevant to children’s rights as full citizens of the world. These include:  

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989)

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is a human rights treaty which sets out the civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights of children. The Convention defines a child as any human being under the age of eighteen, unless the age of majority is attained earlier under national legislation. Canada became a signatory to the Convention on 28 May 1990 and ratified in 1991. Youth criminal laws in Canada underwent major changes resulting in the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) which went into effect on 1 April 2003. The Act specifically references Canada's different commitments under the Convention.

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

The Charter guarantees everyone freedom of expression, freedom of association and equality. It provides that all Canadians are entitled to equal treatment under the law, regardless of factors like race, gender, sexual identity and gender identity.

The Ontario Human Rights Code (1962)

The OHRC prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity, age, ancestry, colour, race, citizenship, ethnic origin, creed, disability, family status, marital status, receipt of public assistance (in housing only) and record of offences (in employment only)

The Child and Family Services Act (1990)

The paramount purpose of the CFSA is to promote the best interests, protection and wellbeing of children. Included in those rights is the right to be heard: A child in care has a right to be consulted and to express his or her views, to the extent that is practical given the child’s level of understanding, whenever significant decisions concerning the child are made, including decisions with respect to medical treatment, education and religion and decisions with respect to the child’s discharge from the placement or transfer to another residential placement

Health Care Consent Act (1996)

The Act stipulates that everyone can make their own decisions about their health, if they are capable (i.e. no age restriction) and no treatment can occur without consent. Only a doctor or other health care professional can decide whether or not you can make a health decision (i.e. not a CAS).

Ministry of Children and Youth Services’ Licensed Residential Setting Policy Requirement 2008-2.

The policy requires licensees (group homes and foster care agencies) to develop written policies and procedures related to cultural competency, which shall include how the licensee accommodates the needs of LGBT children and youth.

Further Reading & Resources