Frequently Asked Questions

What does the UNCRC mean by a Child?
The UNCRC defines a child as any person below the age of 18 unless national laws recognize an earlier age of majority.

When should I start teaching children about their rights?
Children should experience their rights from the time they are born. The interest of children in rights issues and the way in which parents handle these issues, will vary according to the age of the child. There is no perfect age to introduce rights, but many agree that when a child understands or says “that’s not fair” they are ready to learn about rights.

Why should I teach children about their rights?
The aim of child rights education is the development of respect for everyone, their values and their culture. Children can understand if they want their rights respected, they must respect the rights of others. Children who have learned about their rights in a rights respecting environment compared to those who have not: have a more accurate understanding of what it means to have rights and responsibilities, show greater acceptance of children who are different than themselves and have better relationships with their classmates and teachers. They are less likely to be victimized and more likely to stand up for others.

Does giving children rights remove the rights of the parents?
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child clearly sets out the importance of relationship between children’s rights and the child’s family. The Convention recognizes the family as the “fundamental group of society and the natural environment for the growth and wellbeing of…children” (Preamble). It also acknowledges that parents have the “primary responsibility” for their child’s upbringing and development (Article 18). The UNCRC affirms that the family itself requires protection and assistance to fulfil its responsibilities and places a duty on governments to support parents in rearing
their children (Article 18).

What is Canada’s responsibility as a signatory to the UNCRC?
When Canada signed the UNCRC, they agreed to undertake all appropriate legislative, administrative, and other measures for the implementation of the rights recognized in the Convention. This implies assessing the social services, legal, health and educational
systems, as well as funding for these services to ensure that they are in line with the provisions of the Convention. Canada is obliged to take all the necessary steps to ensure that the minimum standards set by the UNCRC in these areas are being met.