Canada's National "Child Day"

"Child Day" - Canada's day to support child rights as obligated to under the UN  Universal Children's Day provisions


About Canada's national "Child Day"

Canada's national "Child Day" is held November 20th each year as enacted in Bill C-371, otherwise known as the  Child Day Act, by the Parliament of Canada in 1993.

It commemorates the United Nations adoption of two landmark documents concerned with the human rights of all children and youths.

On "Child Day", Canadians honour our children and The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of The Child  on November 20th, 1959, and the The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child  on November 20th, 1989.

The Convention spells out the basic human rights to which children (under the age of 18) everywhere are entitled.

The purpose of Child Day is to promote awareness about the Convention to Canadians.

It is also a day to support Canadian children's rights by voicing your concerns about Canadian children's rights violations to the politicians of Canada and to educate our children about their rights and responsibilities.

The Child Day Act -  1993 - The Parliament of Canada

1993, c. 18  [Assented to May 6, 1993]

An Act respecting a national child day


WHEREAS on November 20, 1989, the Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted in the United Nations General Assembly;

AND WHEREAS the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child has been ratified by Canada;

AND WHEREAS it is desirable to promote in Canada an awareness of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child;

NOW, THEREFORE, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:

1. This Act may be cited as the Child Day Act.

2. Throughout Canada, in each and every year, the 20th day of November, being the day in the year 1989 when the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted in the United Nations General Assembly, shall be known as "Child Day".

The responsibilities of the federal, provincial and territorial governments to publicize the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child

Convention Article 42 states:

States Parties undertake to make the principles and provisions of the Convention widely known, by appropriate and active means, to adults and children alike.

The governments do next to nothing to fulfill their obligations.

In December 2004, the Senate of Canada Standing Committee on Human Rights finally commended hearings on how to implement the Convention in Canada 15 years after the U.N. ratification of the Convention.

On February 7, 2005, Rita Karakas, CEO of Save the Children Canada, a child-rights organization stated:

"In honour of National Child Day this year, we commissioned an Ipsos-Reid survey of 1,000 adult Canadians on their knowledge of children's rights in Canada and how they rated the Canadian government and governments on their performance in children's rights duties. Regretfully, the respondents failed to demonstrate significant knowledge of children's rights, and those who failed the test also failed the people who were held accountable. They felt that the federal government was not doing its duty in children's rights. "

Rita Karakas, CEO of Save the Children Canada, a child-rights organization stated in the   Toronto Star, Nov. 20, 2004

"....yet most Canadians do not know a great deal about the issues facing children. In fact, this was verified in the results of a new national survey of 1,000 Canadians, conducted Nov. 9 to 11, by Save the Children Canada and Ipsos-Reid. The poll quizzed Canadians on their knowledge of basic children's issues for National Child Day. Unfortunately, the average score was 33 per cent.

How many children live in poverty? Only half of Canadians surveyed knew that 14 per cent or one in six Canadian children live below the poverty line. In fact, Canada has the world's second highest rate of child poverty among industrialized countries, second only to the United States."

What the Government of Canada wants you to believe about Canada on Canada's national "Child Day"

From the Government of Canada website in 2004

This years theme, "A Canada Fit for Children", celebrates Canada's commitment to children. On May 10, 2004, the publication A Canada Fit for Children was released to show how Canada is moving forward with its commitments made on May 10, 2002 at the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Children. It highlights the Canadian governments agenda and National Plan of Action for children in Canada.

Celebrate Canada's national "Child Day" this year by showing how Canada is fit for children!

The truth

Since the report of The Special Joint Committee on Custody and Access was submitted to the Parliament of Canada, over 1 million children in Canada have been are being deprived of a relationship with 1 parent in violation of a family law court order or separation agreement and in contravention of the child's right to a relationship with both their biological parents as provided for in the U.N. Convention on the Rights of The Child. Parental alienation among Canadian children is rampant.

The Special Joint Committee on Custody and Access, a joint committee of members from both the House of Commons and the Senate held country wide hearings in 1998. Their report "For the sake of the Children" has been virtually ignored by the Liberal government. No meaningful change to family law ever been introduced to Parliament since the report of the Special Joint Committee was submitted to parliament.

See our family law section for details.

Over 3.2 million Canadians are denied their birthright

Over 3.2 million Canadians are denied their birthright, their correct identification on their birth records. The Supreme Court of Canada decision regarding children's identity rights has not been properly implemented or in some provinces never been implemented. See our section on children's identity rights

ALL members of the House of Commons agreed in 1989 to eliminate child poverty by the year 2000. It still hasn't happened.

Child poverty in Canada has increased in many provinces / territories. Food banks use has increased significantly.  In 2006, 400,000 Read More ..ildren are living in poverty than in 1989. see our section on child poverty.  By 2008, Quebec reduced poverty to about 10% of the population and has made significant inroads into child poverty. At a level of 5%, child poverty is considered to be eradicated.

What are rights?

The rights of children and youth are outlined in United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. This document was adopted by the United Nations on November 20, 1989, which is why this date was later chosen to celebrate National Child Day.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child outlines responsibilities of governments, families, and caregivers, as well as the rights of the child. All children and youth have inherent rights, which can be defined as those basic things that are necessary to live and grow with dignity as human beings. For example, children have rights to a supportive family, to provision of adequate food, clothes, housing, and education, to protection from all forms of harm, and to participation.


Family involvement is advocated because children and youth can benefit when responsible adults, such as parents and legal guardians or teachers, both encourage and support the active participation of young people. The Convention on the Rights of the Child emphasizes the importance of adults in providing appropriate direction and guidance that assists children and youth in exercising their rights, in keeping with the child's developing capacities to do so.


The Convention on the Rights of the Child acknowledges the significance of parental authority and guidance of their children, and emphasizes respect for parents and their rights. The Convention on the Rights of the Child states that education should promote children's development of respect for parents as well as their values and cultures, while preparing them for responsible citizenship.

Also, the Convention on the Rights of the Child recognizes the importance of families, who are primarily responsible for the upbringing and appropriate socialization of their children. Accordingly, governments must respect the rights and responsibilities of parents and caregivers, when providing direction and guidance to their children and youth to exercise their rights.

Activities for Canada's national "Child Day"

Computer print a copy of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child and read it to your family.

Computer printer prepared version in PDF 

view/download English Francais

Canada's nations "Child Day" Links

We have many links relating to Canada's national "Child Day".  To got to that section of our links page  click here

Canada's national "Child Day" - Past years

Children changing the world

These young people are making a difference

The Hamilton Spectator, By Lesley Simpson, November 20, 2006

Maddison Babineau, 15, helped build a school in Kenya; and now she's selling jewellery from eBay to build a well there, while battling cancer.

Sabrina Pursley, 11, with sister Faith, raises money for McMaster Children's Hospital.

William Pearson, 17, is refurbishing old computers to give to schools in Zambia.

Kellie Guzzo, 23, started Out of the Heat to feed Hamiltonians in summer.

It's likely not on your calendar, but today is National Child Day. In its honour, we introduce four people who aren't waiting for grown-ups to change the world -- they're doing it themselves.

Meet Maddison Babineau, 15, who is coping with her cancer by selling jewellery from eBay to build a well in Kenya.

Her first wish is already becoming reality -- a school for Kenyan kids is being built on her behalf. Read More ..

Save the Children Canada

Save the Children Canada


National Child Day: In Their Own Words"

Canadian Children Speak Out to Stop Violence in their Lives

Attention: Assignment Editor, City Editor, News Editor

TORONTO, ON, NEWS RELEASE--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 20, 2006) - Violence against children is a daily occurrence for millions of children in every region of the world. As Canadians mark National Child Day (a commemoration of the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child) youth across Canada are speaking out against the pervasive threat of violence that denies them their basic rights. Read More ..

UN logo

Universal Children's Day

The U.N. General Assembly recommended in 1954 resolution 836(IX) that all countries institute a Universal Children's Day, to be observed as a day of worldwide fraternity and understanding between children and of activity promoting the welfare of the world's children. It suggested to governments that the Day be observed on the date which each considers appropriate.

The date of 20 November marks the day in which the Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, in 1959, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, in 1989.

The Government of Canada in 1993 designated November 20th as "Child Day".

Let's put Child Day on the map

Canadians must stand up for rights of children

By Rita Karakas, CEO of Save the Children Canada, a child-rights organization. Nov. 20, 2004

Can you tell me what day is Nov. 20? It must be one of our nation's most guarded secrets. Nov. 20 is National Child Day in Canada.

Internationally, it marks the signing of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child on Nov. 20, 1989. Nationally, it provides a forum for Canadians to focus on children's rights. Read More ..

UN Convention on The Rights of the Child (UNCRC)

Embassy Diplomacy This Week magazine logo

U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child -

Signed, Sealed But Not Delivered

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child popular, but hard to enforce

April 13th, 2005

The construction of a legal framework required to fully satisfy obligations under a United Nations convention to protect children will be an ongoing process in Canada, Justice Minister Irwin Cotler told the Senate Human Rights Committee on Monday.

Mr. Cotler said that each new law or regulation passed by Parliament will continue to obey the rules of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, as with all international norms. However, he stopped short of endorsing complete compliance with each one of the Convention's elements, some of which have provoked controversy since its UN approval over 15 years ago.

Government of Newfoundland & Labrador

Ministers celebrate National Child Day, November 20, 2003

John Ottenheimer, Minister of Education, and Elizabeth Marshall, Minister of Health and Community Services, encourage all people throughout Newfoundland and Labrador to take time to recognize National Child Day. This years international theme is A Community Fit for Children. Read More ..

A Quote Worth Remembering

"We must vigilantly stand on guard within our own borders for human rights and fundamental freedoms which are our proud heritage......we cannot take for granted the continuance and maintenance of those rights and freedoms."

John Diefenbaker

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The United Nations Convention on the Rights of The Child

Read The United Nations Convention on the Rights of The Child

See all the documents pertaining to Canada

Read More ..