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Understanding Canada’s Lack of Progress in Implementing the un Convention on the Rights of the Child

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The Intergovernmental Dynamics of Children’s Policy Making in Canada

This article reviews the un Committee on the Rights of the Child’s 2012 concluding observations regarding Canada’s progress in implementing the un Convention on the Rights of the Child. It examines the un Committee’s criticisms about the pace of Canada’s progress, and examines in particular the Committee’s claim that the main problems in implementing the Convention are intergovernmental. It concurs with the Committee’s diagnosis of the problem as one of coordination, which manifests particularly in areas of law and policy where provincial governments maintain jurisdictional authority but the federal government maintains the greater fiscal levers. The article analyses the possibilities of resolving these children’s rights and public policy challenges, drawing on two illustrative cases: efforts to expand early childhood education programmes in Canada and efforts to improve Aboriginal education, particularly on reserves.

Affiliations: 1: Associate Professor of Political Science and School of Public Policy and Governance, University of Toronto, Canada,


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