November 20th is National Child Day!


On November 20th, 1989, Canada stood with the members of the United Nations General Assembly and unanimously adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child. By September 2010, 193 countries ratified the Convention, Canada doing so in 1991. It is the most widely ratified human rights treaty in the world. The Convention outlines a government’s responsibility to ensure that every child has the right to survival, healthy development, protection, and participation in matters affecting them. The four general principles of the Convention are:

  • Non discrimination
  • The best interests of the child
  • The right to life, survival and development
  • Respect for the views of the child

There are two Optional Protocols to the Convention:

  • Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict – ratified by Canada in 2000.
  • Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography – ratified by Canada in 2005.

In the early 2000’s, both the United Nations and Canada followed up the Convention with A World Fit for Children and A Canada Fit for Children, respectively. A Canada Fit for Children is the national plan of action for children, taken on to ensure that the guiding principles of the Convention are implemented. This document outlines goals, strategies and opportunities for action on four key priorities within the Convention themes:

  • Supporting families and strengthening communities
  • Promoting healthy lives
  • Protecting children from harm
  • Promoting education and learning

The Public Health Agency of Canada is responsible for coordinating the federal implementation of the Convention in Canada. As a party to the Convention, Canada is required to report on measures taken to ensure continued compliance with the Convention and its Optional Protocols.

National Child Day

To celebrate Canada’s commitment to the Convention, we celebrate National Child Day every year on November 20th. The PHAC website offers a wealth of information and resources to help you do this within your program.

The Information Kit offers Activity Guides for children of various ages to learn about the Convention, colouring sheets, and posters promoting the Convention, and adult and child-friendly backgrounders on the Convention.

The Youth Corner offers similar information to youth 12-18 years old in youth-friendly documents.

There is even an Online Quiz that would be a fun activity for any parent participation program.

Consider celebrating National Child Day in your program this Tuesday, November 20th.