National Child Day is celebrated in Canada on November 20 in recognition of our country’s commitment to upholding the rights of children and two historic events: the 1959 signing of the UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child and the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child sets out the rights of children with 54 articles that provide us with a solid road map of what is needed to raise healthy and happy children and youth.
This year’s theme is The Right to Survive and Thrive. This comes from Article 6 of the UNCRC and means that every child has the right not only to be alive, but to have access to what they need to develop to the fullest extent possible. You are welcome to use this theme in planning your own National Child Day celebrations, or to choose a different right or theme if it fits better with your needs!
The UNCRC is the most comprehensive treaty in support of children was signed and ratified by more nations than any other human rights document in history, attesting to its global significance and the underlying universal values it upholds.
The founding principles of the Convention include:
Acting in the best interests of the child.
Genuinely considering the views of the child in all decision-making that affects them.
Ensuring children have the right to primary consideration in all economic, social, and political decisions, policies, programs, and expenditures that impact upon them.
There are many reasons to celebrate children, but most of all because children deserve to be recognized as important members of our community.
All children have the right to an adequate standard of living, health care and to play.
All children have the right to express their views about things that affect them and to participate in communities, programs and services.
All children have the right to be protected from abuse, neglect, exploitation and discrimination.
Many children in Alberta do not have the basics – affordable housing or quality childcare, for example. As a province rich in children, it’s important for Albertans to recognize National Child Day. As a community, we are able to have the most direct positive impact on the lives of children. National Child Day is an opportunity we can not afford to miss to engage our community as a whole about these key issues and their implications.