CANADA: Access to justice for children

This report is part of CRIN's access to justice for children project, looking at the status of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in national law, the status of children involved in legal proceedings, the legal means to challenge violations of children’s rights and the practical considerations involved in challenging violations.

Canada ratified the CRC on 13 December 1991, as well as two of its optional protocols: the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict on 7 July 2000 and the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography on 14 September 2005. The CRC is not part of domestic law in Canada and does not take precedence over national law. Children’s legal status differs depending on the province they live in: provinces follow either the common law model adopted by the Ontario province, or the civil law model adopted in Quebec. As a general rule, children’s rights violations can be challenged in most courts throughout the country and children must usually be represented in court by a litigation guardian or a tutor. However in Quebec children can bring certain cases to court on their own. Class actions are available in the whole of the country and legal aid is accessible to indigent litigants. Special provisions are in place in all provinces to deal with children giving evidence.

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Please note that these reports are hosted by CRIN as a resource for Child Rights campaigners, researchers and other interested parties. Unless otherwise stated, they are not the work of CRIN and their inclusion in our database does not necessarily signify endorsement or agreement with their content by CRIN.