They do not have to be earned, they cannot be taken away and they apply to everyone equally. Throughout the world these are known as human rights, and they have been laid out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
All human rights laws apply equally to children and adults. Children and youth also have specific rights to protect them from discrimination or other threats that might make them vulnerable. Canada ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1991. This means Canada has acknowledged the value of children’s rights and is committed to upholding these rights. Canada and Canadians have an obligation to ensure that these rights are met.
The document is very important because it makes it clear that children have rights and individual identities, and that they may sometimes be in need of protection. It also makes it clear that children and youth have the fundamental right to be seen and heard in the decision-making processes that impact their lives. More information can be found on the UNICEF site in their “For Youth” section.
If you have a caseworker and are receiving designated services, you also have procedural rights under the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act. If you would like to speak to an advocate about your rights, please call us.
Some children and youth living outside of their family home (in kinship care, foster care, group care) have a unique set of rights because the government is responsible for their care and well-being. Child and Family Services may have the legal responsibility to act as their guardian and make decisions in their best interest.
If you have a caseworker and are receiving services you should know about your special rights. If you need help with your rights, including having your voice heard, an advocate can help you — please call our office!
At some point in your life, you may come into contact with police or the justice system. If that happens, you also have certain rights that are guaranteed through the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other laws. If you have more questions, or would like the support of an advocate, just call us.
If you are an Indigenous young person, you have unique rights. This means that you get to keep your identity and participate in cultural activities even if you are living away from your parents or are in custody. In addition to the rights mentioned above under the UNCRC, you are also protected under the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People.
If you have a caseworker and are receiving designated services, you also have rights under the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act. If you would like to speak about your rights with one of our Indigenous Engagement consultants or an advocate, please call us.