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Annual ‘Raising Canada’ report includes urgent calls for action by government

Establish a Federal Commissioner for Children and Youth and develop a National Strategy for Children and Youth.

Young people in North America. Image by Tulane Public Relations - Tides Class Stallings-CC BY 2.0
Young people in North America. Image by Tulane Public Relations - Tides Class Stallings-CC BY 2.0

The sixth annual ‘Raising Canada’ report published by Children First Canada, based on research conducted by the University of Calgary, the University of Toronto and McGill University, has been issued. The report uncovers unsettling findings about the top 10 threats facing children in Canada.

For the first time, the annual Raising Canada report incorporates primary research involving youth and their caregivers. The output is to provide a new perspective on the challenges that have emerged over the past year.

Some key findings include a significant increase in youth depression and self-harm incidents during the pandemic, escalation of child violence, poverty, and racism and a startling 29 percent rise in food insecurity among young Canadians due to the ongoing impact of inflation.

In doing so, the report sheds light on critical issues affecting Canada’s future generation, according to Sara Austin, founder and CEO of Children First Canada.

Austin notes: “This last year kids have experienced unprecedented challenges due to the ‘tripledemic’ of RSV, Influenza and COVID-19, and they continue to bear the brunt of the pandemic with significant impacts to their mental and physical health.”

She adds, tellingly: “There is a persistent myth that Canada is one of the best places in the world to raise kids, but the facts show otherwise.”

Canada ranks 81st among 193 countries on the Global KidsRights Index, down significantly from 48th in 2022 (KidsRights is a campaign organisation that works with children to create a world in which their rights are guaranteed and they are enabled to realize their great potential).

However, there are proactive measures that can be taken to address these trends. For example, the report also emphasizes the urgent need for government action and outlines specific calls to address these concerns.

This is set out in a ‘call for action’ based around three sets of rights:

Lead For and With Kids

Establish a Federal Commissioner for Children and Youth, develop a National Strategy for Children and Youth, and develop a national Data Strategy on the health and well-being of young Canadians.

Invest in Kids

Launch a Catalytic Investment Fund for Children over the next 4 years and publish a Children’s Budget.

Raise Them With Rights

Support child rights education and provide children and youth with a platform to exercise their rights as leaders of today and tomorrow.

“Experts and advocates all agree that a better life for our kids is possible and we’re imploring all levels of government to take action now,” Austin states.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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