Archive for the 'Childhood and Family in Canada' Category

Canada’s Problematic Record on Children’s Rights

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Canada signed the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on May 28, 1990 and ratified in 1991.  With ratification a nation becomes legally bound to the tenets within. So how is Canada doing? Not so well, as it turns out. A year ago, a UN committee designed to track Canada’s progress over 10 years found that recent legislation, particularly the “tough on crime” approach to youth offenders, is a step backward for child rights. The committee also expressed concern about the over-representation of black and Aboriginal youth in the criminal justice system, reporting that “Aboriginal youth are more likely to be jailed than graduate from high school”  (CBC Oct 10, 2012). The report covered many areas of children’s rights, including the inclusion of children with disabilities in regular classrooms and the potential for over-medication in children with mental health concerns, for which they recommend close monitoring. Lack of affordable childcare is also addressed.

These concerns are echoed by the Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children (CCRC), who wrote to the Government of Canada after the release of the report to request “a commitment to publicly release its plan to act on the recommendations” of the committee before National Child Day 2013. One year later, that day has come and gone, with no plan of action, no official response.

Two books published by WLU Press have looked at children’s rights from a variety of perspectives. Edited by Katherine Covell and R. Brian Howe, Executive Director and Director, respectively, of the Cape Breton University Children’s Rights Centre, The Challenge of Children’s Rights for Canada (2001) and A Question of Commitment: Children’s Rights in Canada (2007) examine the continuing problems of child poverty, child care, child protection, youth justice, and the suppression of children’s voices. They challenge us to move from seeing children as parental property to seeing children as independent bearers of rights. The contributors contend that Canada has wavered in its commitment to the rights of children and is ambivalent in the political culture about the principle of children’s rights. A Question of Commitment expands the scope of The Challenge of Children’s Rights for Canada, by including the voices of specialists in particular fields of children’s rights, such as disability, immigration and refugee status, and Indigenous children.

If we take a look at the dates related to children’s rights, starting with the signing of the Convention, continuing through follow-up reports and published articles and books, we see that the issue has been examined many times between the signing date of 1990 and the present time. Why has so little progress been made, and why, in fact, does it seem that Canada is backsliding on its commitments? In its response to the report by the United Nations, Canada accepted 122 of the 162 recommendations, but here’s the catch: They believe that policies and practices already in place address the concerns. According to a report from the CCRC, “there are no new actions or commitments, despite evidence of lapses in the protection of Canada’s children and clear opportunities to improve their well-being.”

How many reports need to be written, how many books published, before our nation’s children have the rights in practice that they were given legally over twenty years ago?

Congress 2012

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

For the next week, the talk is all about the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. Please drop by and visit us at our booth if you’re in town for Congress and check out some of these new titles. We offer a 20% discount for all titles purchased using the Congress order form.


Cold War Comforts: Canadian Women, Child Safety, and Global InsecurityTarah Brookfield

$39.95 Paper, 270 pp.



Canadian Social Policy: Issues and Perspectives5th Edition

Anne Westhues and Brian Wharf, editors

$52.95 Paper, 456 pp.



The Daughter’s Way: Canadian Women’s Paternal ElegiesTanis MacDonald

$85.00 Hardcover, 350 pp.



Borrowed Tongues: Life Writing, Migration, and TranslationEva C. Karpinski

$39.95 Paper, 282 pp.


  Listening Up, Writing Down, and Looking BeyondInterfaces of the Oral, Written, and Visual

Susan Gingell and Wendy Roy, editors

$85.00 Hardcover, 388 pp.


  Crosstalk: Canadian and Global Imaginaries in DialogueDiana Brydon and Marta Dvořák, editors

$85.00 Hardcover, 330 pp.


WLU Press Author Veronica Strong-Boag Wins 2012 Prestigious Canada Prize

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

Wilfrid Laurier University Press is pleased to announce that Veronica Strong-Boag has won the 2012 Canada Prize (Social Sciences) for her book Fostering Nation? Canada Confronts Its History of Childhood Disadvantage (WLU Press, 2011). Considered a “benchmark for outstanding scholarly work,” the Canada Prize, worth $2,500 in each category, is awarded annually by the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences (CFHSS).

Fostering Nation? is also shortlisted for the Sir John A. Macdonald Prize, awarded by the Canadian Historical Association for the non-fiction work of Canadian history judged to have made the most significant contribution to an understanding of the Canadian past. The winner will be announced at the Congress of Humanities and Social Sciences, which is being hosted jointly by Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo from May 26-June 2, 2012.

Fostering Nation? breaks new ground in the history of social welfare and the family. By offering the first-ever comprehensive look at how Canada cared for marginalized youngsters between the nineteenth and twenty-first centuries, it tells heart-breaking stories that were the reality for children in foster care, and serves as a reminder that children’s welfare cannot be divorced from that of their parents.

Veronica Strong-Boag is a professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and of Educational Studies at the University of British Columbia. Her previous awards include the Sir John A. Macdonald Prize in Canadian History and, with Carole Gerson, the Raymond Klibansky Prize in the Humanities

International Human Rights Day

Friday, December 10th, 2010

December 10 marks the anniversary of the signing in 1948 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Since that time there have been a number of conventions attached, including the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, ratified in Canada in early 2010.

In 1989 Canada signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. In two books Katherine Covell and R. Brian Howe discuss how Canada has (or, more accurately, has not) kept their commitments to our nation’s children, reminding us that the obligation does not end with the signing but continues through ratification and implementation of recommendations into policy and practice.

A Question of Commitment

A Question of Commitment: Children’s Rights in Canada

R. Brian Howe and Katherine Covell, editors

Studies in Childhood and Family in Canada

“Each chapter provides not only an evaluation of Canada’s commitment but also an interpretation of how the standards articulated in the CRC [United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child] might be applied to particular areas of policy and practice…. It should be noted that the book contains a copy of the CRC, allowing for convenient consideration of the specific articles and wording referred to by chapter authors… [The book] demonstrates how rights-based policy and practice with children is complicated by issues of family privace, historical precedent, cultural differences, government organization, and economic conditions.”

— Megan Nordquest Schwallie, University of Chicago, Ethics and Social Welfare

The Challenge of Children’s Rights for Canada

Katherine Covell and R. Brian Howe

Studies in Childhood and Family in Canada

Shortlisted for the 2001 Canadian Policy Research Outstanding Research Contribution Award
Shortlisted for the 2001 Donald Smiley Prize

“Covell and Howe present a comprehensive, well-researched critique of Canada’s implementation of the UN Convention. They highlight the consequences of not recognizing, and making allowances for children’s rights. They use statistical and anecdotal evidence to directly link many prevalent social problems to the current state of children’s rights….This illumination of the problems, accompanied by a strategy for change, makes this book both timely and necessary.”

— Dan Kolenick, Saskatchewan Law Review

Depicting Canada’s Children

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

Today at Concordia University in Montreal, a launch was held for Depicting Canada’s Children, a gorgeous new hardcover book edited by Loren Lerner, a critical analysis of the visual representation of Canadian children from the seventeenth century to the present. Below I have embedded a slide show that features the table of contents and some of the many colour images of the book. This slideshow gives a sneak peek into a book that is a must-have for every library. Why not suggest it to your librarian today?
Depicting Canada’s Children