Calls to improve health and safety of Canadian children ahead of federal election
Published Tuesday, September 3, 2019 10:14AM MDT
Last Updated Tuesday, September 3, 2019 8:32PM MDT
A child advocacy organization has compiled a list of the top 10 threats to Canadian children and is calling for the creation of an independent commission to ensure the rights and well-being of youth.
On Tuesday, Children First Canada released the 'Top 10 threats to childhood according to Raising Canada: Election 2019'.
- Accidents and preventable injuries
- Child abuse
- Infant mortality
- Food insecurity
"The leading cause of death for kids in Canada is preventable injuries," said Sara Austin, founder of Children First Canada in an interview with CTV Calgary. "It's pretty shocking to think that so many kids in our country are dying from things that we can prevent."
The organization counts motor vehicles crashes involving improperly fastened car seats or booster seats, drownings where children were swimming above their capabilities, and chokings as examples of preventable deaths.
Austin says many Canadians have a misguided view of the nation's global standing when it comes to the wellbeing of children and more can be done to protect Canadian children.
"I think Canadians will be startled and deeply disturbed to hear these stats. Most Canadians have this misconception that this is one of the best places to raise their child. The majority of Canadians rank us as a top five or top 10 country for kids when in fact, we're ranked 25th out of 41 wealthy nations for children's wellbeing. We are far from being a world leading country for kids and we can and should be doing a whole lot better."
Children First Canada is calling for the appointment of an independent federal commission for youth "so there's actually somebody responsible for our children who can lead the way and hold our government accountable", the creation of a pan-Canadian strategy "so that wherever kids grow up in our country, they have access to the equitable standard of living and access to the resources to not only survive but thrive in life", and the installation of a federal children's budget to ensure funding for children has its intended impact.
"Kids represent a quarter of our population and 100 per cent of our future. We know, and research shows, that investment in the early years of life reap huge dividends for us throughout childhood and into adult years. The health and well-being of all Canadians depends on the investments that we make today and so we hope to see our federal government, in the days and weeks and months ahead, put children's issues really at the top of the radar."
The report is available at Children First Canada - Raising Canada 2019