UNICEF Canada statement on the passing of Nunavut Bill 40 to create a Representative for Children and Youth
TORONTO, 18 September 2013 – Yesterday, Nunavut’s Bill 40 received Assent by Commissioner Edna Elias to create a Representative for Children and Youth for the territory.
UNICEF Canada applauds the Government of Nunavut’s efforts to advance the well-being of children.
The independent Representative for Children and Youth will work to ensure that the rights and interests of children and youth are recognized and protected and that their views are heard and considered in the actions of the Government.
Among many positive aspects of the Representative for Children and Youth Act, this legislation:
- Outlines a comprehensive mandate directed at protecting and promoting the rights of all children and youth in Nunavut in all government actions.
- Includes repeated references to recognizing and applying both Inuit culture and Inuit societal values.
- The areas of jurisdiction of the Representative for Children and Youth would include all government departments and additional designated authorities that are prescribed by regulation.
The new Act recognizes that Inuit societal values will inform a holistic understanding of the best interests of children and youth within healthy families and build on the strengths of Inuit families and communities. Among the seven Inuit societal values set out in the proposed legislation is Tunnganarniq, which is described as “fostering good spirit by being open, welcoming and inclusive.” This value would require the Representative to, among other things, ensure that government considers the views and best interests of children and youth in all government decisions concerning them.
In many respects, this legislation can serve as a model for other jurisdictions in Canada and worldwide. This Bill will benefit the children and youth of Nunavut for generations to come as it simultaneously advances universal children’s rights and is culturally-sensitive to Inuit societal values.
Ultimately, the passage of Bill 40 will contribute to the well-being of Nunavut’s children and youth.
UNICEF has saved more children’s lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more.
UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries – more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive.