UNICEF Report Cards measure child and youth well-being in wealthy countries. Report Card 16 shows that just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada was already worlds apart from other rich countries in providing healthy, happy childhoods for every child. Canada has some of the best economic, environmental and social conditions for growing up, but the poorest outcomes for children and youth.

Report Card 16 Globe Graphic

Download the Summary of Canadian Companion to UNICEF Report Card 16 (2020)
Download Worlds Apart: the Full Canadian Companion to UNICEF Report Card 16 (2020)
Download Worlds of Influence: UNICEF Report Card 16 (2020)

COVID-19 is making childhood even harder for kids in Canada. The pandemic has only heightened concerns about children’s health, development, education, safety, relationships and happiness.

To get better outcomes, Canada needs bolder public policies that protect the right to a childhood, now more than ever.

Being young right now is hard. It feels like we’re constantly being reminded that nobody cares about our futures: not our government, not the generations that came before us and definitely not our political system.

Rayne, age 18

League table of child well-being outcomes


Improving child and youth well-being in Canada is a matter of political will: if governments want to improve the childhoods of Canada’s 8 million children, they have the means to do it.

What will improve childhoods?

  1. BE BOLD: protect children and youth from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and invest more in equalizing public policies that support families and children, including income benefits, early child care and education, school nutrition, parental leave and the Spirit Bear Plan for First Nations children.
  2. LISTEN TO CHILDREN AND YOUTH: start a dialogue to understand their lives, worries and aspirations; involve them in decision-making; and co-design solutions with them. A National Commissioner for Children and Youth and a lower voting age will support their participation.
  3. BE ACCOUNTABLE: set a baseline for parliament and legislatures to measure progress for all children and close inequality gaps; ensure kids are given priority consideration in decisions through child impact assessment; and publish a “children’s budget” that tracks spending on children.

Tell the Prime Minister and the Government of Canada that we’re #WorldsApart in child and youth well-being and that you support the right to a childhood.