Engagement Strategy on Canada’s International Human Rights Reporting Process
On this page
- List of acronyms and abbreviations
- Foundational principles
- Annex A
List of acronyms and abbreviations
- Continuing Committee of Officials on Human Rights
- Federal, provincial and territorial
- Senior Officials Committee Responsible for Human Rights
- United Nations
- Universal Periodic Review
Canada is a party to several international human rights treaties adopted by the United Nations (UN).Footnote 2 Implementation of these treaties is supported by measures taken by federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) governments. FPT governments participate in the reporting processes, including the preparation and submission of reports on measures taken by FPT governments to support implementation of Canada’s human rights treaty obligations and appearances before international human rights bodies.
FPT governments also actively participate in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process of the UN. The UPR process includes the preparation and submission of a report on Canada’s human rights implementation, appearances before a working group of the UN Human Rights Council and the submission of a response on the recommendations that Canada receives from other UN Member States.
The Continuing Committee of Officials on Human Rights (CCOHR) is a FPT committee that maintains consultation and collaboration among governments in Canada with respect to adherence to and domestic implementation of international human rights instruments. Its mandate includes facilitating Canada’s international human rights reporting.
The CCOHR is composed of representatives from FPT governments. It is co-chaired by a representative of the federal government and a representative of a provincial or territorial government. The CCOHR is overseen and guided by the FPT Senior Officials Committee Responsible for Human Rights (SOCHR). The SOCHR enhances high level FPT collaboration and information sharing by advising and supporting FPT ministers responsible for human rights, providing leadership on Canada’s adherence to and implementation of international human rights instruments, and giving direction and support to the CCOHR.
Since 2000, some international mechanisms and bodies have called on Canada to develop tools to meet its international human rights obligations in a more effective and coordinated manner. Various Indigenous and civil society groups in Canada have reiterated these calls to action, as well as the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights.
During the December 2017 meeting of FPT Ministers responsible for human rights, Ministers modernized the mandate of the CCOHR, giving it responsibility for engaging with civil society and Indigenous organizations on matters related to international human rights reporting and instruments. The ministers also tasked the CCOHR with developing an engagement strategy on Canada’s international human rights reporting process.
The Engagement Strategy describes an approach that CCOHR takes to inform the public and strengthen dialogue with individuals and groups interested in the protection and promotion of human rights in Canada. It is focused on providing opportunities to solicit views in relation to Canada’s international human rights reporting, including on recommendations received from international human rights bodies. While the views received may inform the development of policies and programs of FPT governments, the present Engagement Strategy does not replace or supersede the engagement activities of respective governments.
It aims to:
- Foster a better understanding of FPT measures undertaken that support implementation of Canada’s international human rights treaties; and
- Foster communication and collaboration to contribute to the enhancement of the protection and promotion of human rights in Canada.
The Engagement Strategy complements the CCOHR’s Protocol for Follow-up to Recommendations from International Human Rights Bodies.
This Strategy applies to engagement undertaken by the CCOHR as part of the international human rights reporting process.
The Strategy is aimed at individuals and groups interested in Canada's international human rights commitments, including:
- Representatives of civil society, including non-governmental organizations and researchers;
- Independent bodies such as human rights commissions and ombudspersons; and
- Indigenous representatives and groups.
The Strategy is implemented in accordance with the following principles:
- Transparency and accountability: It promotes a proactive dissemination and sharing of information that takes into account the principles of good governance.
- Inclusion and accessibility: It encourages the participation and dissemination of accessible information to the broadest range of interested individuals and groups as possible.
- Collaboration: It establishes a collaborative approach with civil society and Indigenous representatives and groups, while allowing CCOHR members to take into account their unique challenges, capacities and priorities.
- Sustainability: It considers the current needs and resources as well as those that will be required in the future for the implementation of the Strategy in the long-term.
- Autonomy: FPT governments determine their involvement in the Strategy and engagement activities, including undertaking additional activities, as they deem appropriate, in accordance with their own jurisdictional priorities.
SOCHR approves, within the CCOHR multi year workplan, actions that address the commitments outlined in this Strategy and any other matters deemed necessary. The actions may include in-person sessions, solicitation of written input on various elements of the reporting process, and expert panels or other educational events.
Information sharing and enhanced awareness
- Enhances public knowledge and awareness, through appropriate mechanisms, of international human rights treaties and Canada’s international human rights reporting.
- Makes available the list of the CCOHR and SOCHR members;
- Maintains an up-to-date list of civil society representatives, government partners and Indigenous representatives and groups to facilitate information sharing and the inclusion of participants in engagement activities;
- Provides a calendar of upcoming activities, including CCOHR engagement activities and key dates for reporting, reviews and appearances;
- Reports back after engagement activities to participants and to relevant government officials;
- Provides documents produced by international bodies through, inter alia, the reporting process and special procedures (lists of issues for Canadian reports and appearances, recommendations, reports, etc.); and
- Provides documents to explain Canada's international human rights obligations and the various stages of the reporting process.
- Provides opportunities for individuals and groups to participate, and share their expertise on issues related to international human rights treaties and Canada’s international human rights reporting.
- Provides opportunities for engagement with civil society organizations and Indigenous groups at various steps of the reporting process, including:
- During the preparation of Canada’s reports;
- Prior to Canada’s appearances; and
- On the recommendations that Canada receives from international human rights bodies.
Monitoring and follow-up
- Seeks and tracks feedback from civil society, and Indigenous representatives and groups on past engagement activities and on future planned and potential engagement opportunities; and
- Shares information on the achievements and challenges in implementing the strategy at the annual meeting of the CCOHR and, if appropriate, with the SOCHR.
- Monitors the implementation of the Engagement Strategy; and
- Ensures that the implementation of the Strategy is on the agenda of FPT meetings of ministers responsible for human rights when appropriate.
The CCOHR may make changes to the Strategy that they deem necessary and appropriate with the approval of SOCHR. The revised document will be shared with the individuals and groups concerned.
|International Human Rights Treaties to which Canada is a State Party||Respective United Nations Treaty Bodies|
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), accession in 1976
|Human Rights Committee|
|International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), accession in 1976;||Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights|
|International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), ratification in 1970||Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination|
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), ratification in 1981
|Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women|
|Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), ratification in 1987||Committee against Torture|
Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), ratification in 1991
|Committee on the Rights of the Child|
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), ratification in 2010
|Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities|
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