Universal Periodic Review

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Introduction

The Universal Periodic Review is a peer-review process before the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Under the Universal Periodic Review, the human rights record of each country is reviewed by other United Nations Member States. This provides an opportunity for countries to discuss their domestic human rights framework as well as measures taken to promote and protect human rights in their country.

The Universal Periodic Review process includes five steps:

  • The submission of a national report by the country under review;
  • An appearance before the Universal Periodic Review Working Group of the Human Rights Council, at which time other countries ask questions and make recommendations to the country under review;
  • The adoption of the Working Group report that includes a summary of the discussion and the recommendations made by other countries;
  • The submission of an official response on the recommendations that indicates which recommendations the country under review accepts, and which it does not accept; and
  • The adoption of the outcome of the review by the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Learn more about the Universal Periodic Review process.

Canada and the Universal Periodic Review

Canada is a major proponent of the Universal Periodic Review and contributed significantly to the elaboration of the process. Canada has been actively participating in the review of other countries and has encouraged countries to participate in an open, transparent and cooperative manner.

Canada participates in the Universal Periodic Review as part of its ongoing efforts to ensure the promotion and protection of human rights at home and abroad. The Universal Periodic Review provides an opportunity for Canada to assess its human rights situation. This includes identifying strengths and recognizing challenges where improvements are needed.

Documents related to Canada's Universal Periodic Review cycles can be found on the Universal Periodic Review section of the United Nations website.

Canada's Universal Periodic Review cycles

Canada's third Universal Periodic Review

Canada's third cycle Universal Periodic Review documentation

Submission of national report: March 9, 2018
Appearance before Universal Periodic Review Working Group: May 11, 2018
Canada's response to the recommendations: August 2018
Number of countries that participated at the appearance: 107
Number of recommendations made to Canada: 275
Number of recommendations accepted by Canada: (to be determined)

More about Canada's third Universal Periodic Review

Canada's national report under its third Universal Periodic Review is based on the recommendations from the previous cycle as well as other priority issues, including with regard to Indigenous Peoples, the promotion of gender equality and social development initiatives.

The report was prepared in close collaboration with federal departments and provincial and territorial governments through the Continuing Committee of Officials on Human Rights.

More than 280 civil society organizations and Indigenous groups were consulted on a draft outline of Canada's report. The draft report was shared with National Indigenous Organizations and other Indigenous groups, the Canadian Human Rights Commission, and civil society organizations. A summary of the views that were received are appended to the final report.

Following Canada's appearance, the Universal Periodic Review Working Group issued its report, which includes the 275 recommendations made to Canada by other countries. The recommendations focused on a range of issues, including the situation of Indigenous Peoples, racism, xenophobia and non-discrimination, gender equality and violence against women and girls, and Canada's accession to international human rights instruments that it has not yet ratified.

In formulating their recommendations, other countries considered Canada's national report; recent recommendations from United Nations human rights bodies, such as those received from committees of independent experts (treaty bodies) and United Nations Special Procedures; and information from other stakeholders, including national human rights institutions, civil society organizations and Indigenous groups.

In August 2018, Canada will submit its written response to the recommendations to the United Nations. Canada's response will indicate which recommendations it accepts, and which it does not.

Civil society organizations and Indigenous groups are invited to provide feedback, by e-mail, on the recommendations made to Canada by July 20, 2018. The views that are provided will help inform Canada's response to the recommendations.

Canada's second Universal Periodic Review

Canada's second cycle Universal Periodic Review documentation

Submission of National Report: February 8, 2013
Appearance before Universal Periodic Review Working Group: April 26, 2013
Canada's response to the recommendations: September 16, 2013
Number of countries that participated at the appearance: 82
Number of recommendations made to Canada: 162
Number of recommendations accepted by Canada: 121

More about Canada's second Universal Periodic Review

Canada's national report under its second Universal Periodic Review focusses on measures that relate to the recommendations and voluntary commitments Canada accepted during its first Universal Periodic Review in 2009.

Domestic stakeholders for Canada's second Universal Periodic Review, including the Canadian Human Rights Commission, non-governmental organizations and Indigenous groups, submitted 48 reports to the United Nations.

Following Canada's appearance, the Universal Periodic Review Working Group issued its report, which included the 162 recommendations Canada received from other countries. The recommendations focused primarily on issues related to the ratification and implementation of international human rights treaties; Indigenous Peoples; violence against women and girls; national security and public safety; poverty, homelessness and food security; racial and religious discrimination; and the situation of vulnerable groups, including women, children, persons with disabilities, older persons, and immigrants and refugees.

Canada's response to the recommendations was prepared in close collaboration with federal departments and provincial and territorial governments and was informed by views expressed by civil society and Indigenous groups throughout the Universal Periodic Review process.

Canada's first Universal Periodic Review

Canada's first cycle Universal Periodic Review documentation

Submission of National Report: January 5, 2009
Appearance before Universal Periodic Review Working Group: February 3, 2009
Canada's response to the recommendations: June 2009
Number of countries that participated at the appearance: 45
Number of recommendations made to Canada: 68
Number of recommendation accepted by Canada: 54

More about Canada's first Universal Periodic Review

The report provided an overview of the framework for the promotion and protection of human rights in Canada, as well as related policies and programs, including socio-economic issues, Indigenous issues, women's rights, immigration, and anti-discrimination initiatives.

The Canadian Human Rights Commission, non-governmental organizations and Indigenous groups submitted 50 reports to the United Nations in relation to Canada's national report under its first Universal Periodic Review.

The recommendations that Canada received from other countries covered a number of topics, including reducing inequality for disadvantaged groups; Indigenous issues; poverty and homelessness; violence against women; and racism and discrimination.

Canada's response to the recommendations was prepared in close collaboration with federal departments and provincial and territorial governments in accordance with United Nations guidelines. In addition to the accepted recommendations, Canada also made nine additional voluntary commitments that complemented the accepted recommendations.

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