Canada joins United Nations Open-ended Working Group on Ageing’s Informal Cross-Regional Core Group

News release

March 6, 2023              Gatineau, Quebec              Employment and Social Development Canada

The Honourable Kamal Khera, Canada’s Minister of Seniors, announced today that Canada has joined the United Nations (UN) Open-ended Working Group on Ageing’s (OEWGA) Informal Cross-Regional Core Group.

Led by Argentina, the Core Group aims to ensure the UN and its Member States continue to advance the rights of older persons, considering the existing international framework of the human rights of older persons and identifying possible gaps and how best to address them.

The Government of Canada takes every opportunity to advocate for the rights and well-being of older individuals both in Canada and abroad.

Joining the Core Group reinforces Canada’s commitment to working with Member States and civil society to advance common principles on ageing and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to promote and protect human rights for everyone. Canada has a long tradition of defending human rights and this year marks 75 years since Canadian human rights expert John Peters Humphrey worked with representatives from around the world to draft the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

This work is more important than ever following the devastating impact that the COVID-19 pandemic had on older persons.  The most recent census confirms that people aged 85 and older are one of the fastest-growing age groups in Canada; and that over the next 25 years, this age group could triple to almost 2.5 million individuals.

The Government of Canada remains committed to support older persons as they age. In Canada, older persons are protected by a robust legal framework, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Canadian Human Rights Act, and provincial and territorial human rights codes, all of which prohibit discrimination based upon age. In a rapidly ageing global context, Canada acknowledges the need to promote the rights of older persons so that they can fully contribute in social, economic, cultural and political life without discrimination.

Quotes

“Joining the Informal cross-regional Core Group is an excellent opportunity to work with international partners to continue to promote the rights of older persons. Canada can contribute to this conversation and by working together, we can help our societies become more inclusive and better able to serve older persons while protecting their rights and dignity.”

– Minister of Seniors, Kamal Khera

“Canada strongly supports the promotion and protection of the human rights of older persons, and we are pleased to join the Core Group.  This group is an extension of our commitment to the important work of the UN’s Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing to promote, protect and advance the rights of older persons.”

– Minister of Foreign Affairs, Melanie Joly 

Quick facts

  • The 13th Session of the UN OEWGA will take place from April 3 – 6 in New York. The 13th Session will focus on the right to health and access to health services and social inclusion. 

  • In 2010, the UN General Assembly established the OEWGA to consider measures or instruments needed to strengthen the protection of the rights of older persons.

  • The OEWGA strives to ensure that older persons are given space and weight in the human rights agenda by considering measures or instruments needed to strengthen the protection of the human rights of older persons.

  • Canada actively engages in the annual OEWGA sessions and its work. Canada served on the OEWGA Bureau for the 12th session, where Minister Khera delivered Canada’s national statement. 

  • During the last OEWGA session in April 2022, an informal, Argentina-led cross-regional Core Group was created. The main aim of the Core Group is to ensure the UN and its Member States continue to advance the human rights of older persons, including by considering the establishment of a process to identify and address possible gaps in the international human rights system for older persons. 

  • The Core Group currently has 16 members: Argentina, Austria, Bangladesh, Canada, Chile, El Salvador, Germany, Italy, Morocco, the Philippines, Slovakia, Slovenia, Türkiye, the United Kingdom, the United States and Uruguay. 

  • Today’s announcement also supports Canada’s commitment to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by the UN with attention to progress on promoting and protecting human rights for everyone – including older persons. 

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Contacts

For media enquiries, please contact:

Alisson Lévesque
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Seniors, Kamal Khera
alisson.levesque@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
819-994-5559
media@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca
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