Topic outline

  • Modules on

    Multicoloured title - Children's Rights

    This series of children's rights modules are designed to be used as part of a course or for self-study.They introduce students to key issues, questions and debates in Children’s Rights scholarship and research. The modules are organized around the three categories of rights in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN CRC): protection, provision and participation rights. Given the interdisciplinary focus of each module in the series, each one can potentially be utilized within a wide range of courses, programs and institutions. 

    What makes these modules unique is that they feature the Hon. Landon Pearson, who shares her insights and experience as the former “Children’s Senator” and one of Canada’s foremost advocates on children’s rights. Materials used in the modules are drawn from Pearson’s extensive collection of books, documents, and reports on children’s rights comprising over 10,000 documents amassed over her career that now reside at the Landon Pearson Resource Centre for the Study of Childhood and Children's Rights (LPRC) at Carleton University.

 8:30-16:30 (EST)


  • Module 1: Children's Rights in a Canadian Context

    This module introduces the Hon. Landon Pearson to students and familiarizes them with her work on behalf of children while she served in the Senate of Canada from 1994 - 2005. Landon Pearson shares her views and experiences regarding the emergence of children’s rights discourse, Canada’s participation in ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and initiatives that she launched while in Senate to assist Canada in meeting its obligations to children in view of this international treaty.  While the module is not intended to be a primer on children’s rights per se, it does include introductory materials on key concepts, debates and issues that are important for understanding children’s rights. The main aim of the module is to locate children’s rights in an historical and political context and to sketch the legal framework for children’s rights. 

  • Module 2: Championing Children’s Rights in Canada

    Thirty-five years ago, the Canadian Commission of the International Year of the Child recommended that Canada create an Office of the Federal Children’s Commissioner. It would be one piece of the architecture necessary for a continual focus on children and young people in Canada. To date, this goal has not been realized.

    In this module, Landon Pearson explores the various ways she has been involved in setting up an architecture for children’s rights in Canada through her work as a Senator in the Canadian Senate, in her role as the Vice-Chairperson of the Canadian Commission of the International Year of the Child as well as in her other capacities. She offers her insights into how the idea of an architecture for children’s rights has evolved since 1979 and probes some of the tensions and obstacles preventing the realization of this goal to establish a Children’s Commissioner, despite many efforts to carve out a space for championing children’s rights at the Federal level in Canada.

    • Read the different perspectives on establishing a Children's Commissioner. Post your brief comments on the debate regarding the necessity and efficacy of such an Office (200 words maximum):

      • Unicef Canada Blog Post by Lisa Wolff, May 3, 2012 (Link)

      • Attawapiskat Shows Us Its Time for a Children’s Commissioner. (Link
      • Reader comments on MP Marc Garneau’s site. Mr. Garneau introduced two private member bills in Parliament since 2009 (Bill C-420 defeated December 2012) proposing a children’s commissioner. (Link)
      • MP Irwin Cotler introduces Bill C-701 in Parliament June 2015. (Link)

      Click 'Add a new discussion topic' to post your contribution.

  • Module 3: Exploitation and Children’s Rights

    The United Nations’ definition of sexual exploitation is “any actual or attempted abuse of a position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust for sexual purposes [and] not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the sexual exploitation of another.”

    In this module, we will examine the broad concept of exploitation and the role that Canada has played in addressing this issue in the lives of children and young people.


  • Module 4: Understanding a Rights Based Approach to Children’s Lives

    A rights-based approach takes as a starting point the view that children are active participating citizens engaged in making meaning for their own social lives. In this module, Landon Pearson explores the idea of a rights-based approach and how it applies to children’s lives.

  • Module 5: Children’s Rights and Participation

    What does it mean to participate? Who can participate? In this module, Landon Pearson discusses these and other questions in emphasizing the importance of child participation in different contexts. The module explores with students the meaning of the concept of participation and some of the interdisciplinary debates on children’s participation rights it raises.

    • This forum is for students to discuss issues raised in Module 5.

      Click 'Add a new discussion topic' to post your contribution.