On November 20, 1989, the International Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted by almost all the countries in the world at a General Assembly of the United Nations. The Convention requires the countries that signed it to protect and defend the rights of children.
Canada: a signatory since 1990
Canada signed this international treaty in May 1990. By signing the treaty, the Canadian government recognized that children under 18 have their own specific rights. Canada and its provinces, including Quebec, undertook to pass laws and establish policies to protect children’s rights.
Examples of how Quebec protects children
Going to school
Children must go to school starting at age six. They must normally stay in school until the end of the school year in which they turn 16.
Working is ok, but not at all costs!
Children are allowed to work, but if they’re under 14 they need their parents’ permission. Also, work must never interfere with school if the child is of school age. Therefore, the law says that a child can’t work during regular school hours and at night.
Right to live in a safe and healthy environment
In Quebec, the Director of Youth Protection (DYP) becomes involved when a child’s safety or development is at risk, for example, because of sexual, physical or psychological abuse, or due to negligence. Anyone who is concerned about a child can report the situation to the DYP. The DYP will decide whether to take action concerning the child and which measures are appropriate for the child and her family.