Photo from a recent Feathers of Hope: Culture Identity and Belonging advisory meeting, where young people worked on co-designing a graphic novel that will educate other children and youth about their rights. Feathers of Hope is one of several community development initiatives of the Ontario Child Advocate.
And Also Too is deeply disappointed by the Ontario government’s decision to repeal the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth Act, 2007, which eliminates the office of the Ontario Child Advocate (OCA) and shifts its responsibilities to the provincial Ombudsman.
OCA is a watchdog that advocates for the rights of young people, investigates deaths and serious harm of young people in Ontario’s systems of care, reports on issues of systemic oppression, and facilitates community development dialogues to build the solutions to these problems together.
We have worked alongside OCA since 2011, often directly with young people on community development initiatives. This includes Indigenous youth living in northern fly-in communities, Black youth in foster care, and young people with disabilities. We have seen firsthand the ways in which OCA helps build their capacity to advocate for their own rights and the rights of others. We have witnessed despair transform into hope as young people see that there is someone listening to them and committing to implementing their visions of a safer and more just future.
The dismantling of OCA will severely erode this government’s accountability to young people and is certain to allow abuse and oppression to grow unchecked. Today, on Canada’s National Day of the Child — a day that marks the country’s ratification of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child — we call for an immediate reversal of this repeal.