Children are Canada's strength, today and in the future. That's why federal, provincial and territorial governments are committed to working with Canadians to create a National Children's Agenda*.
We need to work towards a shared vision of what we want for our children. We need common concepts of our priorities for children and our collective responsibilities toward our youngest citizens. Most of all, we need to find a way to put our vision and values into words, and our words into action.
The publication, A National Children's Agenda - Developing a Shared Vision, is an invitation to think about children. Canadians are invited to imagine a society that values children for who they are, and that provides opportunities for every child to achieve his or her full potential.
VISION: What do we want for our children?
VALUES: What do we believe about our children?
GOALS: What do we hope to achieve?
What can we do to meet our goals?
1. Support the role of parents and strengthen families, because they play the primary role in children's lives.
2. Enhance early childhood development because the first few years are important for children's lifelong abilities, health and well-being.
3. Improve economic security for families to help maximize child well-being.
4. Provide early and continuous learning experiences, so that children become lifelong learners.
5. Foster strong adolescent development by giving youth opportunities, skills and a sense of belonging.
6. Create supportive, safe and violence-free communities where children can thrive.
How will we measure success?
We need better information about children's development and well-being in order to do our best for them. Communities, Aboriginal peoples, researchers, individual Canadians and governments can work together to find ways to track the progress of all girls and boys, and to use this knowledge as a beacon to guide our efforts.
We also want to find better ways of sharing information on successful initiatives, to make sure we're really putting our knowledge to work. A National Children's Agenda will allow us to improve the lives of Canada's children, today and in the future.
Governments* will be sitting down with key partners to encourage dialogue about the vision, values, goals and areas for action proposed for the National Children's Agenda. The purpose of the dialogue is to develop a strong vision for children by building common ground on what we as Canadians want for our children. At the end of the dialogue process, governments will incorporate the views of Canadians into a vision document and report back so that the vision can guide all of our efforts to improve the lives of Canada's children.
All Canadians are welcome to provide governments with their views on the National Children's Agenda. There are several ways to send in their comments: in writing, to National Children's Agenda, 10th Floor, 280 Albert Street, Ottawa, Ontario, K1P 5G8.
Written comments can also be submitted through the National Children's Agenda Web site at www.children-enfants.org.
Canadians can also provide their views by calling 1-800-361-6392. The operators at this number can also provide information on public dialogue opportunities related to the National Children's Agenda in the provinces and territories.
*The Government of Quebec agrees with the objectives of the National Children's Agenda. However, the Government of Quebec has decided not to participate in its development because it wishes to assume full control over programs aimed at families and children within its territory. Furthermore, the Government of Quebec has not signed the Social Union framework agreement. Consequently, any references to joint federal-provincial-territorial positions in this text do not include Quebec.