Universal Periodic Review – MEDIA BRIEF


Friday, 26 April 2013 (Morning)

(Disclaimer: The following brief is intended for use of the information media and is not an official record. The note provides a brief factual summary of the UPR Working Group meeting with the State under review and does not cover all points addressed. An official summary of the meeting can be found in the Working Group report.)

State under review

Represented by 15-member delegation headed by Ms. Elissa Golberg, Ambassador and Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations at Geneva.


To access national report, compilation of UN information, and summary of stakeholders’ information, visit the Canada page on the UPR website.

Troika *

Philippines, Brazil, Ireland.

Opening statement by State under review

Few points raised in the  opening statement of State under review:
(See full statement on the Canada page on the UPR Extranet)

  • Canada was an open and democratic society characterized by a vibrant civil society, a free media and a dynamic private sector, with strong public institutions, including elected legislatures, responsible executive branches and an independent and impartial judiciary;
  • Canadians were able to exercise their rights without discrimination based on ethnicity, religion, disability, age or sex, including sexual orientation;
  • Canadians were also free to practice the faith of their choice, to associate freely and peacefully, and to express their ideas and opinions; Canadians also enjoy a high standard of economic, social and cultural rights protection;
  • The Canadian Constitution guaranteed such civil and political rights as freedom of religion, expression, association and peaceful assembly; the right to vote and stand for election; mobility rights; the right to life, liberty and security of the person; various rights relating to the legal process; and the right to equality and non-discrimination; 
  • Canada’s Constitution also recognized and affirmed the rights of Aboriginal peoples; the Government’s efforts to renew and strengthen the relationship between Aboriginal peoples and other Canadians were fundamental to reconciliation and to paving the way for the full participation of Aboriginal people in the social, economic and cultural prosperity of Canada;
  • In November 2010, Canada endorsed the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as one more step to build a positive and productive relationship with Aboriginal peoples; in addition, the Canada-First Nations Joint Action Plan, announced in June 2011, will explore new ways to improve the long-term prosperity for First Nations people;
  • Canada was a world leader in the promotion and protection of human rights and the equality between men and women; women in Canada enjoy relatively high rates of employment and labour participation;
  • Canada was committed to continuing to improve the lives of women and girls in the country and was particularly committed to ending all forms of violence against women;
  • The Government of Canada has introduced numerous criminal law reforms to better protect women and all Canadians from violence; addressing violence against Aboriginal women and girls was an important priority.
  • In addition, to address the specific issue of trafficking, the Government of Canada launched its National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking in June 2012; 
  • Canada had an enviable record of human development and social mobility and was continuing to strengthen its comprehensive social protection framework and advance social innovation so that all individuals and communities could reach their full potential;
  • Canada hosted a tenth of resettled refugees in the world; a framework was in place to prevent crime, enforce laws, and fight against terrorism which was accompanied by a rigorous monitoring system, in accordance with national and international human rights obligations.


In total 83 States participated in the dialogue:  34 HRC members and 49 observers  (Statements available on Canada page on the UPR Extranet).

Positive achievements

Positive achievements noted by delegations included, among others:

  • Progress made in upholding the rights of aboriginal peoples and the endorsement of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples;
  • The enactment of the Gender Equality in Indian Registration Act;
  • Accession to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities;
  • The National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking;
  • Efforts taken to combat racial discrimination;
  • Engaging civil society groups and Aboriginal organizations on human rights issues.

Issues and Questions

Issues and questions raised by the Working Group included, among others:

  • Steps to prevent violence against indigenous women;
  • Measures to improve the lives of Aboriginal peoples including access to social services;
  • Efforts to combat discrimination against minority and vulnerable groups;
  • Policies and programmes to address poverty and food insecurity;
  • Measures to fully uphold the rights of the child;
  • Steps to fully respect the rights of asylum seekers and refugees.  


States participating in the dialogue posed a series of recommendations to Canada.  These pertained to the following issues, among others

  • To take further steps to prevent violence against indigenous women and girls and to develop a comprehensive national strategy for addressing such acts;
  • To consider setting up an independent national enquiry into missing indigenous women;
  • To take further legislative and administrative measures to improve the lives of Aboriginal peoples and to ensure access to education for all Aboriginal girls;
  • To ensure parity of funding and services between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities;
  • To ensure the effective implementation of CEDAW and the CERD with particular focus on Aboriginal peoples;
  • To enhance participation of indigenous people in consultations on public policies that affected them; to continue to engage with civil society groups;
  • To continue to combat racial discrimination, including among minority groups, immigrants, people of African descent and Muslims;
  • To remove disparities in the implementation of anti-racism legislation, polices, programmes and best practices;
  • To take measures to address the concern raised by the CRC on the lack of prevention of child sexual exploitation and to consider establishing an office of the ombudsperson for children;
  • To fully recognize the right to safe drinking water and sanitation; to reinforce policies and programmes developed to address poverty, homelessness, food insecurity, health care services and education;
  • To continue to fully respect the rights of asylum seekers and refugees;
  • Ratification of human rights instruments: The Convention on the rights of migrant workers, the OPCAT, the Rome Statute of the ICC, the Convention on enforced disappearances, the OP of the ICESCR, the OP to the CRPD, the 1960 Convention against Discrimination in Education, the 3rd OP on the CRC, and the American Convention on Human Rights. 

Adoption of report of Working Group

The adoption of the report of the UPR Working Group on Canada is scheduled to take place on
Tuesday, 30 April 2013.

The troikas are a group of three States selected through a drawing of lots who serve as rapporteurs and who are charged with preparing the report of the Working Group on the country review with the involvement of the State under review and assistance from the OHCHR. 

Media contact: Rolando Gómez, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9711, rgomez@ohchr.org