Canadian Parliamentary Deliberation on Canada's Universal Periodic Review Practices

By Craig Forcese

Cross-referencing: Chapter 9, pp.645 et seq.

Canada completed its first "universal periodic review" under the UN Human Rights Council process in October 2009.  The process culminated in a number of recommendations made to Canada by states represented on the "working group" reviewing Canada's human rights record.  These recommendations in turn sparked a report by the House of Commons Sub-Committee on International Human Rights recommending a number of changes in the way that Canada approaches compliance issues in relation to its international human rights obligations. 

Among the recommendations:

 

  • "That the Government of Canada work on a priority basis to improve the system currently in place for monitoring, reporting, implementing and enforcing Canada’s international human rights obligations and that these reforms take place transparently and in consultation with civil society, aboriginal groups, and institutions whether federal, provincial or territorial."

  • "That the Government of Canada table each UPR report concerning Canada’s human rights record and any UN treaty body reports on the same subject in Parliament and that each of these reports be referred to an appropriate parliamentary committee for study."

  • "That the Government of Canada publicly respond to recommendations  received from all UN treaty bodies and human rights review bodies within one year of receiving their reports."

Reduced to their essence, these (and other) recommendations ask for more transparency, more government responsiveness and a greater parliamentary role in responding to compliance issues tied to Canada's international human rights obligations.