Women in Canada have human rights which are set out in a number of international human rights treaties. These treaties were negotiated at the United Nations by governments from all parts of the world, adopted by the UN General Assembly, and then opened for ratification by each country.
These human rights treaties include:
- the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) (1966)
- the International Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights (CESCR) (1966)
- the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) (1965)
- the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) (1979)
The treaties set out the obligations of “States parties”, or nations, to protect, respect, promote and fulfill the human rights of residents. Canada has ratified these key human rights treaties and, having ratified, is legally obligated to fulfill their terms. All governments in Canada ‑ federal, provincial, territorial and municipal – are obliged to take the steps necessary to fulfill the human rights of women.
New treaties and declarations also set out key rights for women. These include:
- the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This Convention was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2006, and Canada ratified it in 2010. Canada’s first review under this treaty occurs in March 2017.
- the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This Declaration was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2007. Canada fully endorsed the Declaration in 2016.