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Across Canada

Equitas builds children and youth’s skills to be leaders in the promotion of inclusion, equality, acceptance and respect for diversity. 

Since 2004, children and youth have been taking part in Equitas activities across Canada. 

Our work with children and youth is grounded in the use of a child rights-based approach. Through our work in Canada, we have: 

  • Reached more than 1 220 000 children and youth in 54 communities 
  • Implemented programs in more than 550 summer camps, classrooms and after-school programs 
  • Ensured that children and youth who are sometimes excluded because of gender, race, religion, ability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, socioeconomic or immigration status have access to programs that support their active participation in communities. 

Children and youth are essential to building inclusive and equitable communities

Children and youth who are aware of their rights are better able to think critically about the impact of their behaviors, problem solve, and take action to promote greater respect and inclusion in their classrooms, playgrounds and communities. When equipped with skills and knowledge, they can take on leadership roles on issues that are important to them and can engage community members and decision-makers in dialogue to ensure greater promotion and protection of everyone’s human rights. 

How do we promote children and youth participation in building inclusive and equitable communities?

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1. Capacity-Building for Organizations

Equitas provides practical training for community-based organizations, municipalities, and schools focused on how to use a children’s rights-based approach to make programs and practices more inclusive and accessible to all children and youth. Each year over 30 organizations across Canada take part in training based on our educational tools Building Inclusive Communities and Speaking Rights. We also work with diverse organizations to collaboratively build strategies and good practises for supporting children and youth to engage in their communities.

‘The methods suggested by Equitas make it possible to make the rights issues digestible for children, and to integrate it through play and through the interests of youth in the projects.’

– Equitas Program training participant

2. Creating Spaces for Community Dialogue and Engaging Decision-Makers

Equitas creates spaces for collaboration during training, workshops, and community dialogues where diverse groups can come together and exchange ideas and solutions for making communities more equitable and inclusive. Children and youth are active in these spaces, and use their voices to engage community members. Activities like municipal Children’s Charters and Shaking the Movers provide opportunities for young people to share their recommendations with decision makers.

“We are here, and we are advocating on behalf of all youth who are experiencing bullying and racism… we are letting the community know that this is happening in [our community], not only to youth but to everyone.”

– Participant in Alberta

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 3. Community Action Projects (CAPs)

Communities Action Projects (CAPs) are created by children and youth across Canada within our Speaking Rights program and with use of the Speaking Rights Toolkit and Building Inclusive Communities Guide. Each year over 400 young people collaborate with Equitas to initiate their CAPs on issues that matter to them. As children and youth create their own CAP, they build life and leadership skills, and become active members of their community, raising awareness, shifting attitudes and behaviors, and engaging decision-makers to help make communities across Canada more respectful and inclusive. 

You can read our zine Young People at the Heart of Change that presents 39 Community Action Projects (CAPs) carried out by 39 groups of young people accross the country during 2021. The projects are grouped into 4 different themes and presented through art and storytelling.

Click the links if you want to: learn more about CAPs and see CAPs from previous years

Our Educational Approach

Our educational approach is grounded in an intersectional and children’s rights-based approach (CRBA) and the belief that every human being, by virtue of being human, is a holder of rights and that all human brings should have equal opportunities to realize their full potential. CRBA promotes non-discrimination and equality and gives particular attention to young people who face the most barriers to participation.
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Building Inclusive communities

The Building Inclusive Communities Guide is a human rights education tool designed to engage diverse young people in actions aimed at building inclusive and rights-respecting communities, using a children’s rights-based approach (CRBA).  It complements the work of children and youth-serving organizations across Canada to contribute to inclusive and rights-respecting communities, by providing guidance on how to integrate a child rights-based approach into their work. Learn more here. 

Speaking Rights

Speaking Rights is a human rights education tool that aims at developing the capacity of youth to engage in actions that support respect for human rights. Through participatory activities and Community Action Projects (CAPs), youth are increasing their understanding of human rights and human rights values (such as equality, respect) and building life skills (such as self-awareness, critical thinking, empathy). 

Speakingrights.ca is a platform that enables youth participating in our programs to share the impacts of their Community Action Projects and create content online. 

Speaking Rights - An Equitas Program

Recognition

Equitas’ award-winning programs have been recognized through: 

  • British Columbia Multicultural Award (2016) for building welcoming and inclusive communities in B.C. and across Canada. 
  • Tri-Cities award (2015) for helping to make child and youth friendly communities. 
  • The Quebec Human Rights Commission Rights and Freedoms Prize (2014) for its work with children and youth. 
  • The Trailblazer award (2014) from the Canadian Coalition for the Rights of the Child. 
  • The Canadian Race Relations Foundation’s Award of Excellence (2012) for engaging youth through Speaking Rights in the fight against inequality, exclusion and racism. 
  • The Prix de la citoyenneté Anne-Greenup (2009) recognizing exceptional efforts in addressing racism in Québec. 
  • And as best practices in: “A Compendium of Good Practice: Human Rights Education in the School Systems of Europe, Central Asia and North America” by the Council of Europe, OSCE ODIHR, UN OHCHR and UNESCO and the Good Ideas in Integration on the Cities in Migration website. 

Our partners

Equitas works with more than 300 community partners in Canada who are collaborating actively with us to shape social change in their communities. 

To learn more about our funding partners, please visit our Partners page

INFORMATION

If you are interested in learning more about our educational approach, training opportunities or how to establish a partnership with us, please email us at canada@equitas.org. 

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