Toronto's Vision for Children

'Regardless of the socio-economic status of his/her family and community, every child has the right to childhood experiences which promote the chances of developing into a healthy, well-adjusted and productive adult.'   Adopted by Toronto City Council, 1999

The City’s Strategy for Children

The City’s Children’s Strategy is based on the belief that society shares with families responsibility for their children and therefore that efforts to improve children’s well-being are legitimately part of the City’s public service agenda. It is also generally well recognized that all families will likely require some measure of public support during their children’s developmental years. The City’s Children’s Strategy recognizes that a universal albeit scaled municipal response to this need is required.

The key components of Toronto’s Children’s Strategy may be summarized as follows:

  1. The City demands a holistic as opposed to a sectoral or program response to issues affecting children’s well-being.
  2. The City sets aggressive but achievable annual benchmarks to secure progress towards desired outcomes for children.
  3. The City demonstrates public accountability for improvement in children’s well-being bypublishing an annual report card on the state of this City’s children.
  4. The City promotes both equity of access and responsive service approaches to children through integrated service planning at the neighborhood level.
  5. The City’s plans and investments in children are actively informed and supported by the most current theory and research.
  6. The City promotes innovation and aggressively pursues improvements in policy and programs based on best practices.
  7. The City uses its influence and resource base to broaden commitment for a children’s agenda and lever contribution from other government and community partners.
  8. The City builds and strengthens local community partnerships and negotiates the fullest and most prudent use of shared community resources.
  9. The City actively focuses media attention on children’s issues and advocates publicly for needed change.
  10. The City highlights and celebrates achievements in the children’s services field and uses each incremental success to help achieve its broader vision for children.

Adopted by Toronto City Council, November 1999

Toronto Children's Charter

Children, like other human beings, are entitled to fundamental rights and freedoms but because of their unique vulnerability, it is incumbent upon adults to ensure not only that children are safe from exploitation and neglect, but that they have access to a fair share of the society's resources. While parents have the primary responsibility for their children's care and upbringing, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child makes it clear that governments have a duty to help families fulfil their responsibilities and to protect the rights of children. The Toronto Children’s Charter situates the provisions of the Convention in a local context.

  • All Toronto children shall be entitled to a standard of living adequate to ensure healthy physical, intellectual,emotional, and social development, well-being, and a good quality of life.
  • All Toronto children shall be entitled to adequate nutrition on a consistent basis.
  • All Toronto children shall be entitled to be housed in dwellings that reflect the normal standard of their community.
  • All Toronto children shall be entitled to spend sufficient time with their families throughout their childhood.
  • All Toronto children shall be entitled, if their parents so choose, to participate in high quality child care/early education programs designed to meet the best interests of the child.
  • All Toronto children shall be entitled to participate in recreational and leisure activities, in the form of play, creative expression, and skill development opportunities.
  • All Toronto children shall be entitled to receive primary, secondary and higher education to enable them to reach their full potential.
  • All Toronto children shall be entitled to the highest attainable level of health and the assurance that the resources necessary to ensure life-long good health are available.
  • All Toronto children have the right to be served by governments which acknowledge their responsibility to improve the health and well-being of children and work cooperatively to ensure adequate and equitable funding for children’s programs.
  • All Toronto children have the right to be protected from physical, psychological and sexual abuse both in and out of the home.

The foregoing rights shall apply to all Toronto children without discrimination according to race, colour, sex, sexual orientation, ability/disability, ethnic origin, language, region, property or class, religion, or any other distinction. This may entail the use of affirmative action or equity programs in order to redress situations of special individual, community or regional disadvantage.

February 1999

Back to: Planning