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June 23, 2000
(Municipal and Provincial Affairs)

Minister pleased with release of National Childrenís Agenda Report

Joan Marie Aylward, Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, today expressed her satisfaction with the release of a report on public consultations on a national vision for Canada's children.

The report, entitled "Public Dialogue on the National Children's Agenda - Developing a Shared Vision", was issued on June 21 on behalf of the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Council on Social Policy Renewal. The council is co-chaired by Tim Sale, Manitoba's Minister of Family Services and Housing, and Jane Stewart, federal minister responsible for Human Resources Development Canada. Minister Aylward is a member of the council and a former co-chair. Minister Aylward is hosting a meeting of the council in St. Johnís today.

A year ago, Canadians were asked to reflect on a vision for our children, to reflect our beliefs and commitment to their well being. The vision, values and goals set out in the report form the core of the National Children's Agenda, an agenda which will aim to inspire all Canadians to put children front and centre.

"This report reflects the views of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, and people from across the country," said Minister Aylward. "It is clear that improving programming support to children and families is a priority for Canadians."

"The provinceís Strategic Social Plan, the first of its kind in Canada, and its Social Audit component, are consistent with the directions of the National Childrenís Agenda," Minister Aylward noted.

The public dialogue on the National Children's Agenda included roundtable discussion, focus groups and individual feedback. The five national Aboriginal organizations significantly contributed to the dialogue process, as did many non-government organizations and children and youth service agencies. St. Johnís was the site of the Atlantic Canada consultation.

Minister Aylward noted her support for moving forward with other governments on new childrenís initiatives, such as Early Childhood Development. She also noted the continued support for existing programs like the National Childrenís Benefit, in which Newfoundland and Labrador has invested $10.15 million annually since 1997-98. Governments are continuing their ongoing efforts to monitor the progress of Canada's children and to share effective approaches to improved child well-being. She noted she is looking forward to continuing her discussions with her council colleagues on the National Childrenís Agenda at todayís meeting.

Minister Aylward noted that premiers and territorial leaders have identified children's issues as a top priority for action. She also noted that Premier Tobin and his counterparts continue to unanimously advocate the need for the full and immediate restoration of $4.2 billion to the Canada Health and Social Transfer (CHST) to return it to 1994-1995 levels, plus adoption of an appropriate escalator. The restoration and adoption of an escalator are viewed as essential to strengthening the front-line social programs delivered by provinces and territories.

The Public Report: Public Dialogue on the National Children's Agenda - Developing a Shared Vision, is available on the Internet at

Media contact: Glenn Bruce, Communications, (709) 729-1983.

2000 06 23                         11:00 a.m.

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