HRC 55: Joint statement to Canada's UPR adoption

Published on March 25, 2024

Action Canada makes this statement on behalf of five organizations working across issues of gender and sexual rights, housing, and migrant justice1.

We welcome Canada’s acceptance of recommendations on sexual and reproductive health, including equal access to abortion. The functional denial of sexual and reproductive rights is connected to the denial of other rights, including the rights to health, non-discrimination, education, and freedom from violence.  We are disappointed Canada did not fully accept several recommendations in support of broader health equity, particularly on access to services for undocumented people.

These recommendations are critical as abortion access in Canada remains profoundly unequal. Access barriers are  intertwined with a legacy of ongoing colonialism and are amplified by racism, classism, and ableism. Inadequate housing and precarious immigration status, and resultant stigmatization and criminalization, represent a particularly acute barrier to the fulfillment of both the right to abortion and to safe and healthy pregnancies and family life.

We regret that Canada did not receive recommendations on a comprehensive regularization program granting full and permanent immigration status to all, and call on Canada to deliver on this promise.

We are dismayed at Canada’s noting of recommendations with important implications for sexual and reproductive health and rights throughout the world, most notably in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Canada’s conduct and rhetoric in this regard deeply challenges its credibility in all matters of human rights.

Canada’s compliance with its obligations must be universally consistent, requiring realignment of positions and actions that run counter to a human rights based approach. We affirm that all systems of oppression mutually uphold one another, and that sexual and reproductive rights cannot be fulfilled in siloes, or for some and not for all. 

1 This statement is made by Action Canada on behalf of Justice for Migrant Workers, YWCA Hamilton, the McMaster University Community Research Platform, and the Sexual Rights Initiative.