UPR 44 Canada Submission - Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights, Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic, Justice for Migrant Workers (J4MW), YWCA Hamilton, The Community Research Platform at McMaster University, and the SRI

This report examines gaps in Canada’s obligation to respect, protect, and fulfil the right to abortion. Abortion is a decriminalized healthcare procedure and is enshrined in numerous human rights instruments and ratified conventions. Despite this, many people in Canada face barriers when seeking abortion services and some are ultimately unable to access care.

These barriers do not fall equally and are magnified for those who experience marginalization rooted in systemic racism, classism, ableism, and heterosexism, thus engaging the right to non-discrimination based on race, national and social origin, and other statuses. Set within this context, this report outlines generalized barriers and focuses on two areas: a) the impact of precarious migration status and resulting barriers to abortion access and b) the multiple and intersecting barriers faced by people experiencing homelessness.

Despite some advances, efforts to address unequal access have been inadequate. The gaps outlined in this report represent incomplete fulfillment of previous UPR recommendations and non-compliance with international human rights law.                                                                                        

The submitting organizations recommend a pillared approach to address these inequities through 1) a sustained commitment to a well-resourced sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) sector, 2) targeted measures to eliminate barriers and facilitate low-barrier care, and 3) a broader framework for health equity grounded in human rights.