moved for leave to introduce Bill C-408, an act to amend the Interpretation Act (definition of child).
Madam Speaker, this bill is co-sponsored by my colleague from Mississauga East. It harmonizes all federal government legislation to bring it in line with the December 13, 1991 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
It was agreed at that convention that country members will harmonize all their legislations when dealing with the definition of a child so that a child is defined as anyone under the age of 18.
Currently Canada lacks a uniform legal definition of who is considered a child. This lack of legal definition poses particular difficulties when we try to describe rights and responsibilities of older teenagers, especially those between the ages of 16 and 18.
In Canada inconsistent and often contradictory laws and regulations do not always provide a sufficient basis for a stable and adequate policy toward children. In some cases contradiction can be found in existing legislation. For example, the definition of a child as defined by the Income Tax Act set the upper limit of eligibility for the child tax benefit at age 18. At the same time, under the goods and services tax, a child is considered to be a dependent child until he or she is 19.
In light of Canada's commitment to children, it would seem only logical that we undertake a task of harmonizing all federal legislation dealing with children, in particular by ensuring that our legislation is in conformity with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed.)