Statement by Minister Fantino: International Day of Families 2013

May 15, 2013

Today marks International Day of Families, a yearly celebration that reflects the importance of family and provides us with an opportunity to increase our awareness of the challenges that continue to affect families around the world. This year’s theme of Advancing social integration and intergenerational solidarity highlights how the strength and well-being of families can enhance development as a whole.

All too often in developing countries, poverty, entrenched gender roles, and discrimination prevent family members, including grandparents, parents, children and grandchildren, from accessing the services or opportunities they need to thrive and succeed. Women and girls are particularly affected by these barriers, frequently having even less access than their male family members to resources, education, and decision making. Violence within the family also remains a pervasive problem, and the risk for maternal mortality is three times higher for abused mothers.

Canada recognizes the importance of family well-being to sustainable development. The Government of Canada works to address hunger and malnutrition among the world’s most vulnerable people. We also promote sustainable economic growth as a key way to reduce poverty. By helping to improve child survival, maternal health, and access to education, Canada is securing the future of children and youth. In Haiti, for instance, the Government of Canada, in partnership with International Child Care Canada, has supported the training of 140 traditional birth attendants in maternal health services, which helped approximately 500 infants and their mothers, 1,500 children, and 1,600 pregnant women receive essential micronutrient supplements.

From my family to yours, I wish you a safe and happy International Day of Families. Today and every day, cherish the time you spend with your loved ones.

Julian Fantino
Minister of International Cooperation