Municipalités Amies des Enfants
The Municipalités amies des enfants (MAE) (Child Friendly Municipality) initiative in Canada has been active in the French-speaking province of Québec since 2009 and is led by the NGO Espace MUNI in partnership with UNICEF Canada. The aim of the initiative is to assess and recognize the work and achievements of municipalities in equitably fulfilling the rights of children and maintaining a child focus when developing municipal policies, services and governance structures with the participation of children.
In order to be granted MAE recognition, municipalities are required to:
- set up a coordinating committee that includes elected and official local government and community participation;
- develop a situation analysis and responsive action plan including indicators for evaluation (this dossier is assessed by an independent review body);
- undertake a mid-term assessment;
- celebrate World Children’s Day (20 November) and regularly communicate and promote the project locally.
There are two application periods annually, in spring and fall. Recognition is provided by Espace MUNI in collaboration with UNICEF Canada as part of an independent assessment, and is valid for three years. If the municipality wishes to renew the recognition after three years following review of the implementation of its action plan, the application process and a three-year cycle starts again from the beginning.
Since its inception, the initiative has sustained and scaled throughout the province of Québec, with renewal recognition of many communities and the engagement of new communities. In 2023, 85 municipalities and 8 boroughs, including the capital, Quebec City, and the largest city, Montreal, held MAE recognition.
As a result, more than 50 per cent of children in Québec live in a city recognized as a child-friendly municipality.
The initiative has led municipalities to establish child-friendly governance mechanisms and to expand their investment in services and programs including recreation, transportation, public safety, and educational success.
Population: 38 939 575 (2022)
Pop. under 18: 8 million
Director, Policy and Research
Chargé de projet – dossier enfance et reconnaissance MAE