October 31, 2006 12:00 ET

National UNICEF Day and Successful Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF Campaign Celebrated on Parliament Hill

Ben Mulroney speaks about his first UNICEF trip to Malawi

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Oct. 31, 2006) -

Editors Note: A photo for this release will be available on the CP picture wire via CCNMatthews.

Ben Mulroney, UNICEF Canada National Ambassador, celebrated National UNICEF Day on Parliament Hill today, surrounded by dozens of children giddily sporting the latest Halloween costume fashions and their new Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF candy collection bags.

The event highlighted this year's outstanding and creative Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF fundraising activities initiated by students across the country. Mulroney, just off the plane from his first UNICEF trip to Malawi, spoke passionately about how effectively the funds raised by Canadians each year are put to work to improve children's lives. Minister of International Cooperation and Minister for La Francophonie and Official Languages, The Honourable Josee Verner, UNICEF Canada President & CEO Nigel Fisher, and school children from the national Capital Region also gathered at the event to celebrate the 51-year tradition of connecting Canadians to the world's children at Halloween.

Ben Mulroney and Nigel Fisher returned Sunday from a week-long trip to Malawi, where Mulroney spent time with children, mothers, families, teachers, health professionals, community workers and UNICEF officials to learn, first-hand, about the national programmes and hands-on local initiatives that UNICEF supports. "My trip to Malawi allowed me to see first hand the role UNICEF plays in empowering local communities and individuals to improve the lives of their children," explains Mulroney. "After seeing up-close UNICEF's work to help the children in Malawi, I understand the role the organization plays in empowering local communities and individuals to improve the lives of their children" explains Mulroney. "At times it was overwhelming to see the challenges that children face but at the same time it was inspiring to see the difference that teachers and health workers and parents and children themselves are making with the help of UNICEF and, in fact, with the support of Canadians through the Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF campaign. I know why today is National UNICEF Day. Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF is a tradition to be very proud of - because I know it results in better lives for children."

Proclaimed in 2000 by the Federal Government, National UNICEF Day is celebrated on October 31st in recognition of the support that generations of Canadians have given and continue to give to the Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF campaign. The fundraising target for the 2006 Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF campaign is $5.7 million and Canadians who have traditionally made their donations on Halloween night are urged to go on-line to www.unicef.ca/tot to continue their practice of helping children overseas at Halloween. Schools will be submitting their funds raised in the coming weeks. Thousands of Canadian children will ensure the ongoing presence of the great tradition on the streets tonight as they collect candy in their Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF bags, demonstrating the fundraising contributions they have made in recent weeks to help children overseas.

"The new Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF campaign has been hugely successful this year because we have empowered Canadian children in thousands of schools across Canada to help children in their own creative ways," says Nigel Fisher, President & CEO, UNICEF Canada. "Children have been more fully engaged as global citizens through the new Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF campaign as they learn about global issues from their teachers and from UNICEF Canada's national team of dynamic speakers who visited Canadian classrooms during the month of October."

"Canada is proud of the work it does with UNICEF. By working together, we have achieved excellent results--such as saving more than 2 million lives over six years through vitamin A distribution programs," said Minister Verner. "We must continue to work hard to engage young Canadians, to channel their energy and enthusiasm to make a positive difference in the lives of children around the world."

Educating Canadians about the work they are supporting is a focus in this year's campaign. To help teach students, every participating school was sent a DVD outlining the new fundraising programme and UNICEF 's work worldwide. And, this year, more than any other year, UNICEF Canada provided schools with guest speakers who visited classrooms and schools to tell students about children in developing countries such as Malawi.

Creative activities that children initiated to raise funds for UNICEF Canada included a Toy Exchange and Sale; an Africa Camp Out in a school gymnasium which included African inspired decorations and African food; Halloween dances; a walkathon representing the walk that many African children take to find water; Hot Chocolate Fridays; a Family Photo Night; an Art Show and Sale; Seven Days for UNICEF which included a daily educational and fundraising event for one week; and Movie Days.

Based on experience from the past 50 years as the organizer of one of Canada's oldest school fundraising traditions, UNICEF Canada redesigned the Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF campaign in consultation with schools across Canada. UNICEF Canada's Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF campaign is recognized as part of the Canadian Halloween tradition and the renewed programme will continue to inspire and engage Canadians. And, this year, more than ever, Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF encouraged adults to participate with the addition of Click-or-Treat, a fun, on-line fundraising platform and the UNICEF Dare-to-Wear Costume Challenge for the workplace or any group wanting to get into the Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF Halloween spirit.

UNICEF's work worldwide

UNICEF is the world's leader for children, working in 156 countries and territories to save, protect and enhance the lives of girls and boys. UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, promotes quality basic education, protects children from violence, exploitation and AIDS, and is the world's largest provider of vaccines for developing nations. A global leader in emergencies with six decades of on-the-ground experience, UNICEF saves and rebuilds children's lives in natural disasters and conflict. UNICEF is funded entirely by voluntary contributions from individuals, businesses, foundations, schools, associations and governments.

NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: Photos of today's event and the UNICEF Canada trip to Malawi by Ben Mulroney and UNICEF Canada President and CEO, Nigel Fisher are available upon request.

Contact Information

  • Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF Canada
    Kathleen Powderley
    Communications Consultant
    (416) 699-5665
    Cellular: (416) 803-5597
    UNICEF Quebec
    Muriel Jaouich
    Responsable des communications
    Telephone cellulaire: (514) 585-1717