Corporal Punishment Repeal

Section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada condones corporal punishment but many organizations would like to repeal this law.

Section 43 states:

“every school teacher, parent or person standing in the place of a parent is justified in using force by way of correction toward a pupil or child, as the case may be, who is under his care, if the force does not exceed what is reasonable under the circumstances.”

Exceptions:

The act does not apply to:
1. Children under two years old and older than 12 years old;
2. Disabled children of any age;
3. The punishment cannot be “degrading, inhumane or harmful”;
4. The usage of objects such as rulers and belts is also forbidden; and the
5. Punishment cannot involve slaps/blows to the head

The Canadian Foundation for Children, Youth and the Law v. Canada case upheld this decision in 2004 in a six to three decision by the judges. Judges also argued that spanking is not a violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms so long as it does not infringe on the child’s security, right to equality and is not cruel and unusual treatment or punishment. Spanking is only to be used in a trifling way as a means to correct behaviour. Thus corporal punishment is not be used to in anger or punishment but only to correct behaviour and help the child learn. However many groups are expressing their concerns regarding this law.

Despite seven failed attempts since 2005 to have this law repealed, these organizations continue to pursue the cause. Corinne’s Quest and additional organizations have the support of the Canadian Bar Association in bringing about this change. Bill – S-206 is also supported by the Canadian Medical Association but has not been passed. Supporters of the bill continue to argue that the long-term affects of corporal punishment are being ignored.

Furthermore, supporters of Bill -206 question how often corporal punishment is used within the legal boundaries. The psychological impact of repeated use of corporal punishment can be damaging to a child’s self-esteem and well-being.

Critics of the current law support their stance against corporal punishment with examples of the long-term effects suffered by Native children after being repeatedly beaten in residential schools. Opponents also argue that corporal punishment is outdated as science has provided parents with different techniques to teach children without the use of corporal punishment.

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Points of Discussion:
1. Do you think the corporal punishment law should be repealed?

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11 comments

  1. I found your post very interesting. I am not a resident of Canda and I had never known there was actually a law about this. While I am not a person who is against spanking as a form of discipline, I can see how this could get out of hand, especially when it comes to people who are not direct caretakers of the child that are administering the punishments. I can also see how this would open the door for lawsuits if the law does not specifically detail what this punishment can and can not be applied to. By that I mean, what would a child do to justify being spanked by their teacher?

    Overall, I would probably agree that this law is something that should be repealed because of the gray areas that this law may not detail.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts! The challenge with law is that it can’t define every incident and in doing so, it allows for loop holes. I believe many parents would use this tactic responsibly but because some fail to do so, it’s not a risk many believe is worth taking. It would be interesting to see how the amendments may result in additional lawsuits for parents. It’s a complex topic for sure.

      I hope to hear more from you in the future!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. When I was a kid, if you got naughty and caught then you got a spanked backside, simple as that, I think a lot of the “lack of respect” for parents and authority in general is because this (as far as I am aware anyway) is no longer allowed in the UK, kids have nothing to “fear”, because they will receive no discipline, because how can you discipline a kids that has been naughty, ground them? Take away their playstation? I am not condoning beating up a kid or anything like that, but if they are naughty and get a slap around the arse then I cannot see the harm in that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had no idea it was illegal in the UK- that’s very interesting! I think a lot of individuals share the same sentiments but then there is a concern about abuse- where do you draw the line? I think most parents who use this technique do so with restrain but the concern is for the parents who take it too far such as using their fists. Nonetheless, for parents who only use corporal punishment for disciplining responsibly, this might seem a bit harsh. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I hope to keep hearing from you!

      Like

      1. I am not sure if it is actually illegal. it is something I heard a long time ago. it wasn’t official and so I cannot say with any degree of accuracy.

        my kids are 18 and 22 so beyond that kind of discipline.

        it wouldn’t surprise me if it was illegal here though, times have changed here since I was a kid I know that.

        it is true in terms of where do you draw the line. but in my mind a smacked arse and a punch to any part of the body are very different.

        As Keanu Reeves once said (I believe in Parenthood) “you need a licence to drive a car but they let anyone be a parent” or something like that.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I will never understand why people can’t use other methods to discipline children. My parents never spanked me, my mom scared me into listening for certain things just by being there and talking to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I believe most social scientists would agree with you based on the research there are effective ways to discipline children without hitting them. A parent I know who doesn’t use corporal punishment to discipline once said ” what do you do once the child isn’t scared of being hit anymore? or when the child is too old to be hit? Verbally rationalizing with a thirteen year old who was once scared of being hit but can longer legally be exposed to that kind of punishment isn’t going to respond well knowing that the worst they can get in a stern talk” That point really stood out for me because when children hit adolescence that’s when they need the most guidance and disciplining because their actions hold much higher consequences.

      Much like you, I used to get a stare from my mom that made me listen but worked most effectively was someone sitting me down and explaining why what I did was wrong.

      Thanks for your thoughts and taking the time to comment! I really appreciate it 🙂 Hope to hear more from you in the future!

      Like

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