School District 40, ‘Corrine’s Quest’ fight to appeal spanking law

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One of the many issues being pushed forward for review following the election of the Trudeau government last month is Canada’s so-called ‘spanking law’ — section 43 of the Criminal Code.

In a landmark case, in a six-to-three decision, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the law in 2004 and the Harper government steadfastly repelled requests to review it.

The Code states, ‘Every schoolteacher, 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 or her care, if the force does not exceed what is reasonable under the circumstances.’

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Section 43 permits an open palm slap on a child’s bottom for discipline, but the court was clear about limitations of the use of force, noting it cannot involve children under two or over twelve years of age, or disabled children of any age.

Further it stated, the force cannot include the use of objects like:

  • belts or rulers
  • involve slaps or blows to the head
  • and cannot be degrading, inhuman or harmful

The BC-based group “Corrine’s Quest” is hoping the Trudeau government will move to ban spanking, with spokesperson Kathy Lynn calling it a human rights issue and arguing spanking is not a form of discipline.

New Westminster School District trustees are on now board and passed a motion last week to write advocacy letters to senior levels of government calling for a nation-wide ban on spanking.

Claiming children need to be protected, Chair Jonina Campbell says District 40 will present a resolution at next April’s BC School Trustees Association AGM.

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