Spanking may be a thing of the past in Canada. The Liberal Government has announced that it intends to enforce all of the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
One of the 96 recommendations is to remove Section 43 of the Canadian Criminal Code. This controversial section allows teachers and parents to use reasonable force under the circumstances to discipline children.
Section 43 of the Criminal Code reads as follows:
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 care, if the force does not exceed what is reasonable under the circumstances.
This so-called ‘Spanking Law’ was reviewed by the Supreme Court in 2004 – and upheld.
More than 40 countries worldwide have banned the physical punishment of children, including Sweden and New Zealand.
A Global News poll with 14,527 responses shows 58.79 per cent (8,540 votes) believe spanking should be illegal, while 41.21 per cent (5,987 votes) believe it should not be illegal.
Dr. Gerald Robert Farthing at the University of Saskatchewan has been a child development psychologist for decades and says that while he doesn’t think teachers should be able to punish children physically, parents under the right circumstances should.
“For me I think the context is very important,” Farthing said. “If we have a loving parent relationship where along with it comes the instruction or the training or the talking, then spanking as a resource along the line can be a very effective strategy.”
It’s a divisive topic and there’s still a ways to go. In order to remove the Section 43 of the Criminal Code a bill will need to be presented and passed in Parliament.