TRC recommendations revoke Canada’s ‘spanking laws,’ protect children from unwanted physical force

By @pathakmishra on
Playing children
Children play with the gifts they got for the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha from well-wishers of a local muslim community in Hanau, Germany September 24, 2015. Reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has jotted down recommendations which the Canadian government of liberals have agreed to adopt to repeal the spanking law.

By agreeing to the TRC recommendations, the federal liberal government has put a stop to the legislation that allowed parents to use physical force on their children. The 94 “calls to action” mentioned by the commission emerged as a result of the six-year inquiry and survey at residential schools relating to abusing children.

Among the recommendation was the one that called for the revocation of Section 43 of the Criminal Code. According to which, parents and teachers possess the right to use “reasonable force” to discipline children. The law, also known as “Spanking Law,” reads:

“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.”

The spanking law was upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada in 2004 after six out of nine judges favoured it. They believed that it would not violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms as parents, guardians and teachers would be free to use force to correct a child’s behaviour. However, seeing the effect of using force on children nowadays, the TRC published a final report saying there was no need for such a law in schools and homes anymore.

“At this point, we cannot speculate on potential legislative or policy approaches to address this issue. However, the government is committed to implementing all of the 94 calls to action,” CBC News Canada quoted Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould’s spokesperson, Christian Girouard, as saying.

He added that the commission’s recommendations have revived discussions on the issue once again. “If we hit a child, we’re hitting creation and that’s something that’s just not on. That is something that is not a traditional teaching or a traditional practice,” he concluded.

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