Tell your MP to support the repeal of section 43 of the Criminal Code
Children deserve the very best start in life. The right to physical security through legal protection from assault and threats of assault is the most fundamental of all human rights. Every single child in Canada should have the care and opportunities that they need to succeed and thrive – without exception. Indigenous children and young people have the right to culture, language and to be raised in their own communities – all of which are vital to overall well-being.
We are seeking Canadians' support for the Private Member’s Bill C-273, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (Corinne’s Quest and the protection of children). C-273 calls for the repeal Section 43 of the Criminal Code that permits physical punishment of children in Canada:
Section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada, Correction of child by force, 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.
MP Julian tabling Bill C-273 in Parliament
IN THE HOUSE - Tabling of Bill C-273, Corinne's Quest - for the protection of Children
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - NDP BILL TO PROHIBIT CORPORAL PUNISHMENT AGAINST CHILDREN IN CANADA
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE NDP calls on Liberals to outlaw the physical punishment of children in Canada
View the press conference on CPAC.ca | Headline Politics | NDP MP Peter Julian Calls for Banning Corporal Punishment – December 8, 2022
Canada has the obligation and duty under international law to respect, protect and fulfill human rights, labour and environmental norms and laws. The United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC 1989), ratified or acceded to by 196 states, the World Report on Violence against Children (2006), and the TRC’s Calls to Action (2015) all call for an end to the legal justification of corporal punishment of children.
It is still legal in Canada for parents and legal representatives, teachers and caregivers — including babysitters and foster parents, to physically assault their children under certain circumstances. Parents can use « reasonable force » for purposes of correction. Teachers can also use « reasonable force » depending on the context. It is the judge that has the last word in deciding whether the use of force is acceptable.
Canada committed to implementing the 94 calls to action of the Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC), with the goal of remedying the legacy of residential schools and advancing reconciliation. By implementing the United Nations Declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action and supporting self-determination, the federal government would make sure that all First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children, young people and families are treated with the justice, respect and care that they deserve.
A vital part of reconciliation is fully acknowledging the horror and harm caused to Indigenous children, their families and communities by the residential school system. These institutions systemically removed children from their families and inflicted abuse, sickness and death. The continuing revelations of thousands of mass and unmarked graves at residential school sites across the country underlines the depth of the horrible atrocities that were done to these children, that this genocidal policy inflicted for more than 160 years.
As the former TRC Commissioner Murray Sinclair stated recently: “Survivors led us to this moment on the journey of reconciliation, while they have been on their own personal journeys of healing.”
In order to redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation, TRC Call to Action No. 6 calls for the repeal of Section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada—a section in effect since Canada's first Criminal Code in 1892, that legally defends the use of corporal punishment by adults, teachers and caregivers — including babysitters and foster parents, as an appropriate and necessary way to correct a child’s behaviour.
In 1991, Canada ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), Article 19 articles 19, 28(2) and 37 which mandates the protection of children from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse. In response to reports from Canada regarding the action it has taken to meet the requirements of the Convention, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has twice recommended that Canada prohibit corporal punishment of children in schools and families be prohibited; in 2003, the Committee informed Canada’s government that it was ‘deeply concerned’ that Canada has taken no action to remove s. 43 from the Criminal Code.
The time of half-measures is over. More than ever, it is time for Canada to act now and quickly to completely implement all 94 TRC calls to action and advance reconciliation.
Bill C-273 will ensure that children and youth are safer under the law of Canada. We call on all Parliamentarians to support the clear measures in this bill and put an immediate end to the corporal punishment of all children in Canada. We urge MPs to commit to taking meaningful action in the fight to protect children and their right from being harmed by their parents and legal representatives by supporting Bill C-273.