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Spanking survives.

The Canadian Foundation for Children, Youth and the Law launched a court challenge of s. 43 of the Criminal Code, which 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 care, if the force does not exceed what is reasonable in the circumstances." The Foundation argued that children's Charter rights to equal treatment under the law, security of the person, and freedom from cruel and unusual punishment were violated by this section. The Ontario Court of Appeal unanimously rejected all their Charter arguments. The judges ruled that s. 43 must be strictly construed, limited to parents and teachers who must closely interact with children, exempts only force that is reasonable in the circumstances, and decriminalizes only non-abusive physical punishment where the intention is to correct, and the child can understand the correction. They noted that the section must be looked at within a twofold broad societal context: that families must be allowed to raise their children as free as possible from government intervention; and that governments, both federal and provincial, provide a framework of laws and educational programs to minimize or eliminate violence towards children. Justice S. Gouge wrote "In summary, the s. 7 issue presented by s. 43 is not about whether physical punishment of children is good or bad. The government has clearly and properly determined that it is bad. Rather, the issue is whether s. 43 infringes the child's security of person in such a way that violates the principles of fundamental justice. The appellant has not demonstrated any such violation."

Canadian Foundation for Children, Youth, and the Law v. Canada (Attorney General) Ontario Court of Appeal January 15, 2002
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Author:Mitchell, Teresa
Date:Apr 1, 2002
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