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Religious Tolerance logo

A proposed intrusion on religious freedom in Canada:

A proposal by the federal government
to recriminalize hitting children:

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Concerning Section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada:

Most criminl offences and procedures in Canada are codified in the federal Criminal Code of Canada. 5 As originally written in 1892. Section 43 of the Code limited the use of violence on children, youths, and apprentices:

"It is lawful for every parent, or person in the place of a parent, schoolmaster or master, to use force by way of correction towards any child, pupil or apprentice under his care, provided that such force is reasonable under the circumstances."

Over the years, the Criminal Code was subsequentlu amended to legalize the use of contraceptives, abortion, sexual activity between consenting adults of the same sex, the use of breathalyzer tests on drivers, etc.

As of the end of 2015, Section 43 is essentially unchanged from 1892 except that the references to "masters" and " apprentices" have been deleted. It 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."

Many people regard the most atrocious acts committed in Canada to be the horrendous physical, sexual, emotional, cultural, spiritual, and language abuse suffered by about 150,000 First Nation, Inuit and Métis children Canadian in residential schools. The schools operated from 1876 until 1996 during which as many as 6,000 children died while at the institutions. Abuse was nearly universal. The schools were run by four of Canada's national churches. Between 1986 and 1998, the Anglican Church of Canada, the Presbyterian Church in Canada, and the United Church of Canada -- in that order -- issued formal apologies for their role in the abuse. Over a decade later in 2009, the Roman Catholic Church finally issued what the Assembly of First Nations Leader Phil Fontaine said wasn't an "official apology." 1,2


  • 2015-JUN: Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) is released: The TRC investigated

    Justice Murray Sinclair unveiled the TRC report saying:

    "Canada clearly participated in a period of cultural genocide."

    Some in the audience applauded; others cried. The Commission made 94 recommendations. It remains to be seen how many will be acted upon.

    Recommendation #6 states:

    "We call upon the Government of Canada to repeal Section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada." 3

    This is the part of the code that allows parents, and in some cases, teachers to use corporal punishment in the discipline of children. It 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 under the circumstances."

  • 2015-OCT-20: Federal elections were held. The federal Conservative Party of Canada was defeated, and the Liberal Party of Canada will form the new majority government. One of the planks in the Liberal Party's platform was the implementation of all 94 of the TRC's recommendations. This presumably includes #6 cited above which would affect native and non-native children.

  • 2015-DEC-21: The Federal Liberal Party promises to repeal the "spanking law:" A spokesman for Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould (Liberal) confirmed that the repeal of Section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada will be part of its main pledge to implement all 94 recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. 4

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Canada confronts its dark history of abuse in residential schools," The Guardian, 2015-JUN-06, at:
  2. "A history of residential schools in Canada," CBC News, 2014-JAN-07, at:
  3. "Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action," Truth & Reconciliation Commission, 2015, at:
  4. "Liberal government commits to repealing so-called ‘spanking law'." Toronto Star newspaper, 2015-DEC-22, at:
  5. "Criminal Code (Canada)," Wikipedia, as on 2015-NOV-23, at:

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How you may have arrived here:

Home > Religious info. > Basic > Marriage > Same-sex marriage> same-sex marriage sub-menu > Kentucky > Supreme Court > here

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Copyright © 2015 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Original posting: 2015-JUL-
Latest update : 2015-JUL-
Author: B.A. Robinson

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