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Group asks court to strike down spanking law

CBC News (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) - June 6, 2003

OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada began hearing arguments Friday in a case that could decide whether parents have the right to spank their children.

The Canadian Foundation for Children, Youth and the Law is asking the court to strike down a century-old statute that allows parents and teachers to use physical force while disciplining children.

Lawyers for the organization say the law violates the Charter of Rights because it infringes on children's security of person.

Reasonable force
Section 43 of the Criminal Code was passed in 1892 and has been amended several times.

It says caregivers cannot be prosecuted for assault if they use reasonable force when disciplining children.

Lawyers for the Justice Department are arguing in favour of retaining the law.

The department says while it does not advocate spanking, parents need to have some freedom in deciding how to raise their children.

The same group challenged the spanking law before, but in January 2002 the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld the statute.