Dear Prime Minister:
The Supreme Court of Canada’s recent decision on section 43 of the Criminal Code allows physical punishment of children between two and 12 years of age.
While the decision limits the punishment of children, it sends a message that physical punishment is acceptable. This undermines efforts to educate everyone about the problems that result from punitive force. The majority decision only protects some children. In dissenting opinions, Supreme Court Justices concluded that section 43 violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
An October 2003 national survey by Decima Research shows majority support among Canadians for repealing section 43. The survey shows this support would grow substantially if guidelines were in place to prevent unnecessary prosecutions; support is stronger again if education were provided on the harms of physical punishment. Repealing section 43 will send a clear message that Canadian children have the right to protection from assault. It will send a clear message that your government does not condone spanking and hitting of children, and it will strengthen education promoting positive, non-violent methods of discipline.
We, the co-signing organizations, therefore call on your government to:
- Repeal section 43 of the Criminal Code.
- Recommend that provincial Attorneys General develop guidelines to prevent unnecessary prosecutions.
- Implement a national education campaign on positive discipline.
Aisling Discoveries Child and Family Centre
Alliance for Children and Youth of Waterloo Region
Association des centres jeunesse du Québec
Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario
British Columbia Institute Against Family Violence
British Columbia Pediatric Society
Canadian Association for Community Living
Canadian Association of Family Resource Programs
Canadian Association of Social Workers
Canadian Child Care Federation
Canadian Coalition For The Rights of Children
Canadian Council For Reform Judaism
Canadian Forum for Crime Prevention
Canadian Institute of Child Health
Canadian Nurses Association
Canadian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children
Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto
Certification Council of Early Childhood Educators of Nova Scotia
Child Welfare League of Canada
Children’s Aid Society of Owen Sound & County of Grey
Children’s Aid Society of Peel
Children’s Aid Society of Toronto
City View Centre for Child and Family Services of Ottawa
Comité Hospitalier de Protection de L’enfance du CHUL
Community Safety & Crime Prevention Council of Waterloo Region
Community Social Services Component, BCGEU
Developmental Disabilities Association of Vancouver/Richmond
Direction de Santé Publique de Montréal-Centre
Earlscourt Child and Family Centre
End Violence Against Children, Kingston Inc.
Family & Children's Services of Guelph and Wellington County
Family Education Centre, Region of Peel
Family Service Canada
Family Service London
First Call: B.C. Child & Youth Advocacy Coalition
Humanist Association of Canada
John Howard Society of Sudbury
Kids Help Phone/Parent Help Line
Kootenay Region Branch of the United Nations Association
National Council of Women of Canada
New Brunswick Association of Social Workers
Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies
Ontario Association of Family Resource Programmes
Ontario Association of Social Workers
Ontario Prevention Clearinghouse/Best Start
Parenting Education Saskatchewan
Parenting Today Productions Inc.
Repeal 43 Committee
Simcoe County Community Action Program for Children
Society for Children and Youth of B.C.
South-East Ottawa For A Healthy Community
Sparrow Lake Alliance
Toronto Child Abuse Centre
Toronto Public Health
University College of Cape Breton Children’s Rights Centre
University of British Columbia Department of Paediatrics
Voices for Children
V.O.I.C.E. (Violence Overcome In Creative Ensemble)
West Kootenay Diversity Education Group
Whole Family Attachment Parenting Association
YMCA of Greater Toronto
Yorktown Family Services
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