Supreme Court of Canada decision

The Jan 30/04 decision of the Supreme Court of Canada on the constitutional challenge to section 43 was a split decision with 3 dissenting judgments. The majority held that lower courts must consider the section in light of the following criteria:

  1. correction is not the result of the caregiver’s frustration, loss of temper or abusive personality;
  2. correction is not punitive and does not focus on the gravity of the child’s wrongdoing;
  3. the child is not incapable of learning because of disability or some other contextual factor;
  4. force is not used against a child under 2 years or over 12 years of age;
  5. force does not involve the use of objects or slaps or blows to the head; or
  6. force does not cause bodily harm or raise a reasonable prospect of bodily harm and is of a minor, transitory and trifling nature.

See Constitutional Challenge chapter for other information and comment on this decision.

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