This site was administered by Corinne Robertshaw who died in January 2013. It has a wealth of information but no new material has been added in the past years. We maintain it as an archive of great importance but keep the current site up-to-date.
What We Are
The Repeal 43 Committee is a national, voluntary committee of lawyers, pediatricians, social workers and educators formed in 1994 to advocate repeal of section 43 of the Criminal Code. Almost all of us are parents. We receive financial assistance from the Laidlaw Foundation and gratefully acknowledge its support.
We began our campaign to repeal Section 43 in April 1994 by submitting a 30-page brief to the Minister of Justice and other federal Ministers in English and French setting out our reasons for advocating repeal of this section. Thanks to a grant from the Laidlaw Foundation, we had funds to print and mail the brief to various organizations and individuals asking them to write the minister to support repeal. Many of them did so.
In September 1994, we sent a copy of our brief to the Secretary, United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, Geneva, Switzerland and in May 1995 to one of the UN Committee members, who brought Section 43 to the attention of our government at the UN Committee meeting. In June 1995, the UN Committee recommended that Canada prohibit the physical punishment of children and launch an educational campaign to foster acceptance of a prohibition.
We continued to distribute our brief until 1998 when the Canadian Foundation for Children, Youth and the Law launched a constitutional challenge to Section 43. We assisted counsel for the Intervenor, Ontario Assn of Children’s Aid Societies, by providing material on judicial decisions in which parents and teachers were acquitted under S. 43 of serious assaults, parenting advice by James Dobson and various government reports and pamphlets.
We also made presentations to individual organizations, conferences and workshops, wrote articles and letters to newspapers and journals, participated in radio and TV programs, prepared petitions, supported MPs in introducing Private Members’ Bills to Parliament, and responded to inquiries. Over 200 organizations have now written individual letters or signed open letters to MPs urging repeal. They are listed on our website, which we established in October 2002.
As far as possible, we monitor Canadian news media and law reports in order to post information on our website concerning assaults on children, research, judicial decisions, and political developments on corporal punishment and Section 43. As well, we try to include major international developments about corporal punishment and update our site about every two months.