Committee on the Rights of the Child: Canada

Session 061 (2012)

(6 December 2012, CRC/C/CAN/CO/3-4, Concluding observations on third-fourth report, paras. 7, 8, 44 and 45)

"While welcoming the State party’s efforts to implement the Committee’s concluding observations of 2003 on the State party’s initial report (CRC/C/15/Add.215, 2003), the Committee notes with regret that some of the recommendations contained therein have not been fully addressed.

"The Committee urges the State party to take all necessary measures to address those recommendations from the concluding observations on the second periodic report under the Convention that have not been implemented or sufficiently implemented, particularly those related to … corporal punishment…. 

"The Committee is gravely concerned that corporal punishment is condoned by law in the State party under Section 43 of the Criminal Code. Furthermore, the Committee notes with regret that the 2004 Supreme Court decision Canadian Foundation for Children, Youth and the Law v. Canada, while stipulating that corporal punishment is only justified in cases of 'minor corrective force of a transitory and trifling nature,' upheld the law. Furthermore, the Committee is concerned that the legalization of corporal punishment can lead to other forms of violence.

"The Committee urges the State party to repeal Section 43 of the Criminal Code to remove existing authorization of the use of 'reasonable force' in disciplining children and explicitly prohibit all forms of violence against all age groups of children, however light, within the family, in schools and in other institutions where children may be placed. Additionally, the Committee recommends that the State party:

a) strengthen and expand awareness-raising for parents, the public, children, and professionals on alternative forms of discipline and promote respect for children’s rights, with the involvement of children, while raising awareness about the adverse consequences of corporal punishment; 

b) ensure the training of all professionals working with children, including judges, law enforcement, health, social and child welfare, and education professionals to promptly identity, address and report all cases of violence against children."

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Session 034 (2003)

(27 October 2003, CRC/C/15/Add.215, Concluding observations on second report, paras. 4, 5, 32, 33 and 45)

"The Committee, while noting the implementation of some of the recommendations (CRC/C/15/Add.37 of 20 June 1995) it made upon consideration of the State party’s initial report (CRC/C/1/Add.3), regrets that the rest have not been, or have been insufficiently, addressed, particularly those contained in: … paragraph 25, suggesting a review of penal legislation that allows corporal punishment.

"The Committee urges the State party to make every effort to address those recommendations contained in the concluding observations on the initial report that have not yet been implemented….

"The Committee welcomes the efforts being made by the State party to discourage corporal punishment by promoting research on alternatives to corporal punishment of children, supporting studies on the incidence of abuse, promoting healthy parenting and improving understanding about child abuse and its consequences. However, the Committee is deeply concerned that the State party has not enacted legislation explicitly prohibiting all forms of corporal punishment and has taken no action to remove section 43 of the Criminal Code, which allows corporal punishment.

"The Committee recommends that the State party adopt legislation to remove the existing authorization of the use of ‘reasonable force’ in disciplining children and explicitly prohibit all forms of violence against children, however light, within the family, in schools and in other institutions where children may be placed.

"The Committee recommends that the State party further improve the quality of education throughout the State party in order to achieve the goals of article 29, paragraph 1, of the Convention and the Committee’s general comment No.1 on the aims of education by, inter alia: ...

d) adopting appropriate legislative measures to forbid the use of any form of corporal punishment in schools and encouraging child participation in discussions about disciplinary measures."

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Session 009 (1995)

(20 June 1995, CRC/C/15/Add.37, Concluding observations on initial report, paras. 14 and 25)

"Further measures seem to be needed to effectively prevent and combat all forms of corporal punishment and ill-treatment of children in schools or in institutions where children may be placed. The Committee is also preoccupied by the existence of child abuse and violence within the family and the insufficient protection afforded by the existing legislation in that regard.

"The Committee suggests that the State party examine the possibility of reviewing the penal legislation allowing corporal punishment of children by parents, in schools and in institutions where children may be placed. In this regard and in the light of the provisions set out in articles 3 and 19 of the Convention, the Committee recommends that the physical punishment of children in families be prohibited. In connection with the child’s right to physical integrity as recognized by the Convention, namely its articles 19, 28 and 37, and in the light of the best interests of the child, the Committee further suggests that the State party consider the possibility of introducing new legislation and follow-up mechanisms to prevent violence within the family, and that educational campaigns be launched with a view to changing attitudes in society on the use of physical punishment in the family and fostering the acceptance of its legal prohibition."

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