Bill S-206: The Bill to Ban Spanking

14 Dec 2016 Bill S-206: The Bill to Ban Spanking

Bill S-206, “An Act to amend the Criminal Code (protection of children against standard child-rearing violence)”, will, if passed, remove a provision of the Criminal Code (section 43) that permits parents to use limited, minor physical force for disciplinary purposes.

This section of the Criminal Code as interpreted by the Supreme Court of Canada only permits disciplinary force that is sober and reasoned, addresses actual behaviour, and is intended to restrain, control, or express symbolic disapproval of a child’s behaviour. Further, the child must have the capacity to understand and benefit from the correction, not being under 2 years of age; force used must be transitory and trifling, must not harm or degrade the child, and must not be based on the gravity of the wrongdoing; force may not be administered to teenagers, force may not involve objects such as rulers or belts, and force may not be applied to the head.

Bill S-206 would simply repeal the section, not replacing it with anything. It would mean that even the kind of corrective force described in the previous paragraph would amount to assault.

You may be thinking, “Haven’t we heard about this issue from ARPA before?” Well, you probably have. There have been repeated calls in Canada for all corporal discipline to be criminalized. In fact, since 1997 there have been eight bills to ban corporal punishment, none of which have succeeded. ARPA wrote a Policy Report on the issue in 2013, and recently updated that report.

Bill S-206 came on our radar last year, but its progress was halted because its sponsoring Senator, Céline Hervieux-Payette, retired. Then, on December 8, 2016, another Senator picked up where Senator Hervieux-Payette left off and became the bill’s new sponsor.


Please take the time to send your MP a letter expressing your concerns about Bill S-206. We have two draft EasyMails to get you started:

bill-s-206                   bill-s-206b

As always, edit them as you like, and please be respectful. Thank you!

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