section 43


This section allows schoolteachers, parents, or individuals acting as parents to use reasonable force for correction of a child under their care.


43. Every schoolteacher, parent or person standing in the place of a parent is justified in using force by way of correction toward a pupil or child, as the case may be, who is under his care, if the force does not exceed what is reasonable under the circumstances.


Section 43 of the Canadian Criminal Code specifies the circumstances under which schoolteachers, parents or guardians are entitled to use force as a means of correcting a child under their care. It acknowledges that punishment may sometimes be necessary to discipline a child and maintain order, but makes it clear that the use of force must be restrained and reasonable. In essence, this section seeks to strike a balance between the need to discipline and protect children's rights and well-being. The section outlines three key features that must be in place for the use of force to be lawful. Firstly, the person using force must be in a position of authority, either as a teacher, parent or guardian of the child. Secondly, the force used must be for the purpose of correction, that is, to discipline a child and ensure good conduct. Thirdly, any force used must not exceed what is considered reasonable under the circumstances. This means that any force must be proportionate to the misbehavior or conduct at issue. The use of force is a complex issue within the context of child protection, and this section of the Criminal Code is not without controversy. While some argue that the use of force is important for maintaining order and deter certain behavior, others argue that physical punishment can be harmful and can escalate to abuse in some circumstances. As a result, there have been calls by some groups to repeal or amend Section 43. However, it is clear that the use of force in the context of child correction must be reasoned and measured. While the section may offer a legal defence to persons who use reasonable efforts to correct a child under their care, it is important that all parties involved prioritize the safety and well-being of the child. Ultimately, this section of the Criminal Code exists to provide guidance to authorities and parents/guardians to exercise their authority in a reasonable manner, while safeguarding the rights of children.


Section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada is a law that has been debated for many years by various stakeholders, including parents, teachers, children's rights advocates, and legal scholars. The central idea behind this section is that parents, school teachers, and other persons standing in the place of a parent have the right to use reasonable force in disciplining children who are under their care. However, this right is not absolute and must be exercised in accordance with certain limitations. The rationale behind Section 43 is that children need guidance and discipline, and that caregivers and educators should have the power to use reasonable force in correcting inappropriate behavior. However, this provision has been criticized by many as being excessive, discriminatory, and even abusive. Critics argue that it sends a message that violence is acceptable as a means of discipline, and that it violates children's basic human rights. Some have also pointed out that the section is sexist, as it perpetuates the stereotypical gender roles of men being the enforcers and women being the nurturers. On the other hand, supporters of Section 43 argue that it recognizes the important role that parents and educators play in guiding children's behavior and that it provides them with the authority to use appropriate discipline when necessary. They point out that Section 43 is meant to protect parents and teachers who use reasonable force to discipline children, as long as it does not cause harm or injury. They also argue that it reinforces the parent-child relationship and reinforces the importance of parental authority and responsibility. Despite the debate surrounding Section 43, the statute has been upheld by Canadian courts and remains in force today with certain qualifications. According to the Supreme Court of Canada, the purpose of Section 43 is to strike a balance between the interests of children's welfare and parents' rights, while recognizing the essential role of parents and teachers in raising responsible and respectful citizens. The Court has stated that reasonable force includes spanking or slapping, but it does not include hitting a child with an object or inflicting bodily harm. In practice, the use of corporal punishment in schools and homes has declined in recent years, partly due to changing social norms and increasing awareness of the potential harm it can cause. Many parents and educators have shifted towards positive discipline approaches, such as praise, rewards, and non-violent consequences, to promote good behavior and address misbehavior. In some provinces, such as Ontario, the use of physical discipline in schools is prohibited by law. In conclusion, Section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada remains a controversial provision, with conflicting opinions about its intention and effectiveness. While it recognizes the right of parents and teachers to discipline children in certain circumstances, it can also be seen as perpetuating harmful attitudes and reinforcing abusive power dynamics. As society continues to evolve, the issue of corporal punishment and other forms of discipline will undoubtedly continue to be debated, and lawmakers and other stakeholders will need to find ways to balance competing needs for protection of children and parental authority.


Section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada has been a topic of controversy for many years. This section gives teachers, parents, and other guardians the right to use force for correctional purposes, but only if the force used is reasonable under the given circumstances. In this essay, we will discuss strategic considerations when dealing with section 43 and suggest some strategies that could be employed in this regard. The first strategic consideration is to understand the scope and limits of section 43. Section 43 permits force for the purpose of correction, not punishment. It is not a defense for an individual who uses excessive force on a child or pupil. The use of force must also be reasonable under the given circumstances. Although section 43 allows for force to be used, it is crucial to recognize that it is not a mandate to use force as a disciplinary measure. The second strategic consideration is to recognize the potential risk of abuse. There have been cases where parents and teachers have abused the use of force under section 43 to commit acts of violence. While the law allows for the use of force, it is essential to ensure that it is not used as a justification for abuse. It is, therefore, crucial to be vigilant and monitor the use of force within schools and homes. The third strategic consideration is to educate teachers, parents, and other guardians on the law and its terms. Many individuals may not be aware of the limits and scope of the law, which can lead to misunderstandings and misuse. Educating individuals on the law can help them understand when and how to use force and the consequences of its misuse. Some strategies that could be employed when dealing with section 43 include developing clear guidelines for the use of corporal punishment. This can include the types of force that are permissible and those that are not. It can also include the circumstances under which force is justified and who is authorized to use it. In addition, it is crucial to have a reporting mechanism in place to monitor the use of force. Reporting can help prevent and respond to cases of abuse. Individuals who use force on pupils or children should be required to give detailed reports on why they used force and how much force they used. This information can be used to assess the appropriateness of the use of force. Another strategy is to provide training for parents, teachers, and other guardians on non-physical disciplinary methods. Alternative disciplinary methods can help reduce the need for force and promote positive behavior in children. It is important to emphasize the long-term benefits of non-physical methods when dealing with the behavior of children or pupils. To conclude, section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada is an important law that allows for the use of force for correctional purposes. However, it is crucial to recognize its limitations and potential risks. Strategic considerations such as understanding the scope of the law, recognizing the potential risk of abuse, and educating individuals on the law can help prevent misuse and abuse. Strategies such as developing clear guidelines for the use of force, developing a reporting mechanism, and providing training on non-physical disciplinary methods can improve the effectiveness of section 43 while promoting the well-being of children and pupils.