Is it illegal to hit someone else?

Yes, it is an assault under the Criminal Code of Canada to use force on another person without that person’s permission. Hitting another person is an assault no matter how hard or soft you hit. However, there are some exceptions; for example, if someone pushed you away from danger or if you used reasonable force to […]

Is using physical force on children an exception?

Yes. Section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada allows the use of some physical force if the purpose is for disciplining a child under the age of 18. Only parents or people who are in the place of a parent (for example, a step-parent) can be excused if they use reasonable force on a child […]

Can teachers hit me?

No, teachers can only use reasonable force to restrain or guide a student. Teachers must only use the necessary force required to remove a student from the classroom or to make a student obey instructions. They cannot use physical punishment to discipline or correct behaviour.

Who is a person standing in the place of a parent?

A person who has taken on “all of the obligations of parenthood” for a child is considered to be standing in the place of a parent; i.e. a legal guardian. Babysitters, nannies and, in many cases, even step-parents, do not fall within this category and are not allowed to hit children to discipline.

What is “reasonable force”?

The law allows for corrective force that is “transitory and trifling”, which means minor corrective force or the mildest forms of assault. Parents or a person in the place of a parent can NOT: use force on a child under 2 years old or on a teenager, use force that causes harm or might cause […]

Does this mean spanking is legal?

Spanking means different things to different people. It can also have different effects on different children. Spanking is illegal if: it is done in a way that is degrading or harmful; there is a potential for bodily harm; or it is done because the parent is angry and frustrated or lost his or her temper.

My parent hits me, what can I do?

Speak to an adult you trust about what is happening; Call the police; and/or In Ontario, if you are under 16 and being physically injured or hurt in some other way, you can also call a child welfare agency and a social worker will talk to you to see if you are being abused. If […]

If I tell someone I’m being abused, will they tell someone else?

In Ontario, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Saskatchewan: if you tell a person things which make them suspect that you are being abused and you are under 16, they must report this to a child welfare agency or the police. In Quebec, Alberta, Manitoba, Prince Edward Island, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut: this must be reported […]

Will the rules around spanking ever change?

Maybe. Canada has been told by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child to stop allowing parents and teachers to use physical force on children for discipline. More and more scientific research is showing that physical punishment is harmful to children. The UN Committee wants to end the use of physical punishment […]