BCHA urges swift passage of Bill S-251 to end corporal punishment

The BC Humanist Association (BCHA) has called upon the Senate committee to expedite the passage of Bill S-251. This bill would repeal a section of the Criminal Code that permits corporal punishment of children.

An identical bill is currently before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. The BCHA recently submitted a similar brief to that committee.

The Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs is considering the bill, which would implement the sixth call to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's report. Many experts in child development and child's rights organizations have already testified to the committee about the irreparable harm that can be caused by corporal punishment or "spanking."

The BCHA recently endorsed the Joint Statement on Physical Punishment of Children and Youth, a coalition of nearly 700 organizations facilitated by CHEO (Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario).

In its brief, the BCHA argues that the primary excuse for permitting corporal punishment against children is religious. They point out that the one brief strongly opposing the bill comes from a religious organization that claims on its website that "The authority within the family is derived not from the government but from God who created and instituted the family." Notably, the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled a law with no secular purpose cannot be constitutional.


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