The court extrapolated the following principles regarding acceptable corporal punishment in child protection law from the Supreme Court of Canada decision in Canadian Foundation for Children, Youth and the Law V. Canada (Attorney General), 2004 SCC 4 (at para. 12).
(1) The only individuals permitted to use corporal punishment are parents or persons who have assumed all the obligations of parenthood. This excludes a nanny or a relative assuming temporary care of a child.
(2) Corporal punishment must be intended for educative or corrective purposes. Only sober, reasoned uses of force that address the actual behaviour of the child and are designed to restrain, control or express some symbolic disapproval of his or her behaviour are permissible.
(3) The child must be capable of benefiting from the correction, which requires the capacity to learn and the possibility of successful correction.
(4) Force against children under two cannot be corrective, since they are incapable of understanding why they are hit.
(5) Corporal punishment of teenagers is harmful, because it can induce aggressive or antisocial behaviour.
(6) Corporal punishment must be “reasonable under the circumstances.” given the following factors:
(i) it is limited to the mildest forms of assault
(ii) it will never include cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of a child
(iii) the nature and context of the treatment, it’s duration, it;s physical and mental effects and, in some instances, the sex, age and state of health of the victim
(iv) the current social consensus on what is objectively reasonable
(v) corporal punishment using objects, such as rulers or belts, is physically and emotionally harmful and not reasonable, and
(vi) corporal punishment which involves slaps or blows to the head is harmful and not reasonable
Here, the court held that a CAS policy that banned all forms of corporal punishment in all circumstances was overly invasive into the autonomy and integrity of the family unit. It did not define the current social consensus on what is reasonable. A total ban will only be appropriate in cases where it has been shown that parents engage in a pattern of harmful over-discipline that is not reasonable under the circumstances.
Again, please visit the link to read further: Durham Children’s Aid Society v. J.L.B., 2016 ONSC (Nicholson J.)