Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Corrective Force Definition:

Force used upon those over which an individual generally has guardian responsibilities, used to remove a dependent from a particular situation or to secure compliance with instructions.

Related Terms: Corporal Punishment

In R v W, Judge Barley wrote:

"[T]here seems to be a distinction between corporal punishment, meant to punish, and corrective force, used to remove a child from a particular situation or to secure compliance with instructions. Teachers may use the latter, but not the former."

The 2010 version of Canada's Criminal Code, at §43, exempts parents and school teachers from criminal liability in the event that they exert "force by way of correction" and then adds "if the force does not exceed what is reasonable under the circumstances."

The corrective force must be of a transitory and trifling nature.

In the 2004 case of Canadian Foundation, at ¶24, Canada's Supreme Court commented on the criminal exemption in retards to parental or school teacher use of corrective force as follows:

"[Th]e person applying the force must have intended it to be for educative or corrective purposes. Accordingly, s. 43 cannot exculpate outbursts of violence against a child motivated by anger or animated by frustration. It admits into its sphere of immunity 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. The purpose of the force must always be the education or discipline of the child."

In tort, a claim for battery would normally fall upon any person attempting to exert force upon another. In Mansell v Griffin, a female school teacher struck a 10 year old girl student on the arm with a small flat ruler, for alleged breach of school rules. There was no permanent injury but the girl's father sued in tort for assault. The matter came before Justice Phillimore of the Court of King's Bench who wrote:

"[I]t has from the earliest times been the practice for teachers to enforce discipline by some form of coercion....

"[I]t is enough for the teacher to say 'The punishment I administered was moderate. It was not dictated by bad motive'...."


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