CCLA says reverting to 1998 sex-ed program is a charter violation

Published On August 7, 2018 | By anamkhan | Health, News, Politics

Andrea Horwath presented a petition to the provincial government Aug. 7 with 1,800 names urging the provincial government to adopt the new sex ed curriculum rather than reverting to the 1998 program. (Ontario NDP)

Anam Khan

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) says reverting to the 1998 sex-ed curriculum in the classroom is a human rights issue.

The CCLA released an open letter on its website to Ontario Education Minister Lisa Thompson.

The letter highlights five main concerns including confusing the schools in what to present to students in the coming school year, the government not acknowledging the extent of the consultation process to develop the 2015 sex ed program, the potential harm to students by reverting to the outdated program, a possible infringement in Charter rights and the lack of Indigenous content.

It states “the government’s public commitment to revert to the 1998 curriculum is unreasonable and does not adequately consider the Charter rights that are engaged — particularly the right to equality.”

The CCLA adds “that old curriculum, which is a generation out-of-date, also does not reflect the current reality we live in, including the commitments to equality that have been reflected in amendments to the law made since that curriculum was developed.”

The battle between the Ford government’s education plan and those who oppose it continued yesterday when a petition calling for the adoption of the updated program for the next school year.

Opposition leader Andrea Horwath presented the petition in Queen’s Park with 1,800 signatures from people of various professions in the public sector such as teachers, doctors, nurses, and others who are against the change.

The petition was delivered to the Ontario government Aug. 7.

Ford’s government said it intends on holding consultations in all 124 ridings to develop a new sex ed curriculum.

Harvey Bischof, the president of the Ontario Secondary School Teacher’s Association (OSSTA), said he spoke to Thompson saying that reverting to the old curriculum is problematic and when they begin their consultations, they should be including educators like those represented by the OSSTA.

Bischof said there is limited action that his organization can take to change the government’s intention to revert to the program used in 1998. Whether reverting to the old program is a Charter violation will be dealt with by legal minds like the CCLA, he said.

“We will be issuing advice to our members with regards to handle the repeal of the curriculum because they feel caught now between what may or may not be the direction given by their employers and their own principles with regards to keeping kids safe and healthy,” Bischof said.

“So it’s a conundrum right now for our members who don’t want to put themselves in employment jeopardy, but are faced with their ethics in regards with the education they want to deliver to their students,” he said.

 

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