Ontario Court Upholds Return to 2010 Sex Education Curriculum

  • 14 janvier 2020
  • Noah Burshtein, associate, BLG, and Elizabeth Creelman, associate, BLG

In coming to its decision in ETFO et al. v. Her Majesty the Queen, the Court considered the Education Act, provided important commentary on the role of a curriculum generally, and clarified that Ontario teachers are expected to include all of their students in sex education and can use the 2015 curriculum as a resource to do so.

The Return to the 2010 Curriculum

On August 22, 2018, Ontario's Minister of Education issued a Directive requiring all public elementary school teachers (grades 1 through 8) to revert from the sex education curriculum that was introduced in 2015 by the Liberal government to a previous version of the curriculum from 2010 (the “Directive”). The return to the 2010 curriculum was implemented as an interim measure pending further consultations and the creation of a new sex education curriculum. The 2015 Curriculum has remained in place for secondary school students (grades 9 through 12).

The Directive sparked concerns from teachers, parents, and students that the 2010 curriculum did not address certain topics that were introduced in the 2015 curriculum, including: consent, the specific names for body parts, gender identity and sexual orientation, online behaviour and cyberbullying, and sexually transmitted infections. This decision was challenged in the Ontario courts by a number of parties.