As students across the Province of Ontario return to school today, Action Canada in collaboration with SHORE Centre and The 519 are submitting a formal request to UN Special Procedures, calling out the Government of Ontario’s attack on young people’s right to receive quality, evidence-based comprehensive sexuality education.
By reverting to a 20-year old curriculum, Ontario is violating young people’s human rights. Sexuality education that ignores issues like consent, sexual orientation and gender identity, same-sex marriage, and safety online puts young women and girls, young people with disabilities and LGBTQ youth at risk of experiencing violence, discrimination, harassment and negative health outcomes. Governments, as duty-bearers, have an obligation to ensure laws and policy comply with international human rights law.
The Special Procedures of the UN Human Rights Council are independent human rights experts who monitor the situation of human rights around the world, contribute to the development of international human rights standards, provide technical cooperation to governments and act on complaints of alleged human rights violations, asking that violations are prevented, stopped, investigated or that remedial action is taken.
Evidence being submitted to UN Special Procedures draws attention to the July 11, 2018 announcement from Ontario’s Minister of Education, Lisa Thompson, that an outdated 1998 sex-ed curriculum would be reinstated in Ontario. In doing so, students in Ontario will receive one of the most outdated sexuality education curricula in Canada, compared to other provinces and territories. The submission further raises serious concern regarding the threatening reprisal for teachers in Ontario found to be teaching the 2015 curriculum.