Closing arguments underway in Ontario sex-ed curriculum challenge

Click to play video: 'Showdown over Ontario sex-ed curriculum' Showdown over Ontario sex-ed curriculum
(jan. 9, 2019): The battle over the sexual education curriculum taught in Ontario schools is now being heard in court. Travis Dhanraj reports – Jan 9, 2019

TORONTO – Lawyers for a transgender girl fighting the Ontario government‘s repeal of a modernized sex-ed curriculum argued Thursday that the scrapped document should be reinstated at least until work on a new lesson plan is complete.

In closing arguments before the province’s human rights tribunal, they said the government was discriminating against their 11-year-old client – a sixth-grader identified only as AB – by not having mandatory gender identity lessons in the current temporary curriculum, which is based on a version from 1998.

READ MORE: Transgender girl says Ontario sex-ed repeal made her nervous about returning to school

“AB needs this information now,” her lawyer Marcus McCann said. “If this information is not taught this year there is no way to go back and teach it … that window will have passed.”

McCann said the tribunal should order the government to ensure any new curriculum is compliant with Ontario’s human rights code.

Story continues below advertisement

The Progressive Conservative government announced last summer that it was scrapping the updated version of the curriculum brought in by the previous Liberal regime in 2015. A new curriculum is currently being developed.

READ MORE: Court hearing underway to challenge repeal of Ontario sex-ed curriculum

The case before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario is focusing on the impact of the curriculum repeal on LGBTQ students.

Ontario government lawyers have argued that the temporary curriculum introduced last fall does not discriminate against students, saying teachers can expand on what’s required by the document.

Lawyers for the Ontario Human Rights Commission also asked the tribunal to order the government to reinstate the modernized curriculum while a new one is developed.

VIDEO: A hearing is underway in a Toronto courtroom pitting educators and civil rights advocates against the Ford PC government over the sex-ed curriculum. Queen’s Park Bureau Chief Travis Dhanraj has more.

Click to play video: 'Ontario sex-ed challenge hearing' Ontario sex-ed challenge hearing
Ontario sex-ed challenge hearing – Jan 9, 2019

They argued that the government has discriminated against AB by “erasing” mandatory references to LGBTQ people from the curriculum.

Story continues below advertisement

“AB has been made to feel less worthy of recognition and value,” said lawyer Reema Khawja.

Commission lawyers asked the tribunal to order the government include lessons on gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation and consent in any future sex education curriculum.

The tribunal is expected to decide on the case in the spring.

Sponsored content