The Ford government is set to announce a new sex-ed curriculum on Wednesday after the controversial repeal of the previous curriculum last year, sources tell Global News.
The curriculum is expected to be released online at 6 a.m. before Education Minister Stephen Lecce speaks on the new teaching plan later in the day.
It will come as part of an overhaul of the wider physical education and health curriculum, which will include new mental health lessons for Grades 1 to 8, a government source said.
“This curriculum will make us lead the nation in concussion awareness, food literacy, online safety, tolerance, respect and inclusion,” the source said.
It is unclear what the sex education curriculum will consist of in this new plan, which was developed after months of public consultations.
“The LGBTQ2 community needs to be represented in the curriculum from the early years,” a Toronto District School Board teacher not authorized to speak publicly told Global News.
“To not do so reinforces stereotypes that members of the LGBTQ2 community are ‘deviant’ and are ‘dangerous’ for children to know about. We are people and are part of the community.”
Last year, the Ford government repealed the 2015 Liberal education curriculum and largely reinstated the 1998 plan, which predated same-sex marriage in Canada by seven years and does not include topics like cyber-bullying, social media or LGBTQ2 issues.
The 2015 curriculum was controversial in itself and led to protests from some parents who did not want some of the new content taught in schools. During the campaign, Doug Ford promised to repeal it and conduct public consultations before implementing a new curriculum.
Largely reverting back to the 1998 version, however, sparked protests.
It led to sharp criticism from some, including the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, which both argued in court that changes made by the Ontario government put students at risk by failing to be inclusive.
That court challenge was dismissed.
A human rights challenge, which was later dismissed as well, was launched by an 11-year-old transgender girl, whose lawyers argued the government discriminated against their client through the repeal because there were no longer mandatory lessons on gender identity.
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The repeal also led to student walk-outs and protests throughout Ontario, which put pressure on the Ford government to either reinstate the Liberal plan or create a new plan which includes comprehensive lessons on LGBTQ2 issues.
In the government’s June cabinet shuffle, Lisa Thompson was removed from the position of education minister following all of the controversy with the repeal and Lecce was appointed to the position.
—With files from Travis Dhanraj and The Canadian Press