Politics

Ford government to announce new sex-ed curriculum Wednesday after controversial repeal, sources say

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.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce is expected to make the announcement and will highlight the new plan after the government conducted months of consultations.

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.

Last year, the Ford government, following through on a key campaign promise, repealed the 2015 Liberal education curriculum and largely reinstated the 1998 plan, which predated same-sex marriage in Canada by seven years and does not include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 LGBTQ issues.

The government said it would conduct public consultations with parents before implementing a new curriculum.

The repeal 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 was also 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.

The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario ultimately dismissed that case.

The repeal 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 LGBTQ 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

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