new sex ed curriculum ontario

The Ontario government just released a brand new sex-ed curriculum

After months and months of back and forth, the provincial government has finally released a new version of Ontario's sex-ed curriculum. 

Last summer, Premier Doug Ford's government replaced the previous liberal government's 2015 curriculum with the one from 1998. 

Teachers, parents and experts immediately spoke out against the decision, as the 20 year-old curriculum included no mention of same-sex relationships, social media, consent, or really anything else that affects the daily lives of kids and teens today. 

Then, in the fall of 2018, they held the largest consultation on education in the province's history in which parents, students, educators, employers and organizations gave their input on what the curriculum should include. 

Which brings us here, to August 21, 2019, when a new, modernized curriculum for first to eighth grade students has finally been released. 

A detailed breakdown of the curriculum is available online, and it includes issues such as mental health, concussions, vaping and cannabis, cyber safety, healthy eating and body image, and healthy relationships, including consent. 

Although many of the included lessons were also in the 2015 curriculum, some of them will now be taught at an older age — such as teaching about gender identity in Grade 8 instead of Grade 6.

"This modernization will keep kids safe in and outside of the classroom," said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, in a press release. 

"Ontario is a leader in critical areas including mental health, cyber safety, and consent, underscoring our commitment to building an education system that prioritizes inclusion, safety, and respect."

The ministry also announced that they'll soon release online resources for parents who may want to introduce specific topics at home whenever their child is ready. 

The new curriculum also introduces an option for parents to exempt their children from sex ed, a detail which is already creating some controversy.

"The enhanced curriculum relates to the everyday experiences of students and provides them with the skills and knowledge they need to lead safe, healthy and active lives," writes to the provincial government.

"It's important for students to learn accurate and current information. This way, as they navigate the digital world, they can develop skills and strategies that help them to stay safe and healthy."

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