A legal challenge from Ontario elementary teachers and a civil liberties group against the Ford government over the sex ed curriculum has now been thrown out of court. The government has now come out victorious in this legal battle. The ruling of an Ontario court was released today and it showed that Ontario Teachers' fight to make the provincial sex ed curriculum "more inclusive" has now been legally dismissed by the government.
It all started when the Progressive Conservative government reverted the most recent sex-ed curriculum that was taught by teachers across the province back to the old 2010 curriculum. The most recent curriculum that was released in 2015 by the previous Liberal government was repealed, according to CityNews.
The 2015 version had lessons on topics such as online bullying, sexting, same-sex relationships, and gender identity, that were not present in the 2010 curriculum. All Ontario teachers are now expected to teach the old 2010 curriculum to their students. This resulted in the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) arguing that it prevented teaching sex-ed in a "positive, inclusive, and respectful of diversity" manner, according to CityNews.
Ontario teachers decided to take legal action. Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association said that the sex-ed curriculum changes from Ford's government were detrimental to both teachers and students.
They argued that it violated the teachers’ freedom of expression and needed to be much more inclusive, according to CityNews.
A Divisional Court ruling that was released today said that the teachers were never forbidden by the government from teaching more than what is included in the new sex-ed curriculum, according to CityNews. There was also no proof that a teacher would be in trouble for teaching topics beyond the scope of the curriculum.
"Nothing in the 2010 curriculum prohibits a teacher from teaching any of the topics in question, which include: consent, use of proper names to describe body parts, gender identity and sexual orientation, online behaviour and cyberbullying, sexually transmitted diseases and infections," said the ruling, according to CityNews.
However, the ETFO's lawyer stated that one of the reasons for the legal opposition was due to Doug Ford giving out a warning to the teachers who claimed they would teach with the 2015 curriculum despite it being dismissed, according to CityNews.
In response to this, the Ontario court said that some of the statements were "ill-considered," but were not an infringement.
The court concluded the ruling with this claim. "Finally, we note that it is the role of legislators as elected officials, not the court, to enact legislation and make policy decisions," said the court, CityNews reports.