Ontario’s elementary teachers gathered at Queen’s Park on Tuesday to protest the provincial government’s rollback of the 2015 sex-ed curriculum.
Members of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) were joined by other organizations including the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and The 519.
The union is calling on the province’s elementary school teachers to continue teaching a modernized sex-ed curriculum despite the provincial government’s decision to revert back to a 20-year-old lesson plan.
Ahead of the rally, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath addressed the annual meeting of ETFO at the Sheraton Centre.
“Doug Ford wants to drag our schools backwards. In fact, in the few weeks he’s been in power, he’s already started dragging them back and we all know that,” Horwath said.
“He started with sex-ed. He’s taking our curriculum back to the last century and he’s hurting Ontario’s most vulnerable youth in the process.”
Speaking at the union’s annual meeting on Monday, the president of ETFO Sam Hammond said teaching an outdated sex-ed curriculum that does not address issues like consent and LGBTQ rights is “irresponsible and discriminatory.”
Hammond said the government decision also puts teachers in conflict with obligations they have to ensure their student’s safety and human rights.
The union said it will defend any teacher who continues to teach the 2015 curriculum this fall. It also said it will intervene in any legal proceedings before Ontario’s Human Rights Tribunal and provide support to any applicant.
ETFO represents 83,000 elementary public school teachers and education professionals across the province.