The Proposed Repeal of the Ontario Sexual Education Curriculum

by | June 27, 2018


By Scott Douglas Jacobsen

The Toronto Star reported that the proposed sexual education changes by the Progressive Conservatives would harm kids.

Sexual education mattered to some but not all voters in Ontario. The repeal of the current sexual education curriculum was one of many foci for Doug Ford and his party. Ford won the vote in Ontario.

The reportage stated, “Doug Ford isn’t a particularly religious man of course, but he wants to display his alleged toughness and his links to ‘the people,’ and striking at a curriculum that has been lied about, and held up as a symbol of the elites at their worst, is perfect optics. Bluster and bombast in one well-rehearsed sound bite.”

Charles McVety sent a social media post – a “tweet,” so-called, on Twitter – that said, “Premier Doug Ford Majority Government. Praise God who heard our prayers and delivered victory for the sake of our children.”

Let us leave aside the efficacy of prayer or the existence of God asserted in the tweet, please. The main claim comes from the tacit assertion of the repeal of the current sexual education curriculum helping children rather than harming them. Does this work as a claim?

In short: does the repeal support the best interests of the child?

McVety stood and stands against the modern evidence-based sexual education curriculum in Ontario. He is the President of the Canada Christian College. He was the first guest on the televised leaders’ debate.

Then there is the former Tory candidate Tanya Granic Allen. She stated last week that, ‘parents expect the repeal of the Wynne sex-ed by September.’ By ‘parents’ she means the small number of hardliners in her organization,” the article opined.

Allen was fired as a Progressive Conservative candidate based on some comments. She was present at the celebration party for Ford.

Also, the National President of Campaign Life Coalition, Jim Hughes, said, “We remain optimistic that Premier Doug Ford will uphold his campaign promises to repeal and replace Kathleen Wynne’s radical sex-ed curriculum as an ‘early priority’ in his administration.”

Others working in opposition to the sxual education curriculum are other pro-life groups including the Roman Catholic Church. Although, the laity and Catholic hierarchs differ in views on the subject of, for example, abortion.

I do not want to misrepresent. Differences exist in those groups opposed to modern evidence-based sexual education curriculum. It seems as if pro-life groups and individuals in authority formed coalitions with the movement for repeal by Ford.

“The infamous clergy sexual abuse crisis within Catholicism, which is still to be fully exposed, was dependent on children being ignorant of sex, unable to name sexual acts, and on the fog of confusion and fear around sexuality that Catholicism has long enforced in its teaching and formation,” the article stated.

The Catholic hierarchs founded, defended, and kept secret the sexual abuse in their own churches, unfortunately. It harmed and harms their image, followers, and claims to full legitimate moral authority on various issues now.

The issue with the removal of the sexual education curriculum in Ontario would not be in the best interests of the child. Why? It removes education for a child. In particular, the move would repeal the knowledge and information for children needed to make informed personal sexual choices, whether they want to or not, and in what ways they deem safe and healthy.

The article continued, “Children deserve better than to be play things in the soiled hands of single-issue fanatics and ill-informed politicians. The curriculum is balanced and appropriate, parents were consulted, groups dealing with abuse and child health contributed, and no single bureaucrat was responsible for it.” [Emphasis added.]

Is it evidence-based rather than faith-based (which, by technical definition, means without evidence)? Yes.

Is it based on consultation with the public? Yes.

Does this mean the health and wellbeing of the kids are ensured and protected? Yes, for the most part, adolescents and kids can still make mistakes, though.

Last question, does this mean the repeal would be non-evidence-based or faith-based, rejecting the implemented consultation of the Ontario public, and reduce the knowledge and capacity for kids to make informed sexual choices (against the best interests of the child)? Yes.

For the best interests of the children, their mental and physical wellbeing associated with sexual health in other words. They deserve a proper, evidence-based sexual education curriculum built in coordination and consultation with relevant parties in the province, which is the current curriculum. To remove or repeal it, it will harm kids; in turn, it will harm families, communities, and a sector of the next generation in Ontario. Those who make these choices knowingly will be the ones to live with the consequences in reality and on their consciences.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He authored/co-authored some e-books, free or low-cost. If you want to contact Scott:

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6 thoughts on “The Proposed Repeal of the Ontario Sexual Education Curriculum

  1. Mark

    The sex-ed curriculum is controversial for a number of reasons, but likely not for the reason that The Toronto Star discussed. Topics such as the early (earlier?) introduction of sex, body parts, on making personal sexual choices, and vaguely, sexuality, doesn’t appear controversial. This would likely make children less ignorant of the above topics, and maybe less likely to fall into the hands of sexual predators.

    Although I agree with this reasoning, I struggle to accept your main conclusion that the repeal of the entire sex-ed curriculum will harm children. Rather, I would say that there are elements in the current sex-ed curriculum which are good and other which are not.

    Two topics from the curriculum have received a fair bit of attention: the introduction of gender theory and the normalization of other-than heterosexual families. I think we can both agree that these subjects are highly controversial. I also think that these two subjects are the main reasons why many families are skeptical of the current sex-ed curriculum.

    This is to say that I think the Toronto Star article created a bit of a straw-man argument and focused on a point that was not the pressing issue for Ford supporters.

    So does the current sex-ed curriculum harm children? That’s a big question. Which topics are we talking about, and how exactly do we define harm? Further, are the concerns of Ford’s supporters justified? Are they based on evidence or simply tradition? Lots to think about here.

    1. Shawn the Humanist

      It seems to me that everything in the curriculum is age appropriate and therefore not harmful. For example, the curriculum talks about non-nuclear families. So families with gay or lesbian parents as well as single parents and intergenerational households. This is a simple and uncontroversial fact and can in no way harm a child.

      It does prepare a child to run in to such families. I’m not even sure how many families adhere to the nuclear model anyway. Note: they do not discuss sexuality at a young age.

      As for gender identity, that is taught at grade 8, which is 12-13 year olds. I think they are capable of being merely aware of the fact that gender identity is not seen in the old-school way. It’s on TV, in the media, on social media and most importantly by people around them.

      Recognizing that an atomic bomb exists isn’t not really harmful to the learner. So I don’t think there is harm.

      Saying ‘there is a person’ is hardly harmful. Controversial? Yeah, sure, and the teaching of evolution is as well.

    2. Berchmans Keaney

      I’m going to talk respectfully, and at about a grade 6 level.

      Controversial doesn’t mean “my opinion is different and therefore valid”. Controversial means opposing contradictory evidence.

      I’ll deal with your second opinion first. “Normalization of other-than heterosexual families.”
      Do families exist that are “other-than” heterosexual families? You’re right, the answer is yes. Does all the evidence gathered from those families indicate “normal” outcomes? No, it shows much better childhood development and improved adult outcomes. Comparing the data of those “other-than”families to the data of families that don’t accept or reject their child’s identity? 46% suicide attempt incidence rate. Perfectly healthy outcomes vs. childhood suicide is a controversy with clearly “defined harm”. The repeal of updated sexual education literally puts children back to the the risks of 20 years ago. Suicide rates will increase, but that’s ok, you’ll be dead and you won’t have to deal with the validity of your opinion and the very real and well defined harm your opinion has caused.
      There is nothing to think about, the science had been done, the thinking was turned into numbers and stats, the only thing here is the need to make decisions, but, hey Mark, thanks for all that really helpful thought, those generations you’ll never meet will have a lot to thank you for, if they make it, of course. (pro tip, social stigma had been shown to be an antecedent of suicide, education is the only proven method of removing social stigma, but hey, thanks again Mark, we really, truly appreciate that you have an opinion that you think is valid enough to make kids lives a controversy…)

      Thanks again, for the… thought…

      1. Mark

        I don’t think you defined the word controversial correctly.

        Specifically, the definition of controversial is “giving rise or likely to give rise to public disagreement.” For example, the question of abortion is controversial because it gives rise to public disagreement.

        It is my opinion that there are two major topics in the new sex-ed curriculum that are giving rise to public disagreement. These two topics include the discussion of non-nuclear families (non-traditional families) and the teaching of gender theory (Sexting, body parts, consent, etc, are separate topics that I personally thing are important). Judging by your response, I think we can both agree that these topics are controversial (proof = you disagreed with me = a public disagreement).

        I did not present my personal opinion on whether or not I agreed or disagreed with these two controversial topics. However, you did, and you made some interesting claims. Below are my attempts to summarize your main arguments (corrections are welcomed):

        1. Non-heterosexual families produce “much better childhood development and improved adult outcomes” than heterosexual families.
        2. Rejecting a child’s gender identity is the sole cause for the 46% suicide attempt rate amongst transgender and gender non-conforming people.
        3. Accepting a child’s gender identity leads to the elimination of any suicide attempts.
        4. Having an opinion contrary to the gender theory is the sole reason why transgender and gender non-conforming people attempt suicide.
        Can you provide any sources for these claims?

        1. Shawn the Humanist

          Hey Mark,

          I was reading your response here to Berchmans, I would like to point out an error. You said, ‘I did not present my personal opinion.’ However, you did. You said, “I would say that there are elements in the current sex-ed curriculum which are good and other which are not.” You then ended with the big questions you thought were reasonable.

          Berchmans may be back to respond, but I thought I’d add to the conversation a little, if you would let me.

          1. There have been a lot of studies that show better outcomes of children from gay and lesbian parents. However, I think that stating that fact is wrong: gay and lesbian parents nearly always want children, but the same is not true of straight couples. I suspect this leads to the discrepancy. The largest and best studies simply say there is no difference, probably because they model the data by comparing them to only straight couples who do want children.

          So that skews the data the other way, making it equal. The fact is, gay and lesbian couples have better outcomes than the average parent. But if you compare to straight parents who want children in the same socioeconomic class, the differences go away.

          However, your points 2, 3 and 4 are strawmen of what was said. The claim was not that it’s the sole cause, but was the actual figure. Not that accepting it eliminates suicide, but reduces is significantly. You added in a lot on top of what was actually said.

          But yes, children of gay and lesbian couples are happier than their peers.

          Significant data shows the acceptance of LGBT youth results in better outcomes, while the bigotry toward them result in worse outcomes, including increased suicide.

          So, yes, accepting modern science on sexuality and gender theories, meaning accepting the existence and normalcy of LGBT people, lead to better outcomes.

          1. Mark

            Hi Shawn,
            Excuse the delay. Just to get the conversation going I will briefly clarify a few points (and not beat-around-the-bush).

            1. I personally think that gender theory is false and therefore harmful.
            2. I am personally unsure about the societal effects of non-heterosexual forms of marriage and child rearing.

            Of course, I am open to corrections on both positions.

            The links provided regarding #2 are compelling, however, I would need to read the primary sources to get a better understanding of the findings.

            To counter your articles, here’s a piece to examine and discuss:

            Re: 1, I have yet to be convinced that science supports the claims of gender theory. Claiming that the theory is false is not the same as not accepting its existence and normalcy.

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