Premier Kathleen Wynne has carried out the work of her predecessor despite the controversy
17 years—that’s how long it has been since Ontario last updated their sex education curriculum.
An entire generation of children have grown up learning about sex, gender, sexuality and other related topics by relying on a patchwork of outdated and sometimes irrelevant information. Much of what these children are taking in is not fully relatable or comprehendible to their lived experiences.
This is the argument made by the youth and the agencies that work with them. This argument has been made by people as well as organizations across the province, in locations that range from metropolitan Toronto to rural northern dots on a the map of Ontario wilderness.
Having heard this issue being continuously raised, Premier Kathleen Wynne, decided to rectify this curriculum gap. She decided to move forward with the curriculum her predecessor promised, developed, and later abandoned amidst an outburst of controversy.
Wynne decided it was time for change, but some of the people who make-up her constituency have different ideas about what that change should look like.
They have different ideas about what childhood should look like in Ontario, with preconceived notions based on assumptions. This constructed the norms and standards within the communities where their socialization process took place, and there is nothing wrong with that. Everyone’s notion of how the world should be is related to their lived experiences, both as an individual and as a member of multiple, intersecting, identity-based communities.
However, it becomes problematic when people within these communities have trouble reconciling the world as they believe it should be with the world as it presently is. This leads to the differing opinions based on the frameworks of society, and this was the reason for the controversy that tarnished former Premier Dalton McGuinty when he attempted to implement an updated sex-education curriculum in 2010.
Hopefully when September arrives and the Ontario Ministry of Education implements this long-promised curriculum, Wynne will not be faced with such a deluge of dissent that her administration feels forced to retract.
For 17 years, Ontario’s school-children have been denied access to essential knowledge about themselves, their bodies, their identities and their place in the world during their most malleable years. It would be a gross violation of human rights to allow this inequitable situation to continue.
Thankfully Wynne and her administration are listening to their constituents and pushing to rectify that, and thankfully some people in Ontario are thinking of the children.