Ontario students will be taught the old sex-ed curriculum when they go back to school, education minister says

Ontario students will be taught the old sex-ed curriculum when they go back to school, education minister says
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Students in Ontario will be taught the old sex education curriculum — which pre-dates same-sex marriage, Google and social media — when they go back to school in September, says Education Minister Lisa Thompson.

Following on Premier Doug Ford’s election promise to scrap the updated lesson plans introduced in 2015, Thompson said Wednesday the Progressive Conservative government will soon begin deciding how to revamp them in conjunction with parents.

“The sex-ed component is going to be reverted back to the manner in which it was prior to the changes that were introduced by the Liberal government,” she told reporters.

The old curriculum dates to 1998 while the modernized lesson plan, opposed by social conservatives, covers areas such as same-sex relationships, gender identity, cyberbullying, and the dangers of sexting.

“We’re going to be moving very swiftly with our consultations and I will be sharing with your our process in the weeks to come,” said Thompson.

“We re going to be working on a fulsome consultation respecting parents and moving forward as the plan unfolds.”

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath warned that the Conservatives are making a mistake, with children paying the price.

“Going backwards in terms of keeping our kids safe and giving them the information they need to stay safe is not the right direction,” she said.

“We worked hard to make sure that everyone in Ontario feels that they are respected, that they are able to be who they are, able to have opportunity, able to be free of violence and hate. And anything that starts to erode people’s ability to be themselves and be respected in this province is problematic.”

The previous Liberal government updated the curriculum three years ago with an eye toward keeping children safe from abuse by educating them.

Proper names for body parts and genitals are taught in Grade 1, which is a change child-abuse investigators had long urged. The concept of same-sex relationships is introduced in Grade 3. In Grade 4 students learn about online safety as well as puberty.

In Grade 6, they learn what masturbation is as well as healthy relationships and consent. In Grade 7, students are warned about the risks of “sexting” and are taught about sexually transmitted diseases and informed about oral and anal sex.

For now, Ford government will not be firing Hydro One boss

Another early headache for the fledgling Ford administration is its plan to legislate the cancellation of a wind turbine project on the shore of Lake Ontario in Prince Edward County.

WPD Canada president Ian MacRae said his company’s White Pines wind farm is so far along that the government could be on the hook for more than $100 million.

“We believe that we’ve got a completely valid contract that’s in full force and effect,” MacRae said in an interview.

“We haven’t done anything to cause them to terminate the contract,” he said, noting more than 100 workers were at the site Wednesday, completing construction for its anticipated opening this fall.

“It’s all about contract law.”

While Government House Leader Todd Smith, who is the MPP for the wind farm area south of Belleville, insisted the pending legislation will “inoculate the people of Ontario from any litigation,” Horwath expressed skepticism.

“We’ll see. This brings memories back of a gas-plant cancellation that was only going to cost $40 million. And it cost the people of Ontario $1.1 billion.”

MacRae said his company has not had official notice from the new Tory government, which announced the cancellation at a news conference Tuesday, or from the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) that approved the nine-turbine project.

“We haven’t heard a thing other than through the press,” he said.

“Our contract with the IESO obliges us to keep moving,” said MacRae, noting there is “a complete misunderstanding” on the part of Queen’s Park about the approvals process.

During the election, the firm received a “notice to proceed” notice from the IESO, which is a formality.

“It s not a final permission. It’s not a regulatory approval whatsoever. It’s basically an acknowledgment that we have achieved a number of prescribed milestones. It’s not a subjective decision,” he said.
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