Sex ed legal challenge continues

March 18, 2019

Today, CCLA formally filed its appeal of the recent Divisional Court decision that upheld the Government of Ontario’s sex ed directive issued last summer. The August 2018 directive replaced the 2015 curriculum with a 1998 version that excluded any references to the existence of LGBTQ+ families. The motion for leave to appeal was filed this morning at the Ontario Court of Appeal.

Although the Government of Ontario has announced a new plan for a revised curriculum, the Divisional Court decision must be appealed, we argue, because it sets the constitutional standard against which the latest and future such curriculum will be tested. If the Divisional Court decision were allowed to stand, then there would be nothing stopping a provincial government from preaching discrimination through its curriculum, because, as the Court held, Ontario’s “curriculum does not enjoy Charter protection.” That ruling by the Divisional Court is contrary to established precedents on point, we argue in our materials.

The first hurdle for CCLA to cross is obtaining leave to appeal — in other words, the Court of Appeal must decide that an appeal is warranted, based on the tests set out in our Notice.

“What happened to our co-applicant Becky and her family must be appealed. Her queer family was simply written out of their daughter’s school curriculum, as if they didn’t exist. Well, they do, and CCLA is fighting for them and against discrimination in the classroom. The law of Canada cannot be that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms does not apply to a public school curriculum,” said Michael Bryant, Executive Director and General Counsel, of CCLA.

Background: The hearing for the applications of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario against the repeal of the 2015 sex education curriculum were heard together on January 9-10, 2019.

 

Q&A  with AN EXPERT

To answer some of your most pressing questions, we’ve put together a new YouTube video with Cara Zwibel, CCLA’s Director of Fundamental Freedoms. Below, she talks about why we are taking on this legal challenge, what the legal grounds are and more. Watch it below!