Northern Ontario pride organizations looking to file human rights complaints over sex-ed curriculum rollback
Pride activist says curriculum change 'good news for predators and bullies'
A northern Ontario pride leader is calling on pride organizations across the regions to file human rights complaints against the province, after the Progressive Conservative government's decision last week to drop the modernized sex-education curriculum.
Rita OLink, president of the Northern Ontario Pride Network, says she was shocked that the government decided to revert to the previous curriculum, which dates back twenty years.
"There's nothing in there to help kids understand the whole idea of consent," OLink said in an interview with CBC's Up North.
"This is good news for predators and bullies, because what has happened is LGBTQ kids have been erased. This is dangerous stuff."
Discrimination under human rights code, activist says
Although sexual orientation was recognized under the province's human rights code in 1986, OLink says the Ontario Human Rights Commission did not have a formal policy on discrimination and harassment until 2000 — two years after the 1998 curriculum was written.
OLink says the government's decision to return to the old curriculum is discrimination under the human rights code.
"We have a right, as citizens of this province, to be recognized for exactly who we are, and we are not at the mercy of someone deciding to erase us," she said.
Updated curriculum will be 'kludged together'
During Question Period on Monday, Ontario Education Minister Lisa Thompson said kids will still learn about several key issues that weren't in the older curriculum, including gender identity and the risks of sharing sexual content online.
Her office later released a statement that said no decisions have been made as to what the new curriculum will look like, but that the final decision will be based on feedback from parents.
But OLink says rolling back the curriculum before a new one is developed flies in the face of what the PC Party said on the campaign trail.
"They were touting that there was not enough consultation that went into the 2015 [curriculum] which is actually healthy living, it's far more than sex ed."
"Now they're going to roll things back to 1998, and kludge something together on the fly?"
OLink says she has heard from Pride organizations across northern Ontario, including Fierte Sudbury Pride, that are interested in filing human rights complaints.
"I encourage parents of trans kids, LGBTQ kids of all shapes and sizes, anyone that has someone like this in their family — put in a human rights complaint," OLink said.
"Let's tell this government that our rights count."