Cases & Decisions

ETFO et al v Her Majesty the Queen [Sex Ed Curriculum]

Court: Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Divisional Court, 2019

JFCY intervened in this judicial review, brought by the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO), and joined to a similar case brought by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA).  This case challenged the decision of the Ontario Government to repeal the 2015 Health and Physical Education Curriculum, and direct elementary teachers to teach an older version of the sex education curriculum that omitted content about consent, gender identity and sexual orientation, online behavior and cyber-bullying, proper names for body parts, and sexually transmitted infections.

The applicants in the case argued that the actions of Government limited teachers ability to teach these topics in violation of their Charter right to free expression (s. 2(b)), and in violation of students Charter rights to life, liberty, and security of the person (s. 7) and equality (s.15) .

JFCY’s arguments focused on the right of children to inclusive education that addresses the needs and circumstances of all children, especially LGBTQI2S students, and the requirement to ensure that the best interests of children inform government decision making.

While we were disappointed that the Court found that there were no Charter violations, the Court did affirm the requirement of schools and teachers to ensure that school environments are inclusive, and reflect the diversity of the student population. Additionally, the Court affirmed that teachers can teach these topics which empowered ETFO to encourage teachers to do so, thereby supporting a safe environment for LGBTQI2S and indigenous students, and promoting positive, inclusive environments that are respectful of diversity.

Decision: 2019 ONSC 1308

JFCY Factum ETFO et al
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