Teacher Group Taking Legal Action on Doug Ford Government’s Sex-Ed Plan

A large teachers’ federation is about to take the newly elected PC government to court over its controversial decision to revert back to the dated 1998 sexual education curriculum.

Recently, the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) announced legal action against the Ontario government regarding its repeal of the 2015 Health and Physical Education Curriculum and the implementation of what many are calling an anonymous 'snitch line'.

"ETFO is seeking an injunction against the government to stop this unprecedented and unnecessary attack on kids and professional educators in Ontario," said ETFO President Sam Hammond.

"Students need and deserve modern day information and answers to their questions. This is about safety, inclusion and preparing students for the world of 2018, not the world of 1998."

The ETFO has been vocal about the harms it believes the PC government will cause by forcing educators to return to a curriculum that fails to address internet culture, sexting and LGBTQ issues.

The ETFO says that the union's position is that the government's actions are in direct conflict with professional obligations that are enshrined within the Education Act and the Standards of Practice of the Ontario College of Teachers.

In a news release, Hammond said that "never in his history has a government acted to take educators backwards."

The ETFO says it believes that the government's directive is also in conflict with the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Goldblatt Partners LLP is representing ETFO in the legal proceedings.

"The application raises significant issues of a Charter Rights violation which we look forward to have determined by the courts," says Howard Goldblatt, lead counsel.

The ETFO has also called the complaint line "an unnecessary waste of public funds that could go directly to schools."

It also says the line ignores the fact that parents can already easily connect with teachers to voice concerns.

The ETFO has also expressed concern that the line will be used to out LGBTQ educators, as well as make it easier for teachers to be bullied or otherwise targeted.

"While ETFO pursues this legal action, we will continue to vigorously defend members who use their professional judgement to ensure they are creating safe and healthy classrooms for all students," said Hammond.

ETFO also announced that it is seeking intervenor status in a case currently before the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal filed in August by parents and students regarding the changes to the health curriculum.

The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario represents 83,000 elementary public school teachers and education professionals across the province.

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