Case of transgender girl fighting Ontario’s sex-ed curriculum repeal dismissed

The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario dismissed the argument that the government was discriminating against the sixth-grader

The Ontario government’s decision to repeal a modernized sex-ed curriculum does not violate a transgender girl’s rights, the province’s human rights tribunal decided Thursday.

The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario dismissed the argument that the government was discriminating against the 11-year-old sixth-grader — identified only as AB — by not including mandatory lessons on gender identity in the curriculum at the time she filed the complaint.

The tribunal said a separate court decision in favour of the government made the girl’s complaint moot.

READ MORE: Two students face multiple charges in threats against Ontario school

The Divisional Court ruled in February that it is the role of elected officials, not the courts, to make legislation and policy decisions, noting that government lawyers said teachers were allowed to go beyond what is in the new curriculum.

“While the applicant is worried that she may experience increased victimization, her fear is speculative because it is now clear to all school boards and teachers what is required of them,” adjudicators Jennifer Scott and Brenda Bowlby wrote, noting that the court affirmed that teachers are required to include all students in the sex-ed curriculum.

“There is now no uncertainty about the sex education that she will receive,” they wrote. ”Her teachers must include her because the code and charter require them to teach in an inclusive manner.”

Since the girl’s hearing before the tribunal in January, the Progressive Conservative government introduced a sex-ed curriculum that returns to teaching gender identity and consent.

But the lessons on gender identity will happen in Grade 8 — later than it would have under the modernized curriculum introduced by the previous Liberal government in 2015.

The girl testified in January that she wasn’t sure how classmates would treat her if subjects such as gender identity and gender expression were not required, and voiced concerns about going to a bigger school next year for Grade 7.

“I don’t know what the students have been taught,” she said at the time.

READ MORE: B.C. RCMP arrest foreign national in connection to airport thefts

The challenge before the Divisional Court — which was brought by the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association — differed from the human rights case because it did not focus on the effects on LGBTQ students.

The applicants in that case argued that the changes infringed teachers’ freedom of expression and put students at risk by failing to be inclusive.

But the tribunal opted to lean on the court decision because the government used the same defence in each case.

“In order for the applicant to succeed, we would be required to find that the Divisional Court erred,” Scott and Bowlby wrote. ”That, in essence, amounts to stepping into the shoes of an appellate court.”

Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

IHIT names homicide victim found in the Fraser Canyon this week

Police asking for tips into the suspicious death of 29-year-old Alicia Berg

Langley LETTER: Seniors forced to live in terrible rental units is a form of abuse

Local senior says he’s experienced abuse from landlords and is calling on politicians to take action

Township of Langley’s volunteer appreciation event postponed for 2020

Spokesperson said volunteers will be notified and recognized for their efforts individually

Langley house linked to crimes targeted for forfeiture

The province seized part of the home’s sale price

LETTER: Tax increases from other agencies unacceptable

As promised, Langley City reduced its portion of tax bill – what about other levels of government

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Thanks for helping the Aldergrove Star to continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park at large

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

No charges to be laid against 22 northern B.C. pipeline protesters

Twenty-two people were arrested in February, but Crown has decided not to pursue charges

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

IHIT investigating ‘suspicious’ death of Surrey man

Officers found the body while on foot patrol: Surrey RCMP

B.C. starts to see employment return under COVID-19 rules

Jobless rate for young people still over 20% in May

Kelowna Mountie on desk duty following ‘aggressive’ arrest

The officer involved in an arrest that took place on May 30 in Kelowna has been placed on administrative duties

Most Read