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

‘Just getting to know Maple Ridge’: local resident discovers historical markers

Belle Morse Park was named after the former mayor who also served as a city councillor

Guard dog trainer looks to take over part of tree farm

An unused horse arena and gravel area on Green Road property proposed for alternate use

Council ponders next steps for Pitt Meadows Official Community Plan

Revising a blueprint for how to keep growing and developing the city has been stalled by COVID

LETTER: Why are mobile lab workers not getting hazard pay?

A Pitt Meadows essential service worker questions why she and coworkers are not being compensated

PHOTOS: Maple Ridge Cubs conduct porch-based food drive

A Scouting from Home effort sees kids collecting non-perishables for the Friends In Need Food Bank

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Thanks for helping The News to continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Vancouver Island hasn’t seen a new homegrown case of COVID-19 in two weeks

Island’s low and steady transmission rate chalked up to several factors

Eight people arrested in Victoria homeless camp after enforcement order issued

Those living in tents were given until May 20 to move indoors

Andrew Weaver says he was ready to defeat John Horgan government

Independent MLA blasts B.C. Greens over LNG opposition

20 dead in COVID-19 outbreak at Langley Lodge

There were two new cases detected, according to the Lodge’s update

44% fewer passengers flew on Canadian airlines in March 2020 than in 2019

COVID-19 pandemic has hit airlines hard as travel remains low

UPDATE: One person dead, two in critical condition after Highway 1 collision in Langley

A man and woman were taken to hospital in critical condition

Commercial rent relief applications open as feds encourage landlords to apply

Program would see government cover 50 per cent of the rent

Most Read