Today, CCLA formally filed its appeal of the recent Divisional Court decision that upheld the Government of Ontario’s sex ed directive issued last summer. The August 2018 directive replaced the 2015 curriculum with a 1998 version that excluded any references to the existence of LGBTQ+ families. The motion for leave to appeal was filed this morning at the Ontario Court of Appeal.
Although the Government of Ontario has announced a new plan for a revised curriculum, the Divisional Court decision must be appealed, we argue, because it sets the constitutional standard against which the latest and future such curriculum will be tested. If the Divisional Court decision were allowed to stand, then there would be nothing stopping a provincial government from preaching discrimination through its curriculum, because, as the Court held, Ontario’s “curriculum does not enjoy Charter protection.” That ruling by the Divisional Court is contrary to established precedents on point, we argue in our materials.
The first hurdle for CCLA to cross is obtaining leave to appeal — in other words, the Court of Appeal must decide that an appeal is warranted, based on the tests set out in our Notice.
“What happened to our co-applicant Becky and her family must be appealed. Her queer family was simply written out of their daughter’s school curriculum, as if they didn’t exist. Well, they do, and CCLA is fighting for them and against discrimination in the classroom. The law of Canada cannot be that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms does not apply to a public school curriculum,” said Michael Bryant, Executive Director and General Counsel, of CCLA.
Background: The hearing for the applications of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario against the repeal of the 2015 sex education curriculum were heard together on January 9-10, 2019.
Q&A WITH AN EXPERT
To answer some of your most pressing questions, we’ve put together a new YouTube video with Cara Zwibel, CCLA’s Director of Fundamental Freedoms. Below, she talks about why we are taking on this legal challenge, what the legal grounds are and more. Watch it below!
- Notice of Motion for Leave to Appeal, CCLA
- Factum of the Applicants, CCLA and Becky McFarlane
- Factum of the Applicants, ETFO and Cindy Gangaram
- Factum of the Respondent, Minister of Education (Ontario)
- Notice of Application for Judicial Review issued Aug 23 2018
- AFFIDAVIT – Becky McFarlane – Sworn Aug 15 2018
- AFFIDAVIT – Cara Zwibel of CCLA – Affirmed Aug 23 2018
IN THE NEWS
- City News: Civil liberties association, parent suing Ontario over sex-ed curriculum
- Toronto Star: Canadian Civil Liberties Association suing province over ‘ham-fisted’ sex-ed rollback
- Global News: Civil Liberties Association taking Ontario government to court over sex-ed curriculum change
- CBC Listen | Ottawa Morning: Sex Ed Court Challenge
- CTV | Your Morning: Ontario government returns to court to defend sex ed curriculum
About the Canadian Civil Liberties Association
The CCLA is an independent, non-profit organization with supporters from across the country. Founded in 1964, the CCLA is a national human rights organization committed to defending the rights, dignity, safety, and freedoms of all people in Canada.
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