Sex education, core values and the role of the family in teaching values; is this something a government should be doing? If the parents are not - perhaps.

backgrounder 100By Pepper Parr

May 14 2015


We asked staff at MPP Eleanor McMahon’s office to provide us with some background material on the Health and Physical Education curriculum – referred by many as the “sex ed” course and were given and referred to the following material that clarifies some common misconceptions about what the curriculum will be teaching our children – including addressing concerns about the age-appropriateness of the content.

It also serves to explain that many parts of the curriculum are currently being taught as part of the 1998 curriculum.

McMahon at podium

McMahon comes from a family with strong core values and social convictions – she believes government has a role to play in ensuring our young are given the information they need to make informed decisions.

The safety and wellbeing of Ontario’s students is our government’s top priority, and we believe that students need to have the best information possible so they can make informed decisions.

The revised curriculum documents for Health and Physical Education, Grades 1 to 8, 2015 and Health and Physical Education, Grades 9 to 12, 2015, are available on the Ministry of Education website and can be accessed by the public (

Most parents don’t have the time or the inclination to spend hours wading through at times turgid government reports. They want to know, in simple language they can understand and easily grasp – ‘what are teachers telling my children’.

Well-being is a core component of the government’s renewed vision for education and we are committed to the success, safety and well-being of every student and child. The Health and Physical Education curriculum that is currently being used has not been updated since 1998 – this is over 15 years old – and the world has changed. Technology concepts such as Smartphones, “Snapchat” and sexting were not familiar to anyone, let alone children and teenagers.

In our increasingly interconnected world, students often get information from unreliable and inaccurate sources. The classroom is a safe place for children to learn, and Ontario teachers are professional trained to teach sensitive material. Our students deserve a curriculum that is current, relevant and age-appropriate to give them the best information possible to make informed decisions about their health and well-being.

McMahon at BMO wondering when the provincial money is going to arrive

McMahon: a capacity to listen.

The revision of these curriculum documents is the result of work done through an extensive review process. This process was guided by research on current instructional approaches specific to this discipline, expert advice from academics, benchmarking and comparisons of the curriculum with that of other national and international jurisdictions.

It involved extensive consultation with parents, students, teachers, faculties of education, universities, colleges and numerous stakeholder groups including the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), the Ontario Public Health Association and the Ontario Healthy Schools Coalition. More than 70 health-related organizations submitted reports for consideration, and thousands of parents provided their input.

That means a parent in every elementary school across Ontario, representing all four publically funded school boards, was provided with an opportunity to provide input.

Parents and educators play critical and complementary roles to support student safety and well-being. Recognizing this, our government has begun developing a series of resources for parents, which provide information on the Health and Physical Education curriculum and ideas for supporting learning at home.

McMahon at Up Creek - side view - smile

McMahon is in the community and of the community where she has to stick handle some awkward issues – how is she doing so far?

Eleanor McMahon believes that parents should still have their own conversations about sexual health with their children, particularly when it comes to personal values. Nothing can replace the love, care and concern of a parent. But she also believes the best way to ensure our children are getting the most accurate, fact-based, up-to-date and age-appropriate information is through a Health and Physical Education curriculum that has been informed by experts, research, educators and parents together.

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