In February 2015, the Ministry of Education released the revised Health and Physical Education (HPE) curriculum to all school boards in Ontario. The curriculum was revised to address current issues relevant to student health and well-being, and better reflect Ontario’s growing and diverse population. These updates include information about healthy relationships, consent, mental health and online safety.
At the TDSB we fully support the revised HPE curriculum. We are committed to the success and safety of every student and it is important that what we teach is current, relevant and age-appropriate so that students have the best possible information to make informed decisions about their health and well-being. It is also important that the curriculum is inclusive of our diverse student population and reflective of the Board’s longstanding commitment to equity and inclusion.
Implementation of the revised HPE curriculum began this fall with staff training, followed by delivery in the classroom throughout the year. We ask all parents/guardians to learn the facts and have a clear understanding of what is and what is not included in the curriculum.
The revision is the result of the most extensive curriculum consultation process ever undertaken by the Ministry, which began in 2007. It involved parents, students, teachers, faculties of education, universities, colleges and numerous stakeholder groups including the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, The Ontario Public Health Association and the Ontario Healthy Schools Coalition. More than 70 health-related organizations submitted reports for consideration and thousands of people provided feedback.
- Religious accommodation in the TDSB is carried out in the larger context of the secular public education system. While the board works to create schools free from religious discrimination, it also limits practices or conduct that may put public safety, health or the human rights and freedoms of others at risk.
- Parents/guardians seeking religious accommodation for their child should communicate their request to their school principal, preferably in writing. All requests will be dealt with on an individual, case-by-case basis. The principal will discuss the request with the parent, student, teacher and/or other relevant board staff. Toronto Public Health and/or a faith leader may be consulted for informational purposes, with consent from the family and while respecting confidentiality.
- The Board will take reasonable steps to provide accommodation to individuals who state that a specific part or parts of the curriculum of the revised curriculum limits and/or prevents their ability to learn or participate based on their religious beliefs and practices.
- Students will not be permitted to opt-out of specific lessons or classroom discussions about gender identity or sexual orientation. As a public school board, it is important to foster greater understanding by students about these topics and to promote a learning environment that is consistent with the protections against discrimination found in the Ontario Human Rights Code and with the values embodied in the TDSB’s Equity Foundation Statement.