Court dismisses charter challenge against Ontario sex-ed curriculum

An Ontario court has dismissed a legal challenge from elementary teachers and a civil liberties group over the province's sex-ed curriculum.

The challenge from the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association argued that changes made by the Progressive Conservative government infringed teachers' freedom of expression and put students at risk by failing to be inclusive.

The Tories repealed a 2015 curriculum from the previous Liberal government that included lessons warning about online bullying and sexting, as well as parts addressing same-sex relationships and gender identity.

A Divisional Court ruling released today notes that government lawyers said teachers were allowed to go beyond what is in the new curriculum, and there was no evidence of a teacher being disciplined for doing that.

ETFO's lawyer had said there might not have been a legal challenge if Premier Doug Ford hadn't also issued a warning to teachers who said they would continue to use the now-scrapped version of the curriculum.

The court said some of the public statements made were ``ill-considered,'' but did not constitute an infringement of the charter.