UPDATED: Ford government defends changes to sex ed curriculum

The Ford government will unveil the new curriculum tomorrow

The Ford government's new sex ed curriculum has been released online and it includes many of the same lessons that were part of the Liberals' 2015 curriculum.

In some cases, those lessons are taught when students are older.

One of the more controversial topics has been shifted from grade six to grade eight. That's when students will learn about gender identity and gender expression.

In grade one, students will begin to learn the proper names of their body parts.

By grade five, students will learn about sexual orientation.

The new curriculum will be taught in the coming school year, though much of it isn't taught until the second half of the year.

School boards will be required to give parents a chance to opt out.

The Ford government campaigned on repealing the 2015 sex-ed curriculum and holding extensive consultations with parents before a new curriculum was drafted.

In the interim, it was replaced with the 1998 curriculum which caused protests and uproar, even court challenges which were dismissed.

Former Premier Kathleen Wynne says she's 'glad' that what's in the Ford government's new sex education program is mostly the same as what her Liberal government introduced.

"It's been a sorry history of ... homophic and uninformed voices saying that they didn't want their kids to learn what was actually going to keep them safe," she says.

Former Ontario PC leadership candidate and social conservative activist Tanya Granic Allen says she's disppointed with a sex ed program that she argues amounts to 'indoctrination' of 'Liberal ideology' in elementary school classrooms.

She accuses Premier Doug Ford of lying about his promise to repeal the program completely. 

"He should have stuck to his original opinion but instead he's lied and completely flip-flopped," Granic Allen says.

Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce defends the revamped lesson plan.

"We believe strongly that this new curriculum reflects the priorities for parents ... we do not apologize for listening and seeking the wisdom of parents, educators and students," Lecce says.

"We are unveiling a curriculum that is modern and respects every child, no matter their faith, heritage, gender, or income."

The Ontario New Democrats' Education Critic says she has concerns about lessons on gender identity being pushed back two years.

MPP Marit Stiles adds that given the lesson plan is so similar to the old one, the exercise of replacing it was a waste of time and money.

"We saw the government spend nearly a million dollars on an online survey and we have today a new curriculum that is largely unchanged," Stiles says.

"It really has been quite a public relations exercise for this government."