ON Election 2018



- Hub staff

The Ontario Health and Physical Education curriculum, particularly the sexual education component, has been the focus of interest from the PC leadership race, to candidate nomination contents, to all-candidates' debates. We at the Owen Sound Hub invite you to look at the guidelines yourself to determine whether the 4000 parents and 2600 educators who read and commented on the curriculum before it was adopted were recommending appropriate changes from the 1998 document.

We invite comments and letters to the editor, citing particulars from the curriculum, to help the discussion along.  The full grade 1-8 curriculum is available here.



2015 Curriculum

1998 Curriculum


* identify body parts, including genitalia (e.g., penis, testicles, vagina, vulva), using correct terminology

* demonstrate the ability to recognize caring behaviours (e.g., listening with respect, giving positive reinforcement, being helpful) and exploitive behaviours (e.g., inappropriate touching, verbal or physical abuse, bullying), and describe the feelings associated with each

*identify the major parts of the body by their proper names;

*describe exploitative behaviours (e.g., abusive behaviours, bullying, inappropriate touching) and the feelings associated with them


* outline the basic stages of human development (e.g., infant, child, adolescent, adult, older adult) and related bodily changes, and identify factors that are important for healthy growth and living throughout life

* explain the importance of standing up for themselves, and demonstrate the ability to apply behaviours that enhance their personal safety in threatening situations (e.g., speaking confidently; stating boundaries; saying no; respecting the right of a person to say no and encouraging others to respect that right also; reporting exploitive behaviours, such as improper touching of their bodies or others’ bodies)

* distinguish the similarities and differences between themselves and others (e.g., in terms of body size or gender)

* explain the importance of being able to say no to exploitative behaviours (e.g., improper touching), and describe how to seek help


* identify the characteristics of healthy relationships (e.g., accepting differences, being inclusive, communicating openly, listening, showing mutual respect and caring, being honest) and describe ways of overcoming challenges (e.g., bullying, exclusion, peer pressure, abuse) in a relationship

* describe how visible differences (e.g., skin, hair, and eye colour, facial features, body size and shape, physical aids or different physical abilities, clothing, possessions) and invisible differences (e.g., learning abilities, skills and talents, personal or cultural values and beliefs, gender identity, sexual orientation, family background, personal preferences, allergies and sensitivities) make each person unique, and identify ways of showing respect for differences in others

* outline the basic human and animal reproductive processes (e.g., the union of egg and sperm)

* describe basic changes in growth and development from birth to childhood (e.g., changes to teeth, hair, feet, and height)


* describe the physical changes that occur in males and females at puberty (e.g., growth of body hair, breast development, changes in voice and body size, production of body odour, skin changes) and the emotional and social impacts that may result from these changes

* demonstrate an understanding of personal care needs and the application of personal hygienic practices associated with the onset of puberty (e.g., increased importance of regular bathing/showering and regular clothing changes; use of hygiene products; continuing importance of regular hygiene practices, including hand washing, oral health care, and care of prosthetic devices and residual limbs)

* describe the four stages of human development (infancy, childhood, adolescence, and adulthood) and identify the physical, interpersonal, and emotional changes appropriate to their current stage

* identify the characteristics of healthy relationships (e.g., showing consideration of others’ feelings by avoiding negative communication)


* identify the parts of the reproductive system, and describe how the body changes during puberty

* describe the processes of menstruation and spermatogenesis, and explain how these processes relate to reproduction and overall development

* explain how a person’s actions, either in person or online, can affect their own and others’ feelings, self-concept, emotional well-being, and reputation (e.g., negative actions such as name calling, making homophobic or racist remarks, mocking appearance or ability, excluding, bullying, sexual harassment [including online activities such as making sexual comments, sharing sexual pictures, or asking for such pictures to be sent]; positive actions such as praising, supporting, including, and advocating)

* describe the secondary physical changes at puberty (e.g., growth of body hair, changes in body shape)

* describe the processes of menstruation and spermatogenesis

identify factors (e.g., trust, honesty, caring) that enhance healthy relationships with friends, family, and peers


* describe how they can build confidence and lay a foundation for healthy relationships by acquiring a clearer understanding of the physical, social, and emotional changes that occur during adolescence (e.g., physical: voice changes, skin changes, body growth; social: changing social relationships, increasing influence of peers; emotional: increased intensity of feelings, new interest in relationships with boys or girls, confusion and questions about changes)

* assess the effects of stereotypes, including homophobia and assumptions regarding gender roles and expectations, sexual orientation, gender expression, race, ethnicity or culture, mental health, and abilities, on an individual’s self-concept, social inclusion, and relationships with others, and propose appropriate ways of responding to and changing assumptions and stereotypes

* relate the changes at puberty to the reproductive organs and their functions

* describe and respond appropriately to potentially violent situations relevant to themselves (e.g., threats, harassment, violence in the media)


* explain the importance of having a shared understanding with a partner about the following: delaying sexual activity until they are older (e.g., choosing to abstain from any genital contact; choosing to abstain from having vaginal or anal intercourse; choosing to abstain from having oral-genital contact); the reasons for not engaging in sexual activity; the concept of consent and how consent is communicated; and, in general, the need to communicate clearly with each other when making decisions about sexual activity in the relationship

* identify ways of preventing STIs, including HIV, and/or unintended pregnancy, such as delaying first intercourse and other sexual activities until a person is older and using condoms consistently if and when a person becomes sexually active

* assess the impact of different types of bullying or harassment, including the harassment and coercion that can occur with behaviours such as sexting, on themselves and others, and identify ways of preventing or resolving such incidents (e.g., communicating feelings; reporting incidents involving themselves or others; encouraging others to understand the social responsibility to report incidents and support others rather than maintaining a code of silence or viewing reporting as “ratting”; seeking help from support services; learning skills for emotional regulation; using strategies for defusing tense or potentially violent situations)

* explain the male and female reproductive systems as they relate to fertilization

* identify the methods of transmission and the symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and ways to prevent them

* use effective communication skills (e.g., refusal skills, active listening) to deal with various relationships and situations;

* explain the term abstinence as it applies to healthy sexuality;

* identify sources of support with regard to issues related to healthy sexuality (e.g., parents/guardians, doctors)


* demonstrate an understanding of gender identity (e.g., male, female, two-spirited, transgender, transsexual, intersex), gender expression, and sexual orientation (e.g., heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual), and identify factors that can help individuals of all identities and orientations develop a positive self-concept

* demonstrate an understanding of aspects of sexual health and safety, including contraception and condom use for pregnancy and STI prevention, the concept of consent, and matters they need to consider and skills they need to use in order to make safe and healthy decisions about sexual activity (e.g., self-knowledge; abstinence; delaying first intercourse; establishing, discussing, and respecting boundaries; showing respect; need for additional information and support; safer sex and pleasure; communication, assertiveness, and refusal skills)

*identify methods used to prevent pregnancy

* apply living skills (e.g., decision-making, assertiveness, and refusal skills) in making informed decisions, and analyse the consequences of engaging in sexual activities and using drugs




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