For immediate release
Saskatoon, SK—Sex-ed across Canada is sub-standard, inconsistent, and poorly implemented. Today, as part of the Council of the Federation, Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights, in collaboration with young people and local sex-ed advocates, staged a demonstration to demand that Premiers take urgent action to mark the launch of the #SexEdSavesLives campaign.
“Sex-ed is failing young people. They have the highest reported STI rates across Canada and high rates of violence against young women and girls is shows a need to debunk gender stereotypes and teach respectful behaviour and relationships,” says Sandeep Prasad, Executive Director of Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights. “We chose to launch #SexEdSavesLives at the Council of the Federation because all of our Premiers need to be doing something about sex-ed in their provinces and territories,” says Prasad.
In Saskatchewan, STIs have reached crisis levels. “It’s so serious that in 2016 the province had to declare a state of emergency on HIV,” says Heather Hale, Executive Director at Saskatoon Sexual Health. “When done right, sex-ed can play a huge role in lowering HIV and STI rates.”
“From an individual and public health perspective, we as registered nurses know that a comprehensive sex-ed program will have lasting impacts on the physical and mental health of our youth,” says Saskatchewan Unions of Nurses President, Tracy Zambory, RN. “Registered nurses view sex-ed as a key health prevention strategy that will ensure young people have the necessary tools to take care of their own health and well-being, while also reducing STI infections, unplanned pregnancies, and the mental and physical health consequences of bullying, harassment, and sexual violence.”
Not one sex-ed curriculum across Canada meets the Canadian Guidelines for Sexual Health Education or international human rights standards set by the UN.
Action Canada sent a letter to the 13 Premiers of Canada’s provinces and territories this week demanding concrete outcomes such as curriculum reform and financial investments to provide educators the training they need and are asking for.
“Each province and territory has a responsibility to give young people the information they need to make informed decisions about their bodies, their health, and their relationships,” says Prasad.
Action Canada is launching its national campaign to get the best possible sex-ed in every classroom in Canada and improve the health, education, and well-being of young people across the country. Through this campaign the organization will support activists, coordinate between provinces and territories, and ensure that the federal government is leading as a champion for sex-ed.
Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights
613-241-4474 ext. 7
ACTION CANADA FOR SEXUAL HEALTH & RIGHTS is a progressive, pro-choice charitable organization committed to advancing and upholding sexual and reproductive health and rights in Canada and globally.