Comprehensive sexuality education is recognized by the UN as a human right of all children and young people, and yet the sex-ed young people in Canada receive is STILL severely lacking, if taught at all.
- Not in line with international standards or best practices
- Not comprehensive
- Not monitored or evaluated to guarantee quality
- Taught by educators with low to no support
As a young person in Canada, whether you receive high quality sex-ed (comprehensive sexuality education) depends on your school board, principal, and the resources your school has access to. This means that young people in well-funded schools and communities often have better access to accurate, high-quality health information because external sexual health education experts can be contracted to teach sex-ed. Young people in schools with limited resources, or where low priority is given to sex-ed, often get limited sex-ed, if at all. In some cases, schools have even knowingly or unknowingly contracted biased organizations who misinform students about sexual health and/or present abstinence-only sex-ed.
Sex-Ed saves lives. This is no exaggeration. Sex-ed done right is life changing and supports health and safety. Quality sex-ed promotes consent, reduces STI rates, creates LGBTQ+ visibility and inclusion and generally makes young people happier, healthier, and safer.
- Delayed sexual activity
- Reduced sexual risk-taking
- Increased condom use
- Increased contraception use
- Increased knowledge about sexuality, pregnancy, HIV and other STIs
- Improved attitudes related to sexual and reproductive health
- Increased knowledge of rights and respect within sexual relationships
- Increased communication with parents about sex and relationships
- Increased ability to manage risky situations
The Government of Canada has a human rights obligation to provide evidence-based, scientifically accurate, gender-sensitive, LGBTQ+ inclusive and sex-positive sex-ed to all students. It must support educators in their delivery of comprehensive sex-ed by working with provinces and territories to fix the gaps and update curriculums and capacity in line with the 2019 Canadian Guidelines for Sexual Health Education.
What Canada can do right now to ensure all young people have access to comprehensive sexuality education
- Launch a national strategy and awareness raising campaign to equalize access to comprehensive sexuality education across provinces and territories, in line with the Canadian Guidelines for Sexual Health Education.
- Allocate funds to the Public Health Agency of Canada to invest in the training of professional sexual health educators.
- Allocate funds to the Public Health Agency of Canada to conduct regular national monitoring of sexual health indicators.