We sent a letter to the 13 premiers of Canada's provinces and territories about the state of sex-ed in Canada. We want better comprehensive sex-ed across the country.
Read the letter:
The evidence is clear: quality sex-ed reduces STI rates, prevents gender-based violence (including violence against women, homophobia, and transphobia) and leads to healthier relationships for all young people.
We’re writing to ask you and your government to ensure that all young people have access to the highest quality education that will improve the health, happiness, and wellbeing of all young people.
Sex-ed is a matter of health, equality, and human rights.
Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights (formerly Planned Parenthood Canada) is a national organization working to promote and protect sexual and reproductive health and rights and we are launching a multi-year national campaign to support equitable access to high quality sex-ed.
Our vision is that all young people across Canada will be empowered with the skills and the information they need to live healthy, happy, and safe lives. We are looking forward to working in partnership with your government to ensure that all young people have access to high quality, evidence-based sex-ed.
When we say that sex-ed saves lives, it is not an exaggeration. When done right, sex-ed addresses the root causes of many negative health and social outcomes. It gives people the right information to take care of their bodies and the skills to navigate interpersonal relationships throughout their lives. It promotes gender equitable attitudes and is an effective violence prevention tool. At a societal level, it means lower HIV and STI rates, less unintended pregnancies, and more access to health care.
For these reasons and many more, access to comprehensive sex-ed is recognized as a right by International UN human rights mechanisms like the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
We hope that we can count on your support in working towards better sexual, reproductive, social, and mental health outcomes for all young people in your province.
At this point, no province or territory in Canada meets the highest international standards for sex-ed. We can do better. In December 2018, Canada received an official communication from the United Nations human rights mandate holders, calling on our government to uphold young people’s right to comprehensive sexuality education in every jurisdiction in Canada. The communication comes as a result of a submission of evidence we wrote that drew attention to the urgent need for improved sex-ed everywhere in this country. Canada also received a recommendation from the UN Universal Periodic Review in 2018 calling for equal access to comprehensive sexuality education across provinces and territories.
Steps have already been taken to improve sex-ed in Canada. The new Canadian Guidelines for Sexual Health Education outline core principals to guide the implementation of sex-ed and support teachers in its delivery.
As the premier, it is your responsibility to ensure that every child and young person receives equal access to the best possible sex-ed. We write today to offer our support in your work towards the engagement of the health and education sectors to ensure young people’s rights are upheld in your province.
Young people require your leadership on comprehensive sexuality education. Their health and safety depend on it. We need you to:
- Allocate resources for capacity-building and the training of sexual health educators, including teachers and community-based sexual health experts.
- Develop provincial guidelines to ensure that third parties invited into schools to offer sex-ed presentations are offering evidence-based, high quality content.
- Allocate resources for the expansion of comprehensive youth-friendly sexual health services in every community.
- Engage in a review of your sex-ed curriculum and your provincial implementation plan to ensure their alignment with the Canadian Guidelines for Sexual Health Education.
- Ensure all teachers, principals, school board officials, and other relevant stakeholders are briefed on theCanadian Guidelines for Sexual Health Education.
- Include comprehensive sexuality education in all provincial strategies and policies that seek to promote gender equality and the inclusion of LGBTQ+ people and communities.
- Champion comprehensive sexuality education among your federal, provincial, and territorial colleagues across Canada.
Action Canada is available to support your efforts to realize every young person’s right to comprehensive sexuality education. We look forward to meeting with you and your government in order to meet these objectives.