Updates to the new curriculum include information on consent and gender identity, but it is not yet clear how much else it will have in common with the 2015 sex-ed curriculum that was repealed last year.
Executive Director of the Sexual Health Options, Resources and Education (SHORE) Centre, Lindsay Butcher, says she is pleased to hear of the new updates.
"When gender identity is introduced in grade eight, I feel like that could be moved up a bit earlier when discussing sexual orientation in grade five or grade six. Many young people who are trans or non-binary start to have those feeling younger than in grade eight. It's important that they have that validation and a trusted adult like a teacher, that they can talk to." Butcher told 570 NEWS.
Butcher says concerned parents have always been able to opt out of enrolling their children into sex-ed classes, even in the 2015 version.
"I know that has been emphasized in the release, but that's always been an option for parents. We do caution against it because it is really important that all students receive the same information about their bodies, their sexuality and healthy relationships to prevent sexual abuse and exploitation, so that they know how to stand up to peer pressure."
She says the fact that the latest updates to the 1998 sex-ed curriculum include an emphasis on online safety and consent is promising.
"We're hopeful that the government has listened to the outpouring of support not just here in Waterloo Region, but across the province of parents and teachers and organizations like SHORE Centre who have been very vocal during this consultation process that we need accurate, comprehensive, evidence-based sex-ed for our kids."