TORONTO - The efforts of a few is bringing acknowledgement to all Catholic students as the province prepares to celebrate the first Ontario Catholic Student Youth Day on May 7.

Published in Canada

TORONTO - A parent group is calling for children to be pulled out of school during Education Week in Ontario to protest the province’s new sexual-education curriculum.

Published in Education

Demanding that parents be properly consulted, an estimated 2,500 people held loud protests in Toronto and London April 14 against Ontario's new sex-ed curriculum.

Published in Canada

Students at Ontario’s Catholic high schools are graduating at a significantly higher rate than those at public schools, according to data released by the Ministry of Education.

Published in Catholic Education

The release last month of the Ontario government’s revised physical education and health curriculum is an opportunity for Catholic schools to again demonstrate an approach that is both distinctive from but supportive of secular goals.  

Published in Guest Columns

TORONTO - Despite an overwhelmingly negative response from members of the public, physicians and organizations during a three-month online consultation, the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons voted 21-3 to force doctors to refer for abortions, contraception and other legal treatments or procedures even if they have moral or religious objections.

Published in Canada

OTTAWA - Ontario Catholic authorities believe Catholic teaching is protected in the province’s new sex education curriculum, though pro-family groups don’t share in that optimism.

Published in Education

A Catholic school in southwestern Ontario is hoping to foster a culture of fitness within its community with the $100,000 it was awarded from the Aviva Community Fund.

Published in Canada

OTTAWA - Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast warned a proposed Ontario sexual education curriculum could threaten parental rights and force “immoral” teachings on Catholic school children.

Published in Canada

Guelph, Ont.’s Church of Our Lady Immaculate now dons the title basilica. The landmark church perched on a hill overlooking the city was designated a basilica earlier this month by Pope Francis, catching parishioners by surprise.

Published in Canada

TORONTO- Concerns that there was insufficient parental consultation during the reform of Ontario's sexual education curriculum were formally voiced by a newly formed Toronto citizens' group Dec. 12.

And some in the group went further, predicting that much of what was shelved four years ago when the Liberal government tried to bring changes to the curriculum will be brought back, and they expressed concerns that an alleged child pornographer's hands are all over the development of that curriculum.

“What we are trying to do now is to make sure that the consultation will let all parents express their views,” said Peter Chen, co-ordinator of Citizens for Good Education, which hosted a press conference in Toronto to voice its concerns. “We would like transparency and democracy in this consultation.”

Citizens for Good Education is an umbrella group that represents more than 200 faith and ethnic groups, including the Catholic Civil Rights League, REAL Women of Canada and the Toronto Chinese Catholic Task-force.

In the days following Nov. 28 when the consultation process conducted by the Minister of Education closed, more and more of the groups came forward expressing concerns that surveying 4,000 citizens (one parent from each elementary school in the province) over two weeks in a province with four fully funded school systems and a population of 13.5 million was insufficient.

Chen said the group is seeking to defer the proposed September 2015 implementation of the new curriculum to allow for further consultation.

“We want to make sure the timing and the contents are appropriate for our children age-wise,” said Chen.

Gwen Landolt, founder of REAL Women of Canada, also criticized November's consultation as an online survey which “is not parent input,” and said it contained “loaded questions all leading in one direction.”

The government believes its recent consultation was sufficient and intends to involve parents again before the finalizing the document.

“In recognizing that parents have a strong interest in how this information is provided to their children, the province committed to consult with parents before the document is finalized," said Ministry of Education spokesperson Derek Luk.  

Luk said this new information will be used in conjunction with that gathered between 2007 and 2010, extensive consultations with those directly involved at all levels of education and expert advice.

Beyond the lack of consultation, Mary-Ellen Douglas, national co-ordinator for Campaign Life, is concerned with former deputy education minister Benjamin Levin's role in developing the reformed curriculum four years ago, which was pulled by the Liberal government at the last minute. She feels that much of the new curriculum, considering the tight timeline of the current reform process, will mirror that program.

Levin is facing charges of making and distributing child pornography, counselling to commit an indictable offence and an arrangement to commit a sexual offence against a child under the age of 16. Since the original charges were laid, Levin had five additional child pornography related charges laid against him.

“He is an alleged child pornographer and he is up on these charges and this is the man who wrote the program,” she said. “If convicted the man should be in jail and stay there for the rest of his life. This is a man who wants to exploit our children through the school system.”

Jack Fonseca, a Campaign Life spokesperson, also expressed concern over Levin's potential contributions.

“In 2010, parents first learned of this Grades 1 to 7 curriculum sex ed lessons that were too graphic at too young an age and made them feel uncomfortable,” he said. “Now that we know it was written under the direction of an alleged child pornographer... parents are even less comfortable. Levin’s hand in an explicit program that seems to sexualize kids has only heightened concerns, including my own, as the father of a kindergartner.”

Luk said Levin was simply one cog in the development of the previous curriculum.

“No single individual writes curriculum policy,” he said. “Review or development of all curricula is based on research, evidence and extensive consultation.”
Following the press conference, Chen said Citizens for Good Education would be bringing its message to Queen's Park.

“We will be launching petitions online, or on paper, formed by our member organizations and plan to collect signatures and present them to Queen's Park,” said Chen.

Published in Canada: Toronto-GTA

The London Diocese is taking advantage of the overwhelming popularity of Pope Francis to spread a prayerful message.

Published in Canada

If Canadian author Malcolm Gladwell did not actually coin the term “tipping point” he popularized it in his book of that title. 

Published in Guest Columnists

TORONTO - Before marking an X on a ballot Catholic voters should pencil in a grade on a report card for candidates in the Ontario provincial election.

Published in Canada

Two bills under consideration in Ontario that seek to expand protection for migrant workers are “doomed” because they don’t address the real thing these workers need, a means of staying here, says Stan Raper.

Published in Canada