Posts Tagged ‘Mississauga’

GSA Call to Action

March 23rd, 2011 Comments off

On Monday, March 21st, Rosario Marchese, the Education Critic for the Ontario NDP, asked Premier Dalton McGuinty a question we have been asking of Leona Dombrowsky, the Minister of Education, for quite some time now — Why hasn’t the Liberal government been properly enforcing its Policy/Program Memorandum (PPM) No. 145, which explicitly mandates the support of Gay-Straight Alliances? In response, McGuinty noted that while the Liberals “require every single school board in Ontario to adhere to [the policy],” it is ultimately up to the individual school boards to find “different ways to ensure that they adhere to those policies,” which may or may not include the establishment of GSAs.

This is, needless to say, a rather contradictory position to take given that the Policy itself explicitly states that School Boards “must also help school staff to give support to students who wish to participate in gay–straight alliances,” which one might logically assume means helping students establish a GSA in their school. But this is apparently not the case and McGuinty fails to elaborate on the form that this ‘support’ is to take, exactly. Such an equivocal response is absolutely unacceptable and unbecoming of a progressive leader — and much less of a self-proclaimed ‘Education Premier,’ who supposedly has the best interests of the province’s students in mind.

As such, we encourage everyone to continue to sign our petition calling on the Ministry to enforce it’s Policy and we’ll continue to work on this issue.

With the Premier’s refusal to enforce his own Policy, we have decided that we will be looking at asking the Ontario Human Rights Commission for it’s read on the Policy and the Premier’s position. We will post updates to our work on the issue as they arise.

Queer Ontario Calls on the Ministry of Education to Assist Students in the Dufferin-Peel Catholic School District in Forming Gay Straight Alliances

March 20th, 2011 Comments off


March 20, 2011

Queer Ontario Calls on the Ministry of Education to Assist Students in the Dufferin-Peel Catholic School District in Forming Gay Straight Alliances

For months now, Queer Ontario has been engaging in an ongoing dialogue with the Ministry of Education around the now shelved Sex Ed Curriculum as well as Gay Straight Alliances (GSAs). Back in January, we wrote to the Ministry and asked that they enforce their Policy/Program Memorandum 145* in the Halton Catholic District School Board. This piece of Policy mandates that school boards, whether they be Public or Catholic, support students who wish to form and/or join GSAs. To quote the Policy directly:

“In order to promote a positive school climate, school boards must provide opportunities for all members of the school community to increase their knowledge and understanding of such issues as homophobia, gender-based violence, sexual harassment, inappropriate sexual behaviour, critical media literacy, and safe Internet use. Ontario’s curriculum provides many opportunities for students to develop an understanding of these topics. Boards must also help school staff to give support to students who wish to participate in gay–straight alliances and in other student-led activities that promote understanding and development of healthy relationships. Schools must also engage their school councils and student councils to support these student-led activities.”

Once again, we are calling on the Ministry to enforce their Policy to ensure that the students at St. Joseph Catholic Secondary School in Mississauga, who were denied permission to form a GSA by their principal, are granted the right to form and participate in a GSA as afforded to them under Ministry Policy. Their silence on the matter is astounding.

If the Ministry Policy contravening ban that emerged in Halton was an early indicator, the recent denial to form a GSA in Mississauga confirms that there is a real, systemic problem here with Catholic School Boards and their ‘support’ for queer and trans youth. And it confirms the Ministry’s lack of courage — not to mention its complicity — in the active discrimination of queer and trans students across the province. If the Ministry is serious about inclusion and equity and the welfare of its students — particularly their right to equal treatment with respect to services, goods and facilities, without discrimination because of sexual orientation** — it will start coming out in support of these students. Silence is no longer an option, and much less in the 21st century.

Contact Name: Casey Oraa
Contact E-mail:

**As outlined in Article 1 of the Ontario Human Rights Code

Call to Action: GSAs in Catholic School Boards – Monday, March 21 – Queen’s Park – 10:30AM-11:30 AM

March 19th, 2011 Comments off

This Monday, March 21, the NDP have committed to asking a question during Question Period at Queen’s Park on the Ministry of Education’s responsibility to enforce their Policy related to Gay Straight Alliances (GSAs) – Policy highlighted in our January 24, 2011 letter to Leona Dombrowsky, Minister of Education.

Recently, students at St. Joseph’s Catholic Secondary School in Mississauga were told “no” when they asked to form a GSA – the fully story can be found here.

Continuing our ongoing work on the issue of GSAs in Catholic School Boards, we will be releasing a public statement soon once again calling on the Ministry to enforce their Policy (PPM 145) and allow these students their right to form and/or participate in a GSA. As well, we will be hosting a Public Education Forum on the International Day of Pink – April 13 – in downtown Toronto to discuss the benefits of an updated Sex Ed Curriculum as well as GSAs. Details on this forthcoming.

In the meantime, we are calling on you today to make your presence heard and show up to Question Period at Queen’s Park on Monday, March 21. Question Period starts at 10:30 AM and runs until 11:30 AM. It is open to the public and all you need to do is head to Queen’s Park and head to the main/front entrance and you will be re-directed from there.

We encourage all Queer Ontario members who can to make their way to Queen’s Park to do so and show that you support the rights of not just Mississauga students but students across Ontario to form and/or participate in GSAs.