In 2005, an education reform swept across Quebec high schools, leading to the disappearance of a mandatory sexual health curriculum. Arguing that the responsibility for children’s sexual health education fell on multiple shoulders, the Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport (MELS) of Quebec proposed that teachers, nurses, community organizations, and parents, work together to regularly include discussions of sexuality in different facets of school life, from classroom discussions to extracurricular projects. Instead of this, news reports and recent studies show that sexual health education is inconsistently offered across the province, and often not offered at all. Time constraints, diverging ideologies between stake-holders, feelings of confusion over the ministerial guidelines and stakeholders’ roles, and a lack of teacher education are major challenges to the effective delivery of sexual health education in Quebec. In this article, I explore these issues, and compare the provincial sexual health education framework with the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Canadian Guidelines for Sexual Health Education to illustrate gaps in Quebec’s current approach to providing sexual health education in the schools. Finally, I critically examine the key elements of the recent pilot project announced by the Quebec Ministry of Education, and suggest that education policy-makers take the past reform issues and the Public Health Agency’s guidelines into consideration as they move forward with the new sexual health education initiative.


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pp. 197-204
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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