• Stephen Lecce, MPP

Ontario Acts to Protect Students from Sex Trafficking

July 06, 2021

TORONTO — The Ontario government is releasing a new policy framework, the first of its kind in Canada, as part of its strategy for school boards to protect students from the heinous crime of sex-trafficking. With the goal of keeping children and youth safe from sexual exploitation, this new strategy and framework recognizes the critical role schools can play in combatting sex-trafficking. Sadly, the majority of police reported trafficking in Canada takes place in Ontario. The announcement was made by Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, Sylvia Jones, Solicitor General, Jane McKenna, Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues, Sam Oosterhoff, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Education, Daisy Wai, MPP for Richmond Hill, and Laurie Scott, MPP for Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, who were joined by Casandra Diamond, Founder and Director of BridgeNorth Women’s Mentorship & Advocacy Service. The Ontario government’s strategy to support school boards in combatting sex-trafficking builds on the updated Health and Physical Education curriculum for Grades 1-8, announced by Minister Lecce in 2019. That updated curriculum positioned Ontario as a leader by including mandatory learning to protect students against sex trafficking. As part of its strategy to combat human trafficking, the new policy framework requires all school boards to have a plan and anti-human trafficking protocols in place to protect students. To support implementation of this new initiative, the Ontario government is investing $2.4 million in necessary training and resources. This will ensure school boards and school staff have the tools to recognize, identify, respond and prevent the sex trafficking of children and youth. The Keeping