Curriculum Research

Learn more about our community based research! 

What do I need to know for this research project?

As part of a community-based research project, Planned Parenthood Ottawa (PPO) has developed a skills-based curriculum to prevent teen dating violence by supporting grade 9 students in building satisfying relationships. We are collaborating with researchers from York University, in consultation with the Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women (OCTEVAW), and funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).

For the 2022- 2023 school year, we will be piloting this curriculum in Ontario schools, and evaluating how effective it is in preventing teen dating violence. This project and all research activities have been approved by York’s Research Ethics Board and the School Boards of all schools involved.

I’m a Teacher or School Staff

If we’re working with your schools, see below for more information on our project. 

The Program

Two PPO facilitators will lead workshops for grade 9 health classes. The facilitators will also make themselves available for an information session for both teachers and parents. Our staff is also always available to answer additional questions and can be reached at  

Informed consent form

While all Grade 9 students will be able to take part in the workshops, for students to take part in the evaluation study, we will require their parents’/guardians to complete an informed consent form.

By participating in the research, you will be helping us improve our program, reach more schools across Ontario, and potentially lead to a reduction in teen dating violence.

Teacher's Interview

Following the completion of the workshops, we will invite teachers who observed the workshops to take part in a brief interview where we will ask for your reflections on the intervention and get a sense of how feasible it might be for you to implement these workshops in your future classrooms.

This interview is completely voluntary, and will be used to help us further refine the intervention for future use.

External resources

If you are working with a student who may need extra support on the topic of relationships, here are some external resources you can refer them to. Otherwise if you have any other questions about our work, you can email our team.

Working with us in the future

If we have not contacted you directly about working in your school board, unfortunately our team does not have the capacity to take on additional workshops at this time. If you want our team to work with your school in the future, feel free to reach out to us for the 2023-2024 school year.

I’m a Student

If we are working in your school right now, here are a few questions that might be helpful to you.

What will you be teaching?

If our team is working in your school right now, we are delivering a series of five, one-hour workshops focused on developing skills that will help grade 9 students build satisfying relationships.

Specifically, facilitators will deliver content that helps students: identify their own wants and needs in all relationships; practice empathic communication with those whose perspective differs from their own; find strategies to help manage their emotions during a conflict; communicate boundaries within relationships; and exploring accountability in relationships.

Who will be teaching us?

Our facilitation team includes team members from Planned Parenthood Ottawa. You can learn more about our two main facilitators, Ceara McIntyre and Léa Gareau. Our team has done extensive research to develop this workshop series. We also have done a TON of consultations with young people across Ontario. If you want to learn more about part of our consultation process, listen to our team member Léa talk about it here.

Specifically, we have heard that young people want relationship education that includes the perspective of: 2SLGBTQ+ people, people of diverse racial backgrounds, people with mental and physical disabilities, and people who are asexual and/or aromantic.

We hear you! While we can’t promise to be perfect (unfortunately no adult is perfect), we care deeply about your unique and diverse experiences with friendships, family, and dating. We are committed to hearing you, and to offering you some skills that hopefully will help you better navigate all your relationships.

I feel nervous talking about relationships...

I’m nervous because talking about relationships in class is awkward. Where can I go for support?

Talking about relationships can be tricky. You may have experienced something in your life, or might have something going on in your life right now that makes it stressful to talk about relationships. Our team knows that this is a possibility (this is what we call taking a “trauma informed approach”). We have done our best to ensure that our classes are not awkward and that you feel as comfortable as possible learning with us, but if you are still struggling, here is our list of some resources you can use for additional support.

Why are we learning this in school?

The topic of relationships is already included in the topics that are normally taught in health classes for grade 9 students. Schools are a good way to ensure everyone gets some basic information on a variety of topics, like relationships!

Why is this getting researched?

Not every grade 9 class taught on relationships is researched. However, evaluating our workshops (a.k.a. doing research on this) helps us and future teachers learn about what works and what doesn’t to prevent teen dating violence.

You don’t have to participate in the research, you can just participate in the learning. If you would like to participate in the research though, and help us figure out whether our curriculum is good at reducing teen dating violence here’s how:

  1. Have your parents/guardian or caregiver fill out this consent form
  2. Then, you can fill out this survey before the workshops
  3. This survey after the workshops
  4. This survey one month after the workshops

Who will see my information?

The Planned Parenthood Ottawa and York University team working on this project will have access to the information you share with us. Every person who looks at the information you share with us has to be trained and sign a confidentiality agreement. Confidentiality means we will do everything we can to make sure no one (other than the people described above) sees any information you share with us. (ie. we won’t show your parents a copy of your survey after you fill it out). The only time we have to share information with people outside of our team is if you tell us verbally that someone under the age of 16 is at risk of harm or has been harmed.

At the earliest point possible, our data will be anonymized. This means that any names, schools names, or emails will be removed from the data. Any information that is made public will be non-identifiable. For example, while you might see in an article published by us saying, “Youth in Ontario schools say they want to talk more about building satisfying friendships in schools” you will never see us name a person or school. Seven years after collection of the data, everything will be destroyed. Participation in this research allows us to improve our workshops for future students and helps us give teachers better tools to teach you!

I’m a Parent, Guardian or Caregiver

If we’re working in your child’s school right now, we hope we can answer any questions you may have.

Parent / Guardian Consent

While all Grade 9 students will receive these workshops as part of their normal learning, parent or guardian consent is needed for students to take part in the evaluation of the intervention. The evaluation will include having students answer two 15 minute surveys about the topic of relationships (including frienships) and their thoughts on the program. This step is important because it will help us make the program better and more available to other students across Ontario.

The Curriculum

We have created a series of five, one-hour workshops focused on developing skills that will help students build satisfying relationships. These workshops complement the learning goals already in place in the Ontario Physical Health and Education Curriculum.

View the curriculum here

Parent information session

If we are working in your school, we are hosting a parent information session where you can ask more questions about our project. If you can’t come to the information session, but still have questions – connect with us at: