History of TASCC

TASCC was first launched in 2011. It was developed for service providers working with high risk youth, such as those street-involved. TASCC was relaunched in 2016. TASCC now includes information for parents and service providers of youth with disabilities in addition to updated information for service providers working with high risk youth. TASCC was made possible through funding by PolicyWise for Children & Families, previously the Alberta Centre for Child, Family & Community Research (ACCFCR).






The purpose of TASCC is to provide a venue for parents and service providers to access current resources and information that reflects best practice in sexual health education and promotion. TASCC offers practical tools and strategies for working with high risk youth and youth with disabilities. TASCC is a platform for online training, a vehicle for knowledge transfer, and a sexual health resource for service providers, parents and their youth.


Sexuality is an important part of the overall wellness of all people. Although all Canadians have a right to sexuality education not all youth receive it.


Most “mainstream” youth receive sexuality education in their home and/or school. High risk youth, such as street-involved youth, do not have this opportunity because many drop out of school or have no contact with their parents (PHAC, 2008).


It is important that those who provide direct services to youth outside of traditional school settings have the ability to address their sexual health concerns, or at the very least, refer them to somebody who can.


In a qualitative study of Calgary service providers working with high risk youth, participants said they need more information, resources and support to better assist the youth they work with (Lokanc-Diluzio, 2014).


For more information on why TASCC was developed for service providers working with high risk youth, click here.


Youth with disabilities who do not receive sexuality education that is inclusive to their needs, are vulnerable to abuse, sexual exploitation, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV, social isolation, and lower quality of life (PHAC, 2013).


Youth with disabilities need support and understanding from their families and caregivers to transition through healthy development (PHAC, 2013). However, it may be difficult for families and caregivers to fill this role, when they themselves need support.


In a needs assessment of Calgary parents and service providers of children and youth with disabilities, respondents said they need more information about sexuality to better support their children and youth.


For more information on why TASCC was developed for parents and service providers of youth with disabilities, click here.


Throughout this website, you will see various terms. Here we provide some definitions of those terms:


Sex refers to the “biological characteristics that define humans as female or male. While these sets of biological characteristics are not mutually exclusive, as there are individuals who possess both, they tend to differentiate humans as males and females. In general use in many languages, the term sex is often used to mean ‘sexual activity,’ but for technical purposes in the context of sexuality and sexual health discussions, the above definition is preferred” (WHO, 2015).


Sexuality “a central aspect of being human throughout life, which encompasses sex, gender identity and role, sexual orientation, eroticism, pleasure, intimacy and reproduction. Sexuality is experienced and expressed in thoughts, fantasies, desires, beliefs, attitudes, values, behaviour, practices, roles and relationships. While sexuality can include all these dimensions, not all of them are always experienced or expressed. Sexuality is influenced by the interaction of biological, psychological, social, economic, political, cultural, ethical, legal, historical, religious and spiritual factors” (WHO, 2015). For more information, see the sexuality wheel.

Sexual health

Sexual Health is “a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence. For sexual health to be attained and maintained, the sexual rights of all persons must be respected, protected and fulfilled” (WHO, 2015).

Sexuality Education

Sexuality Education “is the process of equipping individuals, couples, families and communities with the information, motivation and behavioural skills needed to enhance sexual health and avoid negative sexual health outcomes. Sexual health education is a broadly based, community-supported process that requires the full participation of educational, medical, public health, social welfare and legal institutions in our society. It involves an individual’s personal, family, religious, social and cultural values in understanding and making decisions about sexual behaviour and implementing those decisions. Effective sexual health education maintains an open and nondiscriminatory dialogue that respects individual beliefs. It is sensitive to the diverse needs of individuals irrespective of their age, race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic background, physical/cognitive abilities and religious background” (PHAC, 2008, p. 5).

“Although the issue of sexual health is vital for all children and youth, it is especially important for youth transitioning from teenagers to adults as it provides them with self-care and safety skills necessary for healthy relationships in adulthood.”


“It’s pretty hard when you’re a youth, right? I was raised in foster care… I was never taught anything about sex, and I had to learn on my own, which is really hard… There’s a lot of confusion with that, you know?”


“Service providers really need current, up-to-date, basic information. Particularly about STI’s… The basic overview – what’s normal, what’s abnormal, where you should go, how you should get treated, what kind of follow-up you need to have in the area of STI.”



The Sexuality Wheel shows how broad the concept of sexuality really is. Each spoke of the wheel represents one part of who we are, all connected and influenced by each other. The spokes on the left show who we are by nature. The ones on the right show who we are taught to be. When all of the wheel’s spokes are in good shape, the wheel moves freely and smoothly; when all parts of our self are healthy, our sexuality is healthy.



The three main models used to inform this website are the Information-Motivation-Behavioral Skills Model, the Population Health Promotion Model, and the principles of primary health care.

The Information-Motivation-Behavioral Skills (IMB) model is commonly used to guide the development of sexual health programming (PHAC, 2008). According to Fisher & Fisher (1998), there is evidence that information, motivation, and behavioral skills are linked to performing sexual health behaviors.

The IMB model proposes that information regarding sexual health, motivation to take action on this information, and behavioral skills for taking action are essential influencers of the initiation and maintenance of “healthy” behaviors. According to the model, an “individual’s information and motivation work primarily through his or her behavior skills to affect behavior” (p. 42).

The IMB model suggests that pertinent, practical, age and developmentally appropriate information that is relevant to the life circumstances of an individual is needed for implementing and maintaining healthy sexual practices (Fisher & Fisher, 1998).

The IMB model affirms that motivation to take action on healthy behaviors rests upon three factors: personal, emotional and social motivation. The first factor, personal motivation, is the attitudes and beliefs one holds related to healthy behaviors. The second factor, emotional motivation, is the positive and negative emotions related to healthy behaviors. The third factor, social motivation, is the beliefs regarding social norms or social support for healthy behaviors (Fisher & Fisher, 1998).

Although applicable information and motivational aspects are significant components in the adoption of healthy behaviors, possessing appropriate behavior skills is needed to ensure healthy behaviors actually occur. Behavior skills consist of both objective abilities to induce healthy behaviors (e.g., correct condom use) and the self-efficacy for implementing those behaviors (Fisher & Fisher, 1998).

For additional information on the IMB model and how to apply it, see The Canadian Guidelines for Sexual Health Education.

Canadian Guidelines for Sexual Health Education

The overall goal of the Population Health Promotion Model (Hamilton & Bhatti, 1996) is to improve the health of the population through a comprehensive approach. Population health is an approach that addresses the entire range of factors that determine health and, by so doing, affects the health of the entire population.


Health promotion is commonly defined as a process for enabling people to take control over and improve their health. Population Health Promotion explains the relationship between population health and health promotion.


It shows how a population health approach can be implemented through action on the full range of health determinants by means of health promotion strategies. Action needs to be taken on the full range of health determinants which include: income and social status, social support networks, education, working conditions, physical environments, biology and genetics, personal health practices and coping skills, healthy child development, health services, gender, and culture.


A comprehensive set of action strategies needs to be used to bring about the necessary changes. Action needs to be taken at various levels of society in order for change to be effective and accomplished (Hamilton & Bhatti, 1996).


For more information on the Population Health Promotion Model, see:

Public Health Agency of Canada

Primary health care is…


“essential health care based on practical, scientifically sound and socially acceptable methods and technology made universally accessible to individuals and families in the community through their full participation and at a cost that the community and country can afford to maintain at every stage of their development in the spirit of self-reliance and self-determination”


(World Health Organization, 1978, p. 1)

There are five principles of primary health care:


  • Health promotion and disease/illness prevention.
  • The use of appropriate knowledge, skills, resources, and technology.
  • Individual and community participation.
  • Accessible health services.
  • Partnerships with various disciplines and sectors (Community Health Nurses Association of Canada, 2008).

These principles are at the heart of public health practice and paramount to promoting the sexual health of high risk groups.






A low income 16 year old sexually active female can lower her risk for STIs and pregnancy by using condoms.


In terms of information, the youth needs age and developmentally appropriate information regarding what a condom is, how to use a condom correctly and where to access free or low cost condoms. She may also need some basic information regarding anatomy and physiology, STI and pregnancy.


Positive personal motivation for condom use may include that she believes that the condoms will prevent STI. Negative personal motivation for condom use may include that she believes condoms will take the spontaneity out of intercourse and they will detract from sexual pleasure. Additionally, she secretly may want to get pregnant so that she has someone to love and someone who will love her back. Positive emotional motivation for condom use may include feeling good about preventing STI.


Whereas negative emotional motivation may include feeling embarrassed to access condoms or being afraid to speak with her partner about using condoms. Positive social motivation may include having a support of peers who use condoms; whereas negative social motivation may include having a partner that doesn’t like using them.


Behaviour skills may include developing the skills through applying the knowledge of where to access the condoms (e.g., actually going to the store), applying the knowledge of how to use a condom (e.g., practice opening the package and practicing applying one correctly), practicing how to broach the topic with her partner, and practicing condom negotiation.


TASCC is organized into two portals:

High Risk Youth Portal

Youth With Disabilities Portal


We thank PolicyWise for Children & Families for funding this website as part of two research projects. For more information please visit: PolicyWise. .

We also thank:


  • The service providers and parents who shared their perspectives regarding the information they need in order to better support their youth.
  • The service providers from the PREP Program, Janus Academy and New Heights School who supported this project.
  • The sexual and reproductive health promotion specialists, nurses and community educators with Alberta Health Services Sexual & Reproductive Health (Calgary Zone) for their commitment and hard work in preparing the content for this web site.
  • The parents/guardians, educators, public health nurses, and other service providers who focus tested the website and provided their feedback.
  • The Faculty of Nursing at the University of Calgary for guidance and support of this project. We would particularly like to acknowledge the support of Dr. Sandra Reilly.
  • Oliver & Spence Creative Agency for their creativity. Their contribution on the new branding and design brought this website to life.


The TASCC.ca web site is for educational use about topics related to the sexual health of high risk youth and youth with disabilities. The site presents a broad range of information in order to facilitate the ability of users to make knowledgeable choices.

By using TASCC.ca, you acknowledge that you understand and agree that the information contained in or provided through this website is intended for general understanding and education only. This website is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.


Users are able to link from TASCC to many other sites that present information on sexual health. Although these links have been carefully selected, TASCC does not necessarily endorse the content of these sites, nor does it assume any liability for any information on those sites. The content of linked sites may change periodically and without notice.


As a user of this website, you have permission to use (display or print) the information for your own professional, non-commercial use, provided the information is not modified. If you reproduce any material, please request permission from TASCC.


Community Health Nurses Association of Canada (CHNAC). (2008). Canadian community health nursing standards of practice. Retrieved from http://www.chnc.ca/documents/chn_standards_of_practice_mar08_english.pdf


Fisher, W.A., & Fisher, J.D. (1998). Understanding and promoting sexual and reproductive health behavior: Theory and method. Annual Review of Sex Research, 9, 39-76.


Lokanc-Diluzio, W. (2014). A mixed methods study of service provider capacity development to protect and promote the sexual and reproductive health of street-involved youth: An evaluation of two training approaches. (Doctoral dissertation). Available from http://hdl.handle.net/11023/1507


Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). (2008). Canadian guidelines for sexual health education. Retrieved from http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/publicat/cgshe-ldnemss/index-eng.php


World Health Organization (WHO). (2015). Sexual and reproductive health. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/topics/sexual_health/sh_definitions/en/


World Health Organization (WHO). (1978). Declaration of Alma-Ata. Retrieved from http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/113877/E93944.pdf