Saskatchewan government facing legal action over student pronoun decision

Click to play video: 'Premier Scott Moe comments on recent ‘inclusive’ education policy changes concerning gender and sexual education'
Premier Scott Moe comments on recent ‘inclusive’ education policy changes concerning gender and sexual education
WATCH: Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe commented on recent education policies on Tuesday after cabinet shuffling saying "it's by design an inclusive policy meant to bring parents closer to the classroom and it's supported by 86 per cent of Saskatchewan residents according to polling." – Aug 29, 2023

The government of Saskatchewan has received a letter on Tuesday signed by multiple LGBTQ2 organizations, urging the Ministry of Education to delay the implementation of their new policy that forces gender diverse students to use their birth names.

The organizations say they will take legal action on Wednesday, Aug. 30, if the government does not delay the policy and review it.

Legal teams from Egale Canada and McCarthy Tétrault LLP will represent the UR Pride Centre for Sexuality and Gender Diversity, a non-profit service provider housed at the University of Regina, who sent a letter to the government on Tuesday.

The letter is addressed to the freshly-appointed Minister of Education, Jeremy Cockrill. It says that the recent policy decision by the ministry to have gender diverse students use their birth names will, “cause devastating and irreparable harm to gender diverse students under 16 years old who do not feel safe coming out at home.”

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The organizations plan to file an injunction on Wednesday at the Court of King’s Bench, which would delay the implementation of the policy until the court can determine its lawfulness.

Egale Canada argues that the policy violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

“Specifically charter 7 and charter 15,” Bennet Jensen, legal director with Egale Canada, explains.

“It seems that this policy was implemented without any consultation and without any evidence that this would benefit the students involved. We believe this policy singles out gender diverse students and discriminates against them (Charter 15) and can cause harm to them when implemented (charter 7),” Jensen said.

Jensen believes they have a strong case as courts have ruled in favour of gender diverse students before. He says it is very likely that the court will rule the policy unconstitutional.

When asked during a press conference while announcing changes to his cabinet, Premier Scott Moe said that the government does not plan to delay the implementation of the policy and was unfazed when asked about potential legal action.

The Premier emphasized that the policy is an inclusive one and aims to include parents more in the education of their children, saying the policy was asked for by Saskatchewan parents.

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