Court arguments begin over injunction for Saskatchewan’s school pronoun policy

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Court arguments begin over injunction for Saskatchewan’s school pronoun policy
The struggle over Saskatchewan's school pronoun policy was heard in court today. U of R Pride is asking a judge to issue an injunction stopping it until the case gets a full hearing. Our Moosa Imran has more from court – Sep 19, 2023

A Saskatchewan judge heard an injunction application Tuesday that is fighting the province’s new pronoun policy in schools.

Lawyers representing UR Pride said the policy violates two sections of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, including equality rights and the right to security of the person.

Adam Goldenberg, a lawyer representing the group, told court on Tuesday that the province’s policy is discriminatory, as it results in teachers misgendering students who aren’t able to get parental consent.

The new government policy, introduced by the Ministry of Education in August, requires children under the age of 16 to have parental consent to use different names or pronouns in school.

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The lawyers said the injunction application is meant to stop the policy temporarily until the judge makes a decision.

Goldenberg said the policy outs students, potentially putting them in harm if they aren’t accepted at home.

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Last week, Saskatchewan child advocate Lisa Broda also said the policy violates Charter rights, specifically rights to gender identity and expression.

The province’s legal team has not yet spoken in court.

Premier Scott Moe has said his government will remain committed to the policy, saying the province will do everything in its power to protect parental rights, including using the Charter’s notwithstanding clause.

The clause would allow the government to enact the law regardless of whether it violates certain human rights — and claimants would not be able to take the government to court over it.

Justice Michael Megaw, who is hearing the injunction application, granted five organizations intervener status: the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the John Howard Society, the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund, the Gender Dysphoria Alliance and Alberta-based Parents for Choice in Education.

— with files from Global News’ Brody Langager and The Canadian Press

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