Saskatchewan judge to hear request for injunction over school pronoun policy

A Saskatchewan judge is set to hear an application for an injunction to stop the province’s policy affecting children who use different pronouns in school.

Lawyers for UR Pride, an organization representing LGBTQ2 people in Regina, are expected to argue for the injunction.

Lawyers from Egale Canada and McCarthy Tetrault LLP say the policy violates two sections of the Charter, including equality rights and the right to security of the person.

The policy requires that children under the age of 16 receive consent from their parents if they wish to use a different name or pronoun at school.

Premier Scott Moe said his government remains committed to the policy and the province will do everything in its power to protect parental rights.

Moe said that to keep the policy in place, he would consider using the notwithstanding clause, a provision that allows governments to override certain Charter rights for up to five years.

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UR Pride attorneys said the injunction request seeks to temporarily halt the policy while it works its way through court and until a judge makes a decision.

On Monday, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the John Howard Society and the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund requested intervener status in the case, arguing they have expertise that could be helpful in court.

Mitch McAdam, the province’s lawyer, argued the organizations would add little to the debate.

Judge Michael Megaw reserved his decision to grant intervenor status, saying he will rule as soon as he can.

The judge gave both sides until October 6 to submit evidence. If the request is granted, cross-examinations will take place later this month. Arguments are then expected to be heard from November 20.

McAdam said the attorney general had to rely on “parental rights” to defend the policy.

“It is true that the attorney general will focus on the role of schools, what is the role of schools in these very difficult situations and in these cases of conflict – or potential conflict – between children and their parents,” he said. -he adds.

In her report released last week, Saskatchewan child advocate Lisa Broda said the province’s pronoun policy violates rights to gender identity and expression.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published September 19, 2023.

&copy 2023 The Canadian Press

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