This case is about discrimination against trans, non-binary, and gender-diverse students.
LEAF is intervening before the Saskatchewan Court of King’s Bench.
Weeks before the start of the school year, without notice or consultation, the Saskatchewan government adopted a policy called “Use of Preferred First Name and Pronouns by Students.” The Policy imposes specific requirements for students under the age of 16 who “wish to change their pronouns and/or preferred first name to align with their gender identity”. The Policy only permits school personnel to refer to a trans, non-binary, or gender-diverse student under the age of 16 by their proper name and pronouns if their parent consents. It also requires school personnel to seek parental consent when a student asks that their “preferred name, gender identity, and/or gender expression be used.”
The UR Pride Centre for Sexuality and Gender Diversity commenced a Charter challenge to the Policy before the Saskatchewan Court of King’s Bench. It argues that the Policy limits the ss. 7 (security of the person) and 15 (equality) Charter rights of trans, non-binary, and gender-diverse students under the age of 16.
LEAF will argue that, for a substantive equality approach to s. 15, the Court must consider the specific impact of the Policy on trans and non-binary students. The Court must also consider the best interests of the child, and the prospect of family violence or other forms of abuse. There is a need for appropriate limits on parental control of children to oppose harms to trans and non-binary children, and to promote their best interests.
The Saskatchewan Court of King’s Bench will hear arguments in this case on November 20-21, 2023.
LEAF is grateful to Morgan Camley, Raphael Eghan, Barbara Grossman, and Chloe Snider of Dentons Canada LLP, counsel to LEAF in this case.