Saskatchewan prohibits schools from keeping students' gender transition secret from parents

"Our government will take action to ensure the rights of Saskatchewan parents are protected."

The Saskatchewan legislature passed a landmark bill Friday that will guarantee that children under the age of 16 cannot change their gender or pronouns at school without parental consent. 

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe championed the legislation and invoked the notwithstanding clause of the Canadian Constitution to ensure that courts could not block the bill by appealing to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms or Saskatchewan’s Human Rights Code.

“This is opening up the very right for parents to be involved in their child's education and their child's life,” Premier Scott Moe said Friday after the final vote.

The provincial government said the new law is only codifying education protocols that are already working in most school districts and merely ensures that parents are not left out of their children’s education. The legislation also allows school support staff to intervene if a child raises any concerns of physical, emotional or mental harm resulting from parental knowledge.

Moe pledged to use the notwithstanding clause after the bill became the target of court challenges from activist groups. He made the announcement on X, promising to bring representatives back to the provincial legislative assembly to proceed immediately.

“Our government is extremely dismayed by the judicial overreach of the court blocking implementation of the Parental Inclusion and Consent Policy—a policy which has the strong support of a majority of Saskatchewan residents, in particular, Saskatchewan parents,” he said.

“Our government will take action to ensure the rights of Saskatchewan parents are protected and that this policy is implemented by recalling the Legislative Assembly and using the notwithstanding clause of the Canadian constitution to pass legislation to protect parental rights.”

The provincial teachers’ union has opposed the policy.

The president of the Saskatchewan Teachers Federation, Samantha Becotte, made that position very clear in an Aug. 22 post on X: “The new parental inclusion and consent policies are dangerous and a threat to the safety and well-being of students.

“The Federation is calling on the government to reverse this policy decision and engage in meaningful consultation with its sector partners and expert teachers,” she said.

In an accompanying video, the president alleged that the legislation “not only handcuffs teachers' ability to build trust, it also dangerously threatens the safety and well-being of Saskatchewan students."
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