A Saskatchewan judge is to hear an injunction application that seeks to stop the province’s policy affecting children who use different pronouns in school.
According to the policy, if children under 16 want to go to school with a different name or pronoun, they must get parental consent.
Lawyers from UR Pride, an organization representing LGBTQ people in Regina, are to argue in favor of the injunction.
Lawyers at Eagle Canada and McCarthy Tetreault LLP say the policy violates two sections of the Charter, including equality rights and the right to security of person.
Premier Scott Moe has said his government is committed to the policy and said the province will do everything in its power to protect parents’ rights.
Moe said he would consider using the rule’s contrary clause, a provision that allows governments to waive certain Charter rights for up to five years, to keep the policy in place.
Lawyers for UR Pride have said the injunction application is intended to temporarily halt the policy as it works its way through the courts and until a judge makes a final decision.
On Monday, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the John Howard Society and the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund sought intervenor status in the case, arguing they have expertise that could be helpful to the court.
Mitch McAdam, a lawyer for the province, argued that the organizations would not add much to the debate.
Justice Michael Megaw reserved his decision on granting intervener status, saying he would decide as soon as possible.
The judge gave both sides time till October 6 to present their evidence. If permission is granted, cross-examination will take place later that month. After this, arguments are expected to be heard from November 20.
McAdam said the attorney general has to rely on “parental rights” in defending the policy.
“It’s true that the attorney general will be focused on the role of schools, what role schools play in these difficult situations, and in these cases of conflict — or potential conflict — between children and their parents,” he said.
In her report released last week, Saskatchewan child advocate Lisa Broda said the province’s pronoun policy violates the rights of gender identity and expression.