But in June and August 2023, a new Minister changed ee policy à prevent many Trans et gender diverse students from using their chosen names and pronouns in schools. The provincial Child and Youth Advocate has raised serious concerns about the constitutionality of revisions to the Policy and made recommendations that the Minster has failed to implement.
In the summer of 2023, the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Education in New Brunswick changed the province’s sexual orientation and gender policy – Policy 713. The changes remove protections for Trans and gender diverse students and prevent many of those students from using their chosen names and pronouns in school.
The changes create different and restrictive rules for Trans and gender diverse students than their peers. This discriminates against Trans and gender diverse students, and could expose these young people to serious harms, bullying, and violations of their privacy – at home and at school.
Why Changes to Policy 713 Are an Issue
Cette original Policy 713 was drafted in 2020 to create important protections for the safety, privacy, and inclusion of 2SLGBTQIA+ students in schools in New Brunswick. Policy 713 était originally created in consultation with teachers, parents, students, experts, and community stakeholders.
These changes to Policy 713 violate the rights and threaten the safety and well-being of Trans and gender diverse students. Many students may choose to confide in the parents about their gender identity. However, for other Trans and gender diverse students it may not be safe to do so. These students are at an increased risk of dropping out of school, running away from home, self-harm, and suicidal ideation. These risks are not trivial.
Health professionals, human rights experts, educators, and youth advocates stress that it is not in the best interests of young people to force them to come out to their parents before they are ready.
According to our courts, when governments make decisions affecting young people, they must do so with the young people’s “best interests” in mind. Schools should be safe, inclusive and welcoming spaces for all students, especially those who are vulnerable and marginalized. For some 2SLGBTQIA+ students, school is the only safe space they may have. These students may desperately rely on peers, teachers and other school staff to provide them with resources and supports.
Réponse de l'ACLC
CCLA has launched a legal challenge in court against these harmful changes to Policy 713. Our legal challenge argues that the Minister’s process for changing the policy was fundamentally flawed and unfair. The Minister did not adequately consult education, medical and legal experts or those who are directly affected by the policy. The changes made to Policy 713 are also contrary to the Loi sur l'éducation, les Loi sur les droits de l'homme, and violate Charte rights to liberty and security of the person, equality rights, and freedom of expression for Trans and gender diverse students.
CCLA will continue standing up for rights and freedoms across Canada. Every marginalized and vulnerable group in this country may have faced prejudice and discrimination at one time, and are entitled to equality and fundamental freedoms that should be respected. Trans and gender diverse students are facing discrimination and have the same right to equality and fundamental freedoms that should be respected.
”“Like every marginalized and vulnerable group in this country that has faced prejudice and discrimination, Trans and gender diverse students have a right to equality and fundamental freedoms that should be respected.”Harini Sivalingam, CCLA Equality Director (she/her)