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Judge outs Sask government under-16 pronoun policy

Regina Court of King’s Bench has paused the Saskatchewan government’s move to have parental consent for children under 16 who want to change their pronouns or given names to affirm their gender identity at school.

On Thursday Justice Michael Megaw paused the policy ahead of another legal move on whether the policy goes against a child’s right to security and privacy.

Megaw in a ruling writes that the children affected “will suffer irreparable harm.”

The province is maintaining that parents’ rights be upheld and is reviewing the ruling against its Parental Inclusion and Consent policy. It has expressed the view that parents be consulted if a child decides to change their name and pronouns and adds that the policy has been misinterpreted.

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The policy which was announced in August has come under fire from several quarters with the Saskatchewan Advocate for Children viewing it as a violation of provincial and federal human rights codes.

Premier Scott Moe may still use the notwithstanding clause in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to push the policy through and is recalling the legislature on Oct. 10. If implemented the government can bypass the court’s ruling for five years.

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