The Saskatchewan government will use the notwithstanding clause of the Constitution and pass legislation this fall to ensure the province’s pronoun policy remains in place, Premier Scott Moe said Thursday.
Moe made the comment shortly after a judge granted an injunction to pause the policy that requires parental consent when children under 16 want to go by different names and pronouns at school.
Moe said in a statement he’s extremely dismayed by the injunction, calling it judicial overreach.
He said the policy has strong support from the majority of Saskatchewan residents and parents.
“The default position should never be to keep a child’s information from their parents,” Moe said.
“It is in the best interest of children to ensure parents are included in their children’s education, in their classrooms and in all important decisions involving their children.”
Moe said he will recall the legislative assembly on Oct. 10 and use the notwithstanding clause, a provision that allows governments to override certain Charter rights for up to five years.
Earlier Thursday, Court of King’s Bench Justice Michael Megaw ordered the injunction until a constitutional challenge can be heard in court.
“The protection of these youth surpasses that interest expressed by the government, pending a full and complete hearing into the constitutionality of this policy,” Megaw wrote in his 56-page decision.
“I find this to be one of those clear cases where injunctive relief is necessary to attempt to prevent the irreparable harm referred to pending a full hearing of this matter on its merits.”
Lawyers for UR Pride sought the injunction, arguing the policy could cause teachers to out or misgender children and that it violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Saskatchewan’s child advocate Lisa Broda has also said it violates rights to gender identity and expression.
The constitutional challenge is set to be heard in court in November.
Jeremy Simes, The Canadian Press
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Sept. 28, 2023.