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Court battle over Sask. school gender policy to resume next month | CBC News

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The court battle surrounding the Saskatchewan government’s controversial school gender policy isn’t over.

In August, the province directed schools to require parental consent for any student under 16 wishing to change their pronouns or gendered name.

Lawyers for UR Pride Centre for Sexuality and Gender Diversity sought an injunction against the policy, arguing it could cause teachers to out or misgender children and that it violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The province then pushed through a piece of legislation that invoked the notwithstanding clause to protect the new rule from legal challenges.

Bennett Jensen of Egale Canada admitted the notwithstanding clause trumps the previous argument, but said the legal claim has been amended.

It now argues the law amounts to “cruel and unusual punishment” of a vulnerable population, a violation of Section 12 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The law — and the notwithstanding clause — applies only to other charter sections, according to their argument.

“So I hope that we can all stay focused on why we’re doing that, which is just to try to make sure that all students in Saskatchewan and across the country have the ability to attend school in a safe and inclusive way,” Jensen said.

Initial arguments will be heard in January, Jensen said. He said Egale is hoping to have the law struck down.

“Even though the government has used the notwithstanding clause, the court should still rule on whether the substance of the legislation is the policy violates the charter rights of young people,” he said.

Saskatchewan’s Justice Minister Bronwyn Eyre said the province will defend its position.

“We’ve always said that we’ll do everything that we need to to see this now legislation through, and we have to now see where this goes,” sh said.

Eyre said the government will use every tool available to protect parents’ rights, and dismissed the claim that the law constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.

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