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Pronoun case adjourned as province applies for leave to appeal judge's decision allowing challenge

Pronoun case adjourned as province applies for leave to appeal judge's decision allowing challenge
Pronoun case adjourned as province applies for leave to appeal judge's decision allowing challenge

اخبار العرب-كندا 24: الاثنين 26 فبراير 2024 06:35 مساءً

Court proceedings for the Saskatchewan government's school pronoun and naming law will not be held this week due to applications made by the provincial government.  (Kirk Fraser/CBC - image credit)

Court proceedings for the Saskatchewan government's school pronoun and naming law will not be held this week due to applications made by the provincial government. (Kirk Fraser/CBC - image credit)

The court challenge of the Saskatchewan government's school naming and pronoun policy will not be heard this week as the government seeks leave to appeal a judge's decision and a stay of proceedings.

On Feb. 16, Justice Michael Megaw ruled the court challenge could proceed regarding the law which requires parental consent for children under 16 who want to change their names or pronouns at school.

On Monday, a spokesperson for the Saskatchewan courts indicated the proceedings scheduled to start this week would be adjourned.

The court challenge was launched last year by UR Pride, a 2SLGBTQ+ group in Regina. Egale Canada is representing UR Pride as co-counsel.

"Unfortunately, the government of Saskatchewan has indicated that it will seek leave to appeal the decision of Justice Megaw granting UR Pride's application to amend its originating application to challenge Bill 137 and allow the case to proceed," said Bennett Jensen, the legal director at Egale Canada, in an email.

Jensen said the government indicated it "will be seeking a stay of the Court of King's Bench proceedings."

Megaw ruled the case could continue through the court process even with the notwithstanding clause invoked in the government's Bill 137, which passed into law last fall.

"The Saskatchewan Court of King's Bench has already found that the Saskatchewan government's pronoun policy (now enacted into legislation) will inflict irreparable harm on vulnerable young people," Jensen said.

"In response to that ruling, the government took the unprecedented step of using the notwithstanding clause to limit the rights of gender-diverse students. The Court has again found in our favour — that our case must proceed."

Jensen said UR Pride will oppose the government's applications.

"Our priority in this case will always be protecting trans and gender-diverse youth and seeking to end the harm being inflicted upon them as quickly as possible."

Story continues

Government response

Saskatchewan's Justice Minister and Attorney General Bronwyn Eyre released a statement following the Feb. 16 decision.

"Saskatchewan respects the role that the Court of King's Bench plays in Canadian law. At the same time, we respectfully disagree with this decision and believe that the primary responsibility for determining issues of competing rights claims and policy issues lies with the provincial government," the statement said.

"The notwithstanding clause was created to ensure that this power remained with provincial legislatures, and ultimately the people, when required."

On Monday, Eyre said the government was moving forward with its case to the appeal process.

"Government believes there is significant merit to moving this case to the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal for a decision on leave to appeal and a stay of the Court of King's Bench proceedings. The parties have agreed to adjourn the Court of King's Bench proceedings until the Court of Appeal has made a decision on these issues," Eyre said in an email.

Eyre said the government would not provide any further comment.

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