CUPE strongly condemns Alberta Premier Danielle Smith’s plan to introduce the most regressive set of attacks on 2SLGBTQI+ youth our country has ever seen.

Smith announced that her government will introduce a policy requiring educators to get parental consent before a young person can use a different name or pronoun at school. This may force education workers to out trans youth, putting them at serious risk of violence and isolation in their homes. Governments in New Brunswick and Saskatchewan enacted similar policies last year.

The UCP government is planning to take its attacks even further. The government will ban access to life-saving gender-affirming care for trans young people and bar trans women from women’s sports. It will also force schools to have government officials vet their teaching on gender and sexuality, and allow parents to exempt their children from sexual health education.

These policies will rob teenagers in Alberta of information they need to make choices about their health, and the freedom to be their authentic selves at school.

In September 2023, a Saskatchewan judge temporarily blocked the implementation of the provincial government’s policy requiring parental consent for new names or pronouns, recognizing the threat to young people’s safety. In response, the Saskatchewan government used the notwithstanding clause to prevent a constitutional challenge to the legislation.

In New Brunswick, CUPE 2745 is seeking intervener status in a case aiming to stop similar policy. The provincial Child and Youth Advocate has already called for the policy to be scrapped, but the government has not backed down.

These efforts are part of a growing scaremongering campaign to spread disinformation about trans people, especially trans youth. CUPE members will not stand by as governments and far right groups try to put trans young people in danger, sow division and score political points. We will use every tool we have to ensure that young people are safe and free, and workers are allowed to protect them.

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