In August, Saskatchewan introduced legislation that would require education workers to inform parents when a student uses a different name or pronoun at school, putting queer and trans young people at risk of potential violence and isolation in their homes. Forcing education workers to out youth creates a hostile work environment for 2SLGBTQI+ staff and opens all workers up to potential discipline when they defy the policy, to protect vulnerable students.
In September, a judge recognized the threat to young people’s safety and temporarily blocked the legislation. But Premier Scott Moe’s conservative government is recalling the legislature on October 10 to enact the notwithstanding clause and push the regressive legislation through anyway.
Moe’s attempt to bypass the Charter of Rights and Freedoms poses a threat to all constitutionally protected rights in Canada. Going after young people’s equality rights opens the door to other Charter violations that are fundamental to working people – including the right to freedom of association which allows workers to unionize and bargain collectively.
Attacking trans youth is yet another attempt by a right-wing government to sow division between marginalized people and distract from their anti-worker agenda. They are following the lead of extremist groups determined to scare parents by spreading disinformation, all under the guise of “protecting children.” If Moe and his allies really wanted to protect young people, they would uphold the Charter and support the workers who lift students up every day.
The Saskatchewan Federation of Labour organized a protest at the legislature on October 10. CUPE members were there to fight this attack on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and defend trans youth.