Judge rules challenge of Saskatchewan's pronoun law can proceed

REGINA — A judge has ruled a court challenge can proceed over the Saskatchewan government’s law requiring parental consent for children under 16 who want to change their names or pronouns at school.

Justice Michael Megaw says court can hear the challenge surrounding the Charter of Rights and Freedoms even if the Charter’s notwithstanding clause has been invoked.

Lawyers for UR Pride, an LGBTQ group in Regina, urged Megaw last month to allow the challenge, arguing the law limits the rights of gender−diverse youth who are entitled to a safe educational environment.

Lawyers for the Saskatchewan government urged the judge to dismiss the challenge on the grounds the law doesn’t breach the Charter and is in the best interest of gender−diverse children.

The province says the Charter wasn’t breached because Premier Scott Moe’s government used the notwithstanding clause to enact the law.

The notwithstanding clause is a rarely used measure that lets governments override certain Charter rights for five years.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 16, 2024.

The Canadian Press