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Changes made to N.B.’s Policy 713 create new human rights issues: youth advocate

FREDERICTON — New Brunswick’s child and youth advocate says the latest changes made by the Education Department to the province’s policy on sexual orientation and gender identity in schools has made it more discriminatory.

Kelly Lamrock today released an addendum to his August report on the revamped policy, noting that his office’s main concerns about Policy 713 have not been addressed by the department.

Revisions to the policy announced by the Progressive Conservative government in June require students under 16 who are exploring their gender identity to have parental consent before teachers can use their preferred first names or pronouns at school.

The child and youth advocate’s initial review of the modified policy found the change to be a violation of children’s Charter rights.

Education Minister Bill Hogan responded last month by clarifying that psychologists, social workers and those in informal settings will be permitted to use children’s preferred names and pronouns without parental consent, but not teachers in formal atmospheres such as classrooms.

Hogan also said it would be up to teachers to establish whether a child’s desire to use a different name was motivated by gender questioning, which Lamrock says creates a double standard for straight and LGBTQ students.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 11, 2023.

The Canadian Press