24-05-A — Call to End Harmful Education Policies

WHEREAS discrimination on the basis of gender identity and/or gender expression is illegal across Canada, but two-spirit, transgender, nonbinary and gender diverse (2STNBGD+) people continue to experience elevated rates of discrimination and violence;

WHEREAS 2STNBGD+ children and youth are at heightened risk of bullying, harassment, violence and rejection from peers and family members, contributing to increased levels of depression, suicidality and homelessness;

WHEREAS allowing 2STNBGD+ children and youth to use their chosen name is associated with decreased suicide ideation and improved mental health, and is consistent with their rights under articles 8, 12 and 13 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child;

WHEREAS the recent escalation of anti-2SLGBTQI+ rhetoric and violence results from several Canadian jurisdictions considering or enacting policies and legislation to force teachers to inform parents if a child wishes to be referred to by a different name or pronouns, contrary to the child’s privacy rights under article 16 of the UNCRC;

WHEREAS similar policies enacted internationally have demonstrated that “outing” 2STNBGD+ students may incentivize them to hide their gender identity, resulting in foreseeable physical, emotional and psychological harm, contrary to their rights under article 19 of the UNCRC;

WHEREAS these policies and legislation are promulgated under the guise of “parental rights” contrary to Articles 3, 5 and 12 of the UNCRC;

BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Canadian Bar Association condemn the use of the notwithstanding clause to enforce policies that force teachers to inform parents if a child wishes to be referred to by a different name or pronouns, and urge federal, provincial and territorial governments to:

  • immediately repeal policies that deny appropriate protections, safety and dignity for 2STNBGD+ children and youth, including policies that mandate disclosure of identities or exploration without the student's consent, or which fail to respect their proper names and pronouns; and
  • adopt inclusive school policies that protect and promote the wellbeing and autonomy of 2STNBGD+ students and other 2SLGBTQI+ individuals.

Moved by Sexual and Gender Diverse Alliance and Child and Youth Law Section

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