Minister of Education tries to straddle rights of students with the rights of parents to know when there is a gender change

By Pepper Parr

August 28th, 2023



During the Minister of Education media event earlier today a reporter asked:

Will Ontario bring in policies like we’ve seen in New Brunswick and Saskatchewan to require that parents be informed if their children change gender identity at school?

Minister of Education got tossed questions that needed delicate answers. He did Ok.

Minister responds
Look, I think it’s important to note that every school must be safe for every child. I think we understand, though, that parents must be fully involved and fully aware of what’s happening in the life of their children. I mean, often there are health implications. And I think we have to respect the rights of parents recognizing that these can be life changing decisions, and I think parents want to be involved so that they can support their kids. And I think that’s a really important principle that we must uphold.

Reporter follows up with:
Are you going to require legislation ?

We’re simply making clear as a province that we believe parents should be fully involved fully aware of what’s happening to their children; these are significant changes and they have a right to know. And so we would expect school boards to be transparent with parents.


How do you respond to the criticism we’ve heard that it puts some LGBTQ kids at risk, where maybe they’re not, you know, their home environments, not a safe place for them to be out or to have a different gender identity?

A transgendered person matters. It is a tricky question – there is no simple, clear cut answer.

This is why lead with recognition. Safety must prevail the safety of the child both at home and school, for there are exceptional circumstances where there can be situations of potential harm to a child educators are well versed on exactly what to do and who to turn to. If they believe that child may be harmed for whatever reason or whatever circumstance – we will always safeguard the rights of children to be safe will always ensure that that is the case. Educators do amazing work in recognizing the signs and the changes in behaviour and energy and attitude.

They really do wear many hats and we’re grateful for what they do. But there’s a well-established protocol to ensure the safety of children and I have every confidence that what has been the case for many years will continue to be that they can leverage those that protocol if they believe something potentially could put the child at risk.

Is as an overarching value system, I really do believe that parents need to be fully aware, fully engaged in school boards and to be transparent with parents. I mean, they are the legal guardians. They love their kids. They want to be aware of what’s happening in the life of their children in their schools. And I think that that is really important that they know.

Your position is that they should but there’s not a requirement to report or like anything like any directive like that from the Ministry of Education.

School boards will have policies. I’m just affirming the provinces position on the matter quite clearly, which is parents have a right to know and we will respect parental rights. We think boards must do the same.

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