Saskatchewan has officially become the third province to defend parental rights as it moves to mandate parental consent for students under 16.
On Tuesday, Education Minister Dustin Duncan announced new parental 'inclusion and consent' policies for Saskatchewan schools that his government will implement, effective immediately.
Parental consent for students under 16 will now be required to change a student's name or pronouns at their school. Parental consent is not required for students 16 and over, reads a government statement.
Like Manitoba's proposed amendments to the Public School Act, the Saskatchewan Party also compels educators to inform parents about the sexual health education curriculum. They must also provide parents the option to decline their children's participation.
"Our government has heard the concerns raised by Saskatchewan parents about needing to be notified and included in their children's education in these important areas," Duncan told reporters.
He attributed the need for these policies to consolidate standards in these matters, as "those policies varied from one division to another."
"It was important to standardize these policies and ensure consistency of parental inclusion, no matter where your child goes to school," said Duncan.
While NDP leader Carla Back concurred with Duncan that "parent involvement is critical in every student's education," she deviated from the governing Saskatchewan Party, calling the new policies "a new low."
"We don't support outing kids and putting them at greater risk," she said. "And let's be clear. What we saw from the minister will put vulnerable kids at greater risk."
Beck told CTV News the announcement is a response to the Saskatchewan United Party, a new right-of-centre movement, which took 23% of the vote in a recent rural by-election.
"It certainly isn't a policy designed to improve our schools or make our classrooms more welcoming," she said.
When asked by a reporter if the new policies were "transphobic," Beck said "yes."
"I am deeply frustrated, and quite frankly angry, that this is what the education minister in our province spent his summer doing."
Premier Scott Moe defended his education minister's announcement, posting that "parents must be included in all important decisions involving their children."
"Schools will continue to ensure safe learning environments where all students feel included, protected and respected," said Duncan.
In addition, the education ministry said that the province's education boards must also immediately pause involvement with any third-party organization, such as the ARC Foundation and the SOGI 123 Program, pending a ministerial review.
"Only teachers, not outside third parties, will be able to present sexual education materials in the classroom," said a government release.