Welcome To
Acadia Broadcasting NewsThe Latest and Greatest ContentYour Trusted Local Source


Kelly Lamrock is New Brunswick's child, youth and seniors' advocate. Image: Submitted

Watchdog begins review of Policy 713

By Brad Perry Jun 29, 2023 | 6:14 AM

New Brunswick’s child and youth advocate has launched his review of proposed changes to Policy 713.

The review was requested by the Liberals, who put forward a motion in the legislature earlier in June.

That motion passed 26-20, with six Progressive Conservative MLAs voting in favour of the review.

“I am an officer of the Legislative Assembly. A vote of the majority of the House is binding upon me,” Child and Youth Advocate Kelly Lamrock said in a tweet shortly after the vote.

On Wednesday, Lamrock confirmed his review of the government’s policy on LGBTQ+ students in schools was underway.

Changes to the policy ban teachers from using a child under 16’s preferred name or pronoun, both formally and informally, without parental consent.

Students have always required parental consent for their preferred first name and pronouns to be officially used. But the previous policy allowed for a path forward if the school was unable to get parental consent.

“If it is not possible to obtain parental consent for the use of the preferred first name, a plan will be put in place to support the student in managing the use of the preferred name in the learning environment,” said the policy.

However, this will no longer be the case when changes made to the policy come into effect on July 1.

Instead, school professionals, such as social workers or psychologists, will work with students to help them speak with their parents — if and when they are ready to do so.

Another change to the policy relates to wording surrounding participation in school activities, including sports.

The previous policy all students will be able to participate in activities “that are safe, welcoming, and consistent with their gender identity.” The new policy removes any mention of gender identity.

The government also reviewed a section of the policy that allows access to washroom facilities on the basis of gender identity.

No changes were made to the existing sections, but a section was added which says: “Private universal changing areas will be available in all schools.”

The advocate said he will consider the three areas in which the Department of Education has focused its review and proposed changes:

  • The process by which children may self-identify or explore their gender identity and/or sexual orientation and the supports and inclusive services schools should offer consistent with their rights and best interests.
  • The availability of washroom and changing facilities and other private spaces to all students in conformity with their gender identity and consistent with the rights of all students to reasonable privacy, dignity, and equality.
  • The regulation of extracurricular and co-curricular activities in a manner which respects children’s rights of equality and participation and the legitimate public interest in fair competition and a broad range of activities.

In addition, Lamrock said the review will also consider the following issues:

  • The processes for informing and involving parents consistent with established rights, duties of educators, and the best interests of children.
  • The conformity of Policy 713 with established human rights law as expressed in federal and provincial human rights codes, constitutional principles under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and international treaties to which Canada is a signatory.
  • The quality of services and supports to LGBTQI2S+ students and improvements to the inclusion and experience of LGBTQI2S+ in the broader school community.

Lamrock said the review will not consider any potential change which removes the goals and objectives of the policy, removes established human or legal rights of children, or “violates the statutory or regulatory legal responsibilities of any professional employed within the school system.”

He also will not consider any changes that will impose barriers upon LGBTQ+ students’ participation in the school community or permits violence, harassment, discrimination or hate speech directed at any student, teacher or parent.

The general public is being invited to send in written submissions through the advocate’s website. Lamrock will submit his final report to the legislature by Aug. 15.


Leave a Reply