Last week, SEIU-West issued a media release in response to the announcement from the former Minister of Education, Dustin Duncan, that would require schools and teachers to obtain parental consent if students under the age of 16 opt to change their pronouns, or use a name which aligns with their gender identity, rather than the gender they were assigned at birth. This policy would also eliminate the ability for third-party organizations specializing in comprehensive sex ed to present in classrooms. We shared this media release in our weekly email update to members and following some feedback, are addressing some concerns shared with us.

While many of our members work in health care, SEIU-West represents more than 13,000 people across Saskatchewan in a variety of sectors, including members who work in education, municipalities, and community-based organizations. Our members shape the voice and priorities of SEIU-West by serving as members of the Executive Board or on member-led Committees. In preparing our statement, we consulted with our Gender and Sexual Diversity Committee who represent 2SLGBTQ+ members of SEIU-West.

We made a statement that wasn’t fair. About the policy in question we said, “This policy is misguided at best and appears designed to pander to the far right in response to the recent by-election results in Lumsden-Morse at its worst”. We believe that the development of this policy should have been rooted in consultation with education experts and children’s health professionals to make this a more robust policy. Our comment about ‘pandering to the far right’ does not take into account the broad spectrum of people who are impacted by this policy. On behalf of SEIU-West, I apologize for that.

Within the mandate of our union, we must lead the way to a more just and humane society, standing up for economic and social justice, for dignity and respect for workers and their families. The gains won by unions were controversial at the time they were first achieved, such as minimum wages, overtime pay, workplace safety standards, maternity and parental leave, vacation pay, and protection from discrimination and harassment, are now a part of everyday life. In Saskatchewan, SEIU-West members were instrumental in the implementation of changes to the Saskatchewan Employment Act which provide both paid and unpaid leave to survivors of interpersonal or sexual violence as they access support and safety. SEIU-West has always been, and will continue to be, an advocate for progressive policies, including those of social justice. We recognize that this topic can be a passionate one and will continue to advocate for improving the rights of all our members.

We encourage all parents to be active participants in their child’s education. We also recognize that many children and youth who do not have supportive families face significantly higher risks of self-harm, suicide, and homelessness. To protect children, they must have safe adults that they can talk to about these important issues. Prior to this policy, schools and teachers were able to provide that safe space.

We hope that our members will continue to step forward and raise their voice in solidarity with those who are impacted and who face the greatest risks of harm.

Below are some resources that may help you in your research related to this difficult and complex issue.

In solidarity,

Barbara Cape
President, SEIU-West

Dates of rallies

Regina on Saturday September 2 at 11:00am at the Legislative Building


What is Comprehensive Sexual Education (CSE)?

What is comprehensive sexuality education?

What does “protecting children” actually look like?

For Parents: What is SOGI 1 2 3

Why does Comprehensive Sexual Education matter?

New research shows dangerous levels of despair among Canada’s transgender & gender nonconforming youth | Faculty of Medicine | University of Ottawa (

Suicidality among sexual minority and transgender adolescents: a nationally representative population-based study of youth in Canada | CMAJ

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Queer, Questioning and Two-Spirit (LGBTQ2S) | The Homeless Hub

WNHHN - Research Release: A Portrait of Homelessness Amongst Gender-Diverse People in Canada (

Get the Facts on Gender-Affirming Care - Human Rights Campaign (

Fatal Violence Against the Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Community in 2023 - Human Rights Campaign (

Resources for Parents & Educators

Sexual Health Information for Educators - Saskatchewan Prevention Institute (

Preventing Gender-Based Violence | SIECCAN

Resources • Saskatoon Sexual Health

Resources to Support Comprehensive Sexual Health Education | SIECCAN

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