Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Legislation enables Gay-Straight Alliances in Alberta schools

On March 10, 2015 the Alberta government announced it has passed legislation that will allow the establishment of gay-straight alliances in schools. The bill now awaits Royal Assent, and would come into force on June 1, 2015. In a press release Premier Jim Prentice said “Since our Government put a pause on Bill 10 in December, we have reflected, listened and learned. Today, we passed an amended Bill 10 that responds to all of those Albertans, including members of opposition parties, who spoke so passionately about protecting our youth. Any students who want a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) will have one at their school.”

The amended Bill 10 includes the following provisions:
  • Students may set up GSAs in their schools.
  • GSAs may meet on school property.
  • Students may name the club “GSA,” “QSA” or another name of their choosing.
The legislation will also enshrine sexual orientation, sex, gender identity and gender expression in the Alberta Bill of Rights as protected grounds from discrimination.

Alberta Minister of Education Gordon Dirks said “Over the last three months, during my consultation with Albertans from all walks of life, I was most struck by youths who are already members of a Gay-Straight Alliance and who say that without a GSA, they would feel lost and alone. I tabled these amendments for these young people, in hopes that they will always have a safe and welcoming community.”

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