FREDERICTON (GNB) – The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development has made clarifications to Policy 713 – Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, following recommendations made by the Child and Youth Advocate earlier this month and other feedback received since the updated policy was implemented on July 1.

“I thank the Child and Youth Advocate for his thorough assessment, opinions, and recommendations regarding Policy 713,” said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Bill Hogan. “We stand by the changes we have made. Parents should be involved in every aspect of their young child’s education. At the same time, it was clear there are areas of the policy where further clarity was needed, particularly around some of the definitions used and how students will be supported through major life changes.”

The following changes have been made to bring clarity to the policy:

  • The definitions of legal, formal and informal use of names have been added to the policy. The use of names in the classroom and in extra-curricular activities is now considered to be formal.
  • Professionals, such as guidance counselors, psychologists and social workers, can use preferred names when supporting students under the age of 16.
  • Section 6.3.2 now states that if a student is not able to give consent to talk to their parent regarding using a preferred first name for recordkeeping purposes and daily management, they will be encouraged, rather than directed, to speak with an appropriate professional for support to develop a plan.

On July 1, three sections of the policy were revised around self-identification, sport participation and universal spaces to provide clarity and to respond to the feedback received during consultations.

“We fundamentally believe that it is wrong to hide information from parents,” said Hogan. “We respect parents, and we recognize the critical role they play in their child’s life and education.”

The updated policy is available online.

“Our government is, and always has been, dedicated to creating a safe and welcoming environment where all children are free to be themselves,” said Hogan.