Fighting for 2SLGBTQ+ students and families
Three parents who filed human rights complaints against the Manitoba for discriminating against 2SLGBTQ+ families through the provincial K-12 curriculum will have the Manitoba Human Rights Commission’s decision to dismiss their complaints reconsidered.
In 2017, Michelle McHale, Karen Phillips and Sonja Stone filed complaints with the Manitoba Human Rights Commission alleging that the Manitoba government discriminates against them, their families, and other 2SLGBTQ+ families like theirs by not including diverse understandings of gender identity or sexual orientation in the provincial curriculum and learning materials, and by crafting a sensitive content policy that allows school divisions to opt out of acknowledging gender identity or sexual orientation in classrooms.
A 40-page investigation report made findings in support of these parents and recommended their complaints proceed to a public hearing. However, in a split one-page written decision, the Board of Commissioners went against the recommendations of their investigator and dismissed their complaints.
The parents filed for a judicial review of the decisions and on August 17, 2021, the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench quashed the Commission’s decisions, ordering they be reconsidered.
In his decisions, Justice Kroft noted the Commission’s decisions were not “sufficiently justified by transparent reasons.”
The Public Interest Law Centre, an office of Legal Aid Manitoba, has represented these families throughout the human rights complaint process and in the successful judicial review that resulted from the initial dismissal of the complaints.
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