Media Release

Teachers oppose use of constitutional override against vulnerable students

Media Release

The Alberta Teachers’ Association is issuing the following statement in reaction to the Alberta government’s announcement that the province will seek to intervene in a Saskatchewan Court of Appeal case in which courts have allowed a constitutional challenge to anti-inclusion legislation, despite Saskatchewan’s use of the notwithstanding clause.

“Our primary concern is the safety and wellness of all students.

We are worried that laws like Saskatchewan has passed and Alberta is now proposing put the safety of vulnerable kids at significant risk. These laws inhibit the ability of schools to provide safe, welcoming, caring and respectful learning environments and will have a chilling effect on schools by reducing the opportunities for all students to learn about diverse families and identities.

The use of the notwithstanding clause to override the human rights of vulnerable children is unjust, unreasonable and excessive.

At a time when Alberta’s funding for public education is the lowest in Canada, with overcrowded classrooms and a backlog of schools needing to be built, it is disappointing that the government would waste taxpayer money in an unprecedented effort to strip citizens of their charter rights and protections.

Alberta teachers will continue to work respectfully with parents to protect the safety and dignity of students. Teachers also hope our government will reassess its priorities.”

—ATA president Jason Schilling

The Alberta Teachers’ Association, as the professional organization of teachers, promotes and advances public education, supports teachers’ professional practice and serves as the advocate for its 46,000 members.