In a long-awaited announcement on Wednesday, Alberta Premier Danielle Smith unveiled a comprehensive set of policies addressing gender ideology and parental rights.
The premier emphasized her commitment to preserving children’s rights to navigate their growth and make impactful decisions about their lives in a video posted to her X account. However, she also voiced apprehensions about irreversible decisions related to biological sex for youth and underscored potential risks.
One of the focal points of Premier Smith’s address was the stance on gender reassignment treatments for minors. Notably, top and bottom gender reassignment surgeries will not be permitted for children aged 15 and under in Alberta.
“It is my view that a list of adult choices includes deciding whether or not to alter one’s biological sex, making permanent and irreversible decisions regarding one’s biological sex, while still, a youth can severely limit that child’s choices in the future, prematurely encouraging or enabling children to alter their very biology or natural growth,” said Smith.
“No matter how well-intentioned and sincere poses a risk to that child’s future that I as Premier, am not comfortable with permitting in our province.”
Moreover, the use of puberty blockers and hormone therapies for gender reassignment or affirmation will be strictly prohibited for minors aged 15 and under, with exceptions granted to those already undergoing treatment.
For minors aged 16 and 17, the Premier outlined a nuanced approach. They will be allowed to commence hormone therapies for gender reassignment, provided there is explicit approval from parents, physicians, and psychologists. The caveat is that the minor must be deemed mature enough to make such decisions.
Premier Smith’s announcement delved further into the realm of education. Parental notification and an opt-in requirement are now mandated for each instance of formal instruction on gender identity, sexual orientation, or human sexuality.
Additionally, third-party resource materials or presentations related to these subjects in K-12 schools must undergo pre-approval by the Ministry of Education for age-appropriateness.
The premier also highlighted measures regarding the sensitive issue of name and pronoun changes in schools. Parental notification and consent are deemed mandatory for any alterations for a child aged 15 and under, with notification only for those aged 16 and 17.
In a move signalling collaboration with sporting organizations, Premier Smith disclosed plans to offer women and girls the choice to compete in women’s-only divisions, distinct from biologically stronger transgender female athletes.
The announcement by Premier Danielle Smith aligns with a broader trend among provincial leaders. Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs have also taken significant steps to confront gender ideology. Premier Moe notably invoked the notwithstanding clause to successfully pass a parental rights policy last year.