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AN ACT TO SUPPORT GAY STRAIGHT ALLIANCES

Bill 24

AN ACT TO SUPPORT
GAY‑STRAIGHT ALLIANCES

Chapter 30

(Assented to December 15, 2017)

HER MAJESTY, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, enacts as follows:

Amends RSA 2000 cS‑3

1   The School Act is amended by this Act.

 

2   Section 16.1 is amended

                            (a)    in subsection (1)

                                  (i)    by repealing clause (a) and substituting the following:

                                       (a)    immediately grant permission for the establishment of the student organization or the holding of the activity at the school, and


                                 (ii)    in clause (b) by adding “subject to subsection (4), within a reasonable time from the date that the principal receives the request” before “designate”;

                           (b)    in subsection (3) by adding “or activity” after “the organization”;

                            (c)    by adding the following after subsection (3):

(3.1)  For greater certainty, the principal shall not prohibit or discourage students from choosing a name that includes “gay-straight alliance” or “queer-straight alliance”.

                           (d)    by adding the following after subsection (5):

(6)  The principal is responsible for ensuring that notification, if any, respecting a voluntary student organization or an activity referred to in subsection (1) is limited to the fact of the establishment of the organization or the holding of the activity.

 

3   The following is added after section 16.1:

Application of investigation, inquiry provisions

16.11   For greater certainty, sections 40 and 41 apply in respect of a contravention of, or failure to comply with, section 16.1.

 

4   Section 20 is amended by renumbering clause (a) as clause (a.1) and by adding the following before clause (a.1):

                           (a)    provide a welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environment that respects diversity and fosters a sense of belonging;

 

5   Section 28 is amended

                            (a)    in subsection (7) by adding “16.11, 20(a),” after “Sections 16.1,”;

                           (b)    by adding the following after subsection (7):

(8)  Notwithstanding section 17, section 20(a) applies to the principal of a private school.

(9)  Sections 45.1, 45.2 and 45.3 apply to an accredited private school and its operation, and a reference in those provisions to a board is deemed to include a reference to the operator of an accredited private school.

 

6   Section 36(1)(d) is amended by adding “45.3,” after “45.1,”.

 

7   Section 45.1(3) and (4) are repealed and the following is substituted:

(3)  A policy established under subsection (2) and a code of conduct established under subsection (2) must

                                 (a)    affirm the rights, as provided for in the Alberta Human Rights Act and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, of each staff member employed by the board and each student enrolled in a school operated by the board, and

                                 (b)    contain one or more statements that staff members employed by the board and students enrolled in a school operated by the board will not be discriminated against as provided for in the Alberta Human Rights Act or the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

(4)  A policy established under subsection (2) must contain a distinct portion that addresses the board’s responsibilities under section 16.1, and the distinct portion of the policy

                                 (a)    must not contain provisions that conflict with or are inconsistent with this section or section 16.1, and in particular must not contain provisions that would

                                        (i)    undermine the promotion of a welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environment that respects diversity and fosters a sense of belonging, or

                                      (ii)    require a principal to obtain the approval of the superintendent or board or to follow other administrative processes before carrying out functions under section 16.1,

                                 (b)    must include the text of section 16.1(1), (3), (3.1), (4) and (6),

                                 (c)    must provide that the principal is responsible for ensuring that notification, if any, respecting a voluntary student organization or an activity referred to in section 16.1(1)

                                        (i)    is limited to the fact of the establishment of the organization or the holding of the activity, and

                                      (ii)    is otherwise consistent with the usual practices relating to notifications of other student organizations and activities,

                                      and

                                 (d)    must set out the name of the legislation that governs the disclosure of personal information by the board.

(5)  A code of conduct established under subsection (2) must contain the following elements:

                                 (a)    a statement of purpose that provides a rationale for the code of conduct, with a focus on welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environments;

                                 (b)    one or more statements about what is acceptable behaviour and what is unacceptable behaviour, whether or not it occurs within the school building, during the school day or by electronic means;

                                 (c)    one or more statements about the consequences of unacceptable behaviour, which must take account of the student’s age, maturity and individual circumstances, and which must ensure that support is provided for students who are impacted by inappropriate behaviour, as well as for students who engage in inappropriate behaviour.

(6)  In addition to meeting the requirements under subsections (3), (4) and (5), a board shall do the following:

                                 (a)    make the policy and code of conduct available throughout the year in a prominent location on a publicly accessible website maintained by or on behalf of the board;

                                 (b)    display in a place clearly visible to students in each school the Uniform Resource Locator of the policy and code of conduct on the publicly accessible website;

                                 (c)    on request, provide a copy of the policy or code of conduct to an individual;

                                 (d)    by June 30 of each year, review the policy and code of conduct, confirm the review by a board resolution and post or repost the policy and code of conduct on the publicly accessible website after review;

                                 (e)    comply with any further requirements respecting a policy or code of conduct established by the Minister by order.

(7)  An order of the Minister under subsection (6)(e) must be made publicly available.

(8)  If a board does not establish a policy or a code of conduct under subsection (2), or in the opinion of the Minister a policy or a code of conduct established under subsection (2) does not meet the requirements under subsections (3), (4), (5) or (6), as applicable, the Minister may, by order, do one or both of the following:

                                 (a)    establish a policy or code of conduct for, or add to or replace a part of a policy or code of conduct of, a board;

                                 (b)    impose any additional terms or conditions the Minister considers appropriate.

(9)  An order of the Minister under subsection (8) must be made available in a timely manner by the board in a prominent location on a publicly accessible website maintained by or on behalf of the board.

(10)  The Regulations Act does not apply to an order of the Minister under this section.

 

8   The following is added after section 45.1:

Exemption from section 45.1

45.2   The Lieutenant Governor in Council may exempt an accredited private school or a class of accredited private schools from the operation of all or part of section 45.1.

Application of investigation, inquiry provisions

45.3   For greater certainty, sections 40 and 41 apply in respect of a contravention of, or failure to comply with, section 45.1.

 

9   Section 50.1 is amended by adding the following after subsection (3):

(4)  For greater certainty, this section does not apply with respect to the establishment or operation of a voluntary student organization referred to in section 16.1 or the organizing or holding of an activity referred to in section 16.1.

 

10   The following provisions of this Act come into force on April 1, 2018:

                            (a)    section 5(b) to the extent that it enacts section 28(9) of the School Act;

                           (b)    section 7;

                            (c)    section 8 to the extent that it enacts section 45.2 of the School Act.