RNAO condemns Alberta’s proposed restrictions to transgender care

Feb. 12, 2024

The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) condemns, unequivocally, Alberta premier Danielle Smith’s proposed restrictions to transgender care as ill-informed and dangerous to the health and wellbeing of some of the most vulnerable youth in our society.

RNAO is also deeply concerned to see federal Conservative Party leader, Pierre Poilievre, further Smith’s stated views – seemingly for political gain – and joining other leaders who have exploited prejudice and ignorance about 2SLGBTQI+ people. For example, New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs had already restricted the use of preferred pronouns and names in schools under the age of 16. And, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe has invoked the Charter’s “notwithstanding clause”, eroding core Charter human rights protections in his bid to protect similar rule changes in schools.

RNAO denounces any kind of stigmatization, discrimination and social exclusion based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. We deplore the trend of political leaders across Canada, which serves to fuel continued stigma and discrimination – and we demand that our leaders in Ontario not succumb to these extremely harmful actions.

The proposed restrictions to care proposed by Smith and supported by Poilievre appear to be founded on ideology, not informed by evidence. RNAO’s best practice guideline for nurses, Promoting 2SLGBTQI+ Health Equity, provides the actual evidence for foundational, inclusive health-care practices for the 2SLGBTQI+ community. From our research, we know that gender-affirming care provided by person-centred health professionals in an inclusive health setting – which may include the use of puberty blockers and hormone treatment – provides the best health and social outcomes for transgender and non-binary youth.

We are also deeply concerned about efforts in other provinces to restrict education on matters of sexuality and gender combined with a corresponding insistence on parental consent in all matters related to youth gender identity. Our research shows that this compounds the vulnerability of gender-diverse youth, considerably increasing their exposure to violence and likelihood of homelessness, as well as increasing the risk of self-harm and suicide.

RNAO is inspired by the condemnation of Smith’s proposals – and of Poilievre’s support of them – by the prime minister and other federal party leaders. RNAO is also pleased by the pledge by Ontario health minister Sylvia Jones to retain Ontario’s current guidelines for treatment and care for transgender youth.

More than anything, RNAO is inspired by the widespread youth and overall public reaction across Canada to politicians targeting at-risk youth and sending them a simple message: Stop. To transgender and non-binary people: Nurses stand with you.

The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses, nurse practitioners and nursing students in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has advocated for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses’ contribution to shaping the health system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve. For more information about RNAO, visit or follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

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