News / Edmonton

Transgender teacher fired from St. Albert Catholic school says legal fees hurting court battle

Jan Buterman plans another appeal in his ongoing case against the Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools

A transgender teacher fired from his job as a substitute in St. Albert is running up against financial hurdles as he plans another appeal in his years-long court case.

It’s been more than eight years since Jan Buterman was removed from the substitute teacher’s list at Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools after changing gender—triggering a court battle that continues to this day.

“The whole case is kind of messy,” Buterman said. “I am certainly aware that financial stuff can definitely kill it.”

Most recently the court has wrested with the validity of a previous financial settlement. In short, the school board says a previous agreement is valid—meaning future legal action is impossible—but Buterman disagrees.

Last week, a decision came down in favour of the settlement.

The plan is to appeal the decision but Buterman, who isn’t currently working, said after years of legal process the additional legal fees are a hurdle. His lawyer has been working pro bono.

He adds that he’s looking into fundraising options, and says that given the discrimination still faced by Albertans who are transgender, his case continues to have relevance.

“I’m not the only trans person who has lost a job in this province, far from it, but most people don’t have it in writing or don’t have access to legal council,” he said.

“Most trans people who run into this don’t have the means to address it.”

Buterman said an appeal will have to be filed sometime before the end of April.

Correction: An earlier version of the headline incorrectly identified Edmonton Catholic as the schoolboard that previously employed Buterman.  

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