"Bill 89 does not give the government power to seize children from families based on a parent that disagrees with a child’s gender identification. Any suggestion of the sort is false," Alicia Ali, a spokesperson for Michael Coteau, Ontario's Minister of Children and Youth Services, told BuzzFeed News in an email.
Coteau said earlier this year that it could be considered abuse "when a child identifies one way and a caregiver is saying no," according to QP Briefing.
Coteau appears to have been talking specifically about children in foster care. He said denying a child's gender identity would be akin to "a child in care being told not to believe in Jesus Christ."
The Ontario child advocate’s office, an independent watchdog organization that reports to the provincial legislature, also said fears over Bill 89 were not matched by what is in the legislation.
Mere disagreement with a child about their gender identity or gender expression is not enough to bring the child into care. Instead, it has to be part of "a pattern of abuse, neglect or serious emotional harm" before removing the child can be considered, according to Akihito Tse, a spokesperson for the advocate's office.
The reasons a child may require protection are laid out in section 74(2) of Bill 89. There is no specific reference to gender identity or gender expression, but if a child is suffering sexual, physical, or emotional abuse, including "serious" psychological effects, child welfare agencies may intervene.
As Tse noted, there is a high threshold for ever removing a child from their family, and the decision to take a young person into care cannot be made by government bureaucrats and child aid workers alone.
"There is a clear process through which the final decision is made by a judge," Tse said.