EDMONTON - A judge says a discrimination complaint filed by a transgender teacher who was fired from a Catholic school district for religious reasons should be heard by an Alberta human rights tribunal.

Jan Buterman was removed from the Greater St. Albert School Division's teacher list in 2008 because his sex change was not in line with Catholic values.

He filed a complaint the following year, which the school district successfully challenged before the province's human rights commission.

That decision was overturned by the chief of the commission, which prompted the school district to seek a judicial review.

Justice Sheila Greckol of Court of Queen's Bench dismissed the district's request in a written ruling obtained Friday by The Canadian Press.

She said it is time for a commission tribunal to hear Buterman's complaint.

"Five years have passed since the school board terminated Mr. Buterman. The voluminous and continual retreading of arguments at the commission, as well as this application for early judicial intervention on thin grounds, has served only to delay the hearing on the merits," Greckol wrote.

"Human rights process is not only for the lion-hearted and well-heeled conversant with litigation, but also for the timorous and impecunious — for all Albertans.

"The expeditious resolution of complaints becomes an issue of access to justice; justice delayed is justice denied."

Buterman, who is working on his master's in education policy studies at the University of Alberta, said he was delighted with Greckol's ruling.

He said it is still possible the school district could appeal. And even if the case proceeded to the tribunal, it could be long and drawn out.

He acknowledged there is no guarantee that he will win.

"It has been five years and sometimes it has been very hard to cope," he said. "It is of deep concern to me to be faced with a situation where there are entities that can ignore rights that we all have."

Officials with the humans rights commission and the school district were not immediately available for comment.

In 2011, Buterman turned down a $78,000 cash settlement offer from the publicly funded school district because it would have required him to keep quiet and drop his human rights complaint.

He said he was fired in 2008 despite receiving a letter from the district praising his teaching abilities.

According to the facts listed in Greckol's ruling, a board official wrote Buterman another letter when the district learned he was changing from a woman to a man.

"The teaching of the Catholic Church is that persons cannot change their gender," read the letter that deputy superintendent Steve Bayus wrote after conferring with the Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton. "One's gender is considered what God created us to be."

The letter went on to say that the school division was bound by the teachings of the church and that it intentionally hired teachers who were models of those teachings.

Bayus wrote that Buterman's sex change was not aligned with the teachings of the church and would create confusion with students and parents.

Also on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • In this July 7, 2013 photo, audience members watch a "Fama" circus show performance, in Santiago, Chile. In the midst of the show's poverty and the modesty of the numbers, the performers maintain their professionalism and act as if the tent were full. (AP Photo/Luis Hidalgo)

  • In this July 13, 2013 photo, drag queen Francoise jokes with the audience while sitting on a man's lap during her performance at the "Fama" circus show in Santiago, Chile. The only classic circus act is a flamethrower. But there are plenty of musical acts and double-entendre jokes. (AP Photo/Luis Hidalgo)

  • In this July 15, 2013 photo, transgender Brithany Star, right, and her boyfriend eat dinner inside their trailer before preparing for her performance in the "Fama" circus show, in Santiago, Chile. Eight of the 15 performers live at the circus, which they describe as their "mobile home." The group takes care of every detail. Members pack and carry the tents and the wooden planks that are used as seating for their audience. (AP Photo/Luis Hidalgo)

  • In this July 12, 2013 photo, "Fama" circus show performer, Sasha Stuart, peers out from her trailer window, in Santiago, Chile. Eight of the 15 performers live at the circus, which they describe as their "mobile home." The group takes care of every detail. Members pack and carry the tents and the wooden planks that are used as seating for their audience. (AP Photo/Luis Hidalgo)

  • In this July 7, 2013 photo, drag queen Susan Brown spits fire during her performance in the "Fama" circus show in Santiago, Chile. The only classic circus act in Fama is Brown's fire eating performance. Fama has toured the country for more than a decade performing in modest tents and they say their show remains a refuge from discrimination. Chile has traditionally been a tough place for homosexuals. (AP Photo/Luis Hidalgo)

  • In this July 7, 2013 photo, drag queen Susan Brown spits fire during her performance in the "Fama" circus show in Santiago, Chile. The only classic circus act in Fama is Brown's fire eating performance. Fama has toured the country for more than a decade performing in modest tents and they say their show remains a refuge from discrimination. (AP Photo/Luis Hidalgo)

  • In this July 12, 2013 photo, Lupita, a drag queen, holds a false eyelash while preparing for the "Fama" circus show in Santiago, Chile. The circus is one of at least two nomadic performance groups made up almost exclusively of transgenders and drag queens in Chile. (AP Photo/Luis Hidalgo)

  • In this July 12, 2013 photo, transgender Warra Montano applies foundation as she prepares for her "Fama" circus show performance in Santiago, Chile. The shows goes on year round, even in the harsh winter with performers wearing small bikinis and worn out stockings. Chile has traditionally been a tough place for homosexuals. The South American country only decriminalized gay sex in 1999. (AP Photo/Luis Hidalgo)

  • In this July 12, 2013 photo, shadows of audience members are cast on a circus tent during a performance of the "Fama" circus show, in Santiago, Chile. They call it a circus, although it's more like a vaudeville show put on by transgenders and drag queens, who have taken their act across the country for over a decade. (AP Photo/Luis Hidalgo)

  • In this July 12, 2013 photo, transgender Sasha Star applies her makeup in preparation for her "Fama" circus show performance in Santiago, Chile. Eight of the 15 performers live at the circus, which they describe as their "mobile home." The group takes care of every detail. Members pack and carry the tents and the wooden planks that are used as seating for their audience. (AP Photo/Luis Hidalgo)

  • In this July 12, 2013 photo, Lupita, a drag queen, prepares for her "Fama" circus show performance in Santiago, Chile. The show is put on by transgenders and drag queens who prefer to create their own employment and avoid looking for work being men dressed as women. (AP Photo/Luis Hidalgo)

  • In this July 12, 2013 photo, transgender Dulce Lafferti performs before an empty house during the "Fama" circus show, in Santiago, Chile. In the midst of the show's poverty and the modesty of the numbers, the performers maintain their professionalism and act as if the tent were full. (AP Photo/Luis Hidalgo)

  • In this July 13, 2013 photo, performers acknowledge the audience at the end their "Fama," circus show performance, in Santiago, Chile. They call it a circus, although it’s more like a vaudeville show. To these Chilean transgenders and drag queens it’s not only a way to earn a living, but a way to be part of a family. (AP Photo/Luis Hidalgo)

  • In this July 12, 2013 photo, transgender Sasha Stuart takes the stage in the "Fama" circus show, in Santiago, Chile. For Stuart and other Chilean transgenders it’s not only a way to earn a living, but a way to be part of a family. According to Stuart, performers earn between $125 and $240 per month, well below Chile's monthly minimum wage of $380. (AP Photo/Luis Hidalgo)