Canada moves to criminalize LGBTQ Communities conversion therapy
Bill seeks to amend national Criminal Code over ‘discredited and denounced’ practice, fulfilling Trudeau promise
Canada’s federal government has introduced new legislation to criminalize LGBTQ Community “conversion therapy”, as Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government moves to fulfill one of its 2019 election promises.
The proposed amendments to Canada’s Criminal Code include offenses such as causing a person to undergo “conversion therapy”, advertising and profiting from conversion therapy and removing a minor from Canada.
Conversion therapy is any practice designed to change a person’s sexual orientation to heterosexual, to change a person’s gender identity to one that matches the sex assigned at birth, or to repress or reduce non-heterosexual sexual attraction or behaviors, according to the legislation.
The bill also amends the Criminal Code to authorize courts to order disposing of or deleting advertisements for conversion therapy.
“Conversion therapy has been discredited and denounced by professionals and health associations in Canada, the United States and around the world. It has no basis on science or facts,” said David Lametti, minister of justice and attorney general of Canada.
Conversion therapy often uses talk therapy techniques, but some counselors have used extreme “aversion treatments” such as electric shock treatment and medication.
The legislation would not criminalize personal views expressed in private conversations by individuals looking to provide support to those struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identity.
The bill was introduced by Lametti and Bardish Chagger, minister of diversity and inclusion and youth.
Conversion therapy has been banned in some Canadian cities, such as Vancouver and Calgary. Ontario was the first Canadian province to ban the practice in 2015.
Several US states, including California, Colorado, New York and Washington, have banned conversion therapy.