Canadian government introduces legislation to ban conversion therapy

OTTAWA, Ontario — The Canadian government on Monday introduced a bill banning so-called conversion therapy in the country.

The bill that Attorney General David Lametti and Minister for Women, Gender Equality and Youth Marci Ien have introduced would amend the Criminal Code of Canada to specifically prohibit:

  • Bringing another person into conversion therapy
  • Bringing a Minor Out of Canada for Conversion Therapy Abroad
  • Benefit from conversion therapy
  • Advertising or promoting conversion therapy

A Press release The Canadian government said the bill would allow courts “to order the seizure of conversion therapy advertisements or to order their removal from computer systems or the Internet.”

“The pain and trauma caused by conversion therapy practices continue to have a devastating impact on LGBTQ2 communities across Canada,” said Ien. “Our government is focused on promoting equality rights and fighting discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirit people. Criminalizing this practice respects fundamental human rights, while ensuring that every Canadian is free to live their lives authentically.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a tweet that conversion therapy “is discriminatory and demeaning and has had devastating effects on LGBTQ2 Canadians.”

“It has no place in our country,” he said.

Tourism Minister Randy Boissonnault, who previously advised Trudeau on LGBTQ issues, also applauded the bill’s introduction.

“Conversion ‘therapy’ is akin to torture,” said Boissonnault. “I encourage all my colleagues in the House (of Commons) to support this bill which will criminalize conversion therapy in Canada once and for all.

Trudeau, who was re-elected in September, has previously called for the widely discredited practice to be banned. Earlier this year, the Canadian Senate tabled a separate bill banning conversion therapy.

The House of Commons on Wednesday unanimously approved the recently tabled bill. He now goes to the Senate.

Canada would join Malta and a handful of countries that ban conversion therapy.