Canadian government tables bill to ban conversion therapy

The Canadian government introduced a bill on Monday that would ban so-called conversion therapy in the country.

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

  • Refer someone else to conversion therapy
  • Withdrawal of a minor from Canada for conversion therapy abroad
  • Benefit from conversion therapy
  • Advertise or promote conversion therapy

A press release issued by the Canadian government said the bill would allow courts to “order the seizure of conversion therapy advertisements or 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 combating discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gay and Two-Spirit people. The criminalization of this practice respects basic human rights, while ensuring that every Canadian is free to live their authentic life.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a tweet that conversion therapy “is discriminatory and degrading, 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 once and for all criminalize conversion therapy in Canada.

Trudeau, who was re-elected in September, has previously called for a ban on the widely discredited practice. The Canadian Senate earlier this year introduced a separate bill banning conversion therapy.

The House of Commons unanimously approved the recently introduced bill on Wednesday. He is now going to the Senate.

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