Canada Introduces Legislation to Ban Conversion Therapy

The federal government of Canada has introduced on Nov. 29 a bill that would effectively ban conversion therapy in the country.

“Too many Canadians have undergone conversion therapy and have had to live with its harmful effects. That’s why our Government is stepping up to do our part to make sure that no one else has to face this devastating practice,” Justice Minister David Lametti said in announcing the proposed bill.

Conversion therapy is a discredited practice that aims to change an individual’s sexual orientation to heterosexual, to change an individual’s gender identity to cisgender, or to change their gender expressions to match the sex they were assigned at birth.

The government had introduced a similar legislation to outlaw the practice, but it was lost when the late summer election was called.

Expanding on Bill C-6 to protect Canadians of all ages from the harmful practice, the proposed bill would create four new criminal offenses: causing another person to undergo conversion therapy, removing a minor from Canada to subject them to conversion therapy abroad, profiting from providing conversion therapy, and advertising or promoting conversion therapy.

The offenses can carry two to five years imprisonment on indictment.

The bill would also authorize courts to order the seizure of conversion therapy advertisements or their removal from computer systems of the Internet.

The government described the proposed bill as “among the most comprehensive in the world.”

“Criminalizing this practice upholds basic human rights, while also ensuring that every Canadian is free to live their authentic lives,” Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth Marci Ien said.

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