The transgender pride (L), pride (C) and Canada 150 pride flags fly following a flag raising ceremony on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Wattie
TORONTO – Canada has reintroduced a bill that will criminalize LGBT conversion therapy, after an earlier effort to ban the practice failed as the parliament was discontinued due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Conversion therapy is any practice designed to change a person’s sexual orientation, which especially harms and stigmatizes those belonging to the lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans community.
Federal Minister of Justice David Lametti said the new bill will include five amendments to Canada’s Criminal Code to include offences such as causing a minor to undergo conversion therapy, causing any person to experience the therapy against their will, and profiting off from the practice.
The bill was previously introduced in the House of Commons in March.
“Conversion therapy is harmful, degrading, and has no place in Canada … I hope that all parties will do the right thing by supporting this bill,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters.
Trudeau’s Liberal Party promised to ban the practice during an unveiling of the party’s election platform last year.
According to government data, some 20% of sexual minority men in Canada have undergone some form of conversion therapy. Lower-income, indigenous and trans people are disproportionately exposed to the practice, the data shows.
The bill will not apply to those seeking guidance and support from counsellors or faith leaders.
Canadian cities such as Vancouver in British Columbia and Calgary in Alberta are banning the practise within their borders, a government statement said.