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Canada presents federal bill to ban conversion therapy

David Lametii
Canada’s Minister for Justice, David Lametti, announces the proposed legislation yesterday (Photo: @MinJusticeEn | Twitter)

Legislation was yesterday presented in Canada to ban the practice of conversion therapy on minors or on anyone against their will.

Conversion therapy is the discredited practice of attempting to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity through psychotherapeutic means. It doesn’t work and usually does far more harm than good.

It has been condemned by major psychological, psychiatric, and medical associations, including the World Psychiatric Association and the Canadian Psychological Association.

In a statement, Federal Justice Minister and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti said the practice was “premised on a lie.”

“Conversion therapy is a cruel practice that can lead to life-long trauma, particularly for young people,” he said.

“If passed, this bill would make Canada’s laws on conversion therapy the most progressive and comprehensive in the world.”

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He clarified that the proposed law changes would not outlaw private conversations about sexual orientation or gender identity with the likes of teachers, counselors, faith leaders, or mental health professionals.

However, if passed, it would become illegal to: subject a minor to undergo conversion therapy; remove a minor from Canada to undergo the practice elsewhere; cause a person to undergo conversion therapy against their will; profit from providing conversion therapy; or advertise as a provider of conversion therapy.

Canada’s opposition federal NDP and the Green Party has indicated it will work with the minority Liberal government to pass the legislation.

If passed, Canada will become the fifth country in the world to implement legislation against conversion therapy, following Malta, Ecuador, Brazil, and Taiwan. Germany has also drafted law to outlaw the practice.

Related: Virginia is first southern US state to ban conversion therapy on minors 

There are already limits on conversion therapy in place in some areas of Canada, including Ontario, Manitoba, Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton.

In the US, Virginia recently became the 20th US state to ban conversion therapy on minors.