Federal government introduces legislation to ban conversion therapy in Canada

November 29, 2021
Federal government introduces legislation to ban conversion therapy in Canada

The federal government today announced new legislation that would effectively ban the practice of conversion therapy in Canada.

The proposed legislation will be “among the most comprehensive in the world,” the government said in a news release.

Justice Minister David Lametti, alongside several other ministers, is expected to speak about the legislation at a 4:30 p.m. ET news conference in Ottawa.

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

The Liberal government had tabled similar legislation to outlaw the practice earlier this year, but the late summer election wiped out the proposal before it could become law.

The new legislation appears to be stricter and more comprehensive than the version that was lost with the dissolution of Parliament before the election.

The new version would make “causing another person to undergo conversion therapy” a criminal offence. The previous version, known as Bill C-6, called for a criminal penalty only if conversion therapy was performed on an adult without consent.

The change suggests that no person will be allowed to participate in conversion therapy if the bill becomes law — regardless of consent.

Minutes after the legislation was tabled, the NDP issued a media statement indicating that the new proposal will have enough support to proceed in the House of Commons.

“Today, New Democrats stand ready to help make sure this bill proceeds through the House as quickly as possible,” said New Democrat MPs Randall Garrison and Blake Desjarlais in a joint statement.

“We hope to get this bill to the Senate before Christmas so we can avoid a repeat of the Liberal’s failure to get this done.”

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