Canada proposes national ban on ‘conversion therapy’ practices

A Bill has been introduced in Canada’s Parliament this week that would effectively ban practices designed to change or suppress a person’s sexuality or gender across the country.

The amendments, introduced by Canada’s Attorney General David Lametti and Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Youth Bardish Chagger, would expand on province-based bans to criminalise ‘conversion therapy’, prohibiting minors from being exposed to the practice, and banning advertising of and profit from ‘conversion therapy’.

‘Conversion therapy’ practices have been widely condemned by major psychological and medical associations across the world, as well as LGBTIQ+ advocacy groups – including the World Psychiatric Association and the Canadian Psychological Association.

Global LGBTIQ+ advocacy group OutRight Action International has welcomed the news.

“So-called ‘conversion therapy’ efforts hinge on the belief that cisgender heterosexuality is the norm, and transgender identities and/or same-sex attraction not only fall outside the norm, but have to be changed, if need be by brutal inhuman force,” OutRight’s Executive Director Jessica Stern said in a statement.

“By introducing a bill which foresees a nationwide ban, the government of Canada has sent a powerful message – that LGBTIQ people are not in need of a change or cure.”

“I comment the ministers in question for taking this important step, and urge authorities to bolster this effort with measures designed to promote understanding and inclusion of LGBTIQ people, this tackling the root causes of these harmful, inhuman practices.”

If passed, Canada will join Malta, Ecuador, Brazil and Taiwan in enforcing nation-wide bans on ‘conversion therapy’ practices. A similar Bill is also currently being considered in Germany.

Here in Australia, Victoria and the ACT have made moves towards state/territory based bans, while New South Wales and Western Australia have begun considering how to address the issue.

OIP Staff

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