conversion therapy canada

Canada is officially banning conversion therapy

In what seems like a long-overdue move, the federal government is formally criminalizing conversion therapy, the archaic and scientifically discredited practice that aims to change LGBTQ individuals' sexual orientation or gender identity.

Canada's criminal code will finally be amended to ban forcing someone to undergo the therapy, as well transporting a minor out of country to receive the therapy, advertising conversion therapy services and/or materially benefiting from said services.

Ottawa had previously determined that governing the practice was in the hands of provincial lawmakers, but the Liberal Party's 2019 campaign promised that action against conversion therapy — which officials have called destructive, harmful and something that "should not exist" — would be taken.

Provinces like Ontario alongside cities like Vancouver and Calgary have already previously banned the practice, which innately defines homosexuality as a mental illness.

The newly-tabled federal legislation will not prohibit other levels of government from making their own rules about the practice of the pseudoscience, including imposing additional fines.

Techniques of conversion therapy can range from counselling to aversion treatments like electric shock, and historically have included hormonal treatment, medication and even lobotomies.

Such religious anti-abortion groups as the Campaign Life Coalition have (unsurprisingly) expressed their opposition to creating any national laws surrounding the practice.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez at Toronto Pride 2019

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