Canada Reintroduces Legislation to Criminalize Conversion Therapy Related Conduct

Author: Department of Justice Canada
Published: Thursday 8th October 2020
Summary: Canadian Federal Government reintroduces legislation to criminalize conversion therapy-related conduct in Canada.


Diversity and inclusion are among Canada's greatest strengths. Canadians must feel safe in their identities, and free to be their true selves. That is why the Government of Canada is acting on its commitment to criminalize conversion therapy in Canada.

Today, the Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth, reintroduced proposed legislative amendments to the Criminal Code. These amendments are the same as those proposed by Bill C-8 in the previous parliamentary session. If passed, this Bill will make Canada's laws on conversion therapy the most progressive and comprehensive in the world.

The legislation proposes five new Criminal Code offences related to conversion therapy. These include:

The legislation will also authorize courts to order the seizure of conversion therapy advertisements or to order their removal from computer systems or the Internet.

Conversion therapy aims to change an individual's sexual orientation to heterosexual, to repress or reduce non-heterosexual attraction or sexual behaviours, or to change an individual's gender identity to match the sex they were assigned at birth. It harms and stigmatizes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and Two-Spirit (LGBTQ2) persons, undermines their dignity and negatively impacts their equality rights. It reflects myths and stereotypes about LGBTQ2 persons, in particular that sexual orientations other than heterosexual, and gender identities other than cisgender, can and should be changed. The practice can take various forms, including counselling and behavioural modification.

Criminal law reform is an important step toward protecting LGBTQ2 persons and promoting their rights, but more remains to be done. The Government of Canada is committed to working with provinces, territories, municipalities and stakeholders to ensure that Canada is a country where everyone - regardless of their gender expression, gender identity, or sexual orientation - can live in equality and freedom.

Conversion therapy infographic.
Conversion therapy infographic.

Quotes

"Conversion therapy is a cruel practice that can lead to life-long trauma, particularly for young people. Our Government remains steadfast in our commitment to protecting the dignity and equality rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirit Canadians, by criminalizing a practice that discriminates against and harms them." - The Honourable David Lametti, P.C., Q.C., M.P. Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada.

"Conversion therapy practices are rooted in the wrongful premise that sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression can and should be changed to fit an ideal of what some believe is normal or natural. By reintroducing this legislation, our Government is standing up for LGBTQ2 people and reaffirming our commitment to ensuring Canada is a place where everyone is free to be their authentic selves." - The Honourable Bardish Chagger, P.C., M.P. Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth.

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