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Banning Conversion Therapy in Canada

Banning Conversion Therapy in Canada

Letter From the Editor 

By Josh Beaudoin 

The Liberal Party of Canada has introduced a bill that would make conversion therapy illegal in Canada by making changes to the Criminal Code. 

The bill sets a broad definition for what constitutes conversation therapy and defines it as any attempt to change or repress a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. [1]  

Anyone who advertises, practices, profits, or sends someone to conversation therapy could face between two-five years in prison if the bill becomes law. This includes penalties for people who take minors outside of Canada to receive it. [2]  

Shortly after the legislation was introduced, members of the New Democratic Party said they were confident the bill would pass quickly. [3] 

Conversion therapy has long been criticized by the wide array of policy makers, advocates, and scientists. TIME reported in 2012 that “the empirical research supporting the efficacy of this form of therapy is weak, at best.” [4]  

And in 2020, a report from the United Nations called for a “global ban on practices of so-called ‘conversion therapy.’” [5] Victor Madrigal-Borloz, the expert who led the report, argues that such practices create a culture of discrimination against LGBTQ+ people—in some cases resulting in physical violence against these individuals. [6] 

However, religious advocates say that the bans stop people who struggle with “unnatural” desires from receiving resources that would help them conform to the Biblical view of sexual orientation and gender identity. [7]   

In the US, so far 19 states, including Washington, have some form of ban on conversion therapy, although religious organizations are sometimes exempt from these laws. [8] 

References 

1. Government of Canada. (2021, November 29). Bill C-4. https://www.parl.ca/DocumentViewer/en/44-1/bill/C-4/first-reading 

2. Ibid

See Also

3. Boisvert, N. (2021, November 29). Federal government introduces legislation to ban conversion therapy in Canada. CBChttps://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/conversion-therapy-new-bill-1.6266981  

4. Ferguson, C. (2012, October 9). Why banning conversion therapy may do more harm than good. TIMEhttps://ideas.time.com/2012/10/09/why-banning-conversion-therapy-may-do-more-harm-than-good/   

5. United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner. (2020, July 8). UN expert calls for global ban on practices of so-called “conversion therapy.” https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=26051 

6. Ibid

7. Minderhoud, L. (2019, November 7). What is conversion therapy and why does it matter? Reformed Perspectivehttps://reformedperspective.ca/what-is-conversion-therapy-and-why-does-it-matter/  

8. Movement Advancement Project. (2021, December 1). Conversion “therapy” laws. https://www.lgbtmap.org/equality-maps/conversion_therapy 

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