Canada to introduce legislation to ban conversion therapy

The Canadian government is expected to announce legislation to amend the criminal code and ban conversion therapy on Monday.

If passed, the bill would make good on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s campaign promise to end conversion therapy in Canada and mandate letters to both Bardish Chagger and Minister of Justice and Attorney General David Lametti, which instructed them to coordinate with provinces and territories to ban the practice.

In the Liberal Party’s 2019 platform they described the act as “a scientifically discredited practice that targets vulnerable LGBTQ2 Canadians in an attempt to change their sexual orientation or gender identity,” adding that there is international consensus in the medical community that conversion therapy is “not founded in science and does not work.”

In a press release, Lametti and Chagger said they would make an announcement regarding a bill entitled “An Act to amend the Criminal Code (conversion therapy),” which bears the same name as Bill S-202.

That bill was tabled by Sen. Serge Joyal in December, who also put forward a nearly identical Bill S-260 April. Rather than treating conversion therapy as a criminal offence, the government viewed the practice as a health-care issue, and ultimately left it up to provinces and municipalities decide whether to implement a ban.

Under Bill S-202, it would be illegal to advertise conversion therapy services and to obtain a financial or other material benefit for the provision of conversion therapy to anybody under the age of 18, and punishable by up to five years in prison. It is unclear whether the Liberals are introducing that legislation on Monday, or announcing something new. 

It’s not yet clear whether the Liberals are introducing that legislation on Monday, or taking a different direction.

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