Canada votes to ban conversion therapy
By Keoputhy Bunny, News Editor
Bill C-4 has passed in parliament. The bill was passed on Dec. 1 by unanimous decision by the House of Commons, effectively outlawing any attempt at forcing someone to undergo conversion therapy practices throughout Canada.
According to a report submitted to the United Nations (UN) by an independent expert on the harms of conversion therapy, “‘Conversion therapy’ is used as an umbrella term to describe interventions of a wide-ranging nature, all of which are premised on the belief that a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity, including gender expression, can and should be changed or suppressed […] in particular when the person is lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or gender diverse.”
Simply put, conversion therapy or reparative therapy is a practice, service or treatment that represses or changes a person’s gender expression or identity.
The bill states that a person who knowingly causes another person to go through conversion therapy is subject to up to five years in prison.
The bill also dictates that courts are allowed to order any advertisements for conversion therapy to be deleted.
According to the bill, anyone who is guilty of knowingly promoting or advertising conversion therapy is liable for up to two years in prison.
“I dream of the day when LGBTQ2 issues are no longer political footballs. And we are one day closer to that future,” said Member of Parliament (MP) Randy Boissonnault to reporters after the vote.
Although the bill had been introduced before, it came with opposition from the Conservative party. The last time the ban on conversion therapy was introduced, 62 Conservative Members of Parliament voted against it.
The aforementioned report submitted to the UN also proposed a global ban on conversion therapy.
Even though clusters around the world and areas in certain countries have banned conversion therapy, only four countries currently have a full ban on it according to Forbes magazine.
Conversion therapy has been banned in Calgary since May 2020.
Current Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek spoke on the subject back in February 2020, when Naheed Nenshi was still mayor and she was still a councillor.
“There’s absolutely no place for conversion therapy anywhere in any city, let alone just Calgary,” Gondek said in a council meeting.