On Monday, the federal government is expected to present a bill that will intend to make conversion therapy in Canada illegal. The proposition will be presented to the House of Commons by Justice Minister David Lametti, and will include an amendment to the Criminal Code. The bill was one of Justin Trudeau’s key campaign promises during the 2019 federal election.
The Liberal government is expected to introduce new legislation on Monday, which will amend the Criminal Code to officially ban conversion therapy nationally.
While increasingly uncommon in Canada, the practice still causes great concern to LGBTQ activists and allies.
"Evidence demonstrates that this is a practice that does not work," stated Bardish Chagger, the Canadian Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Youth. "It's destructive, it's harmful and it should not exist."
Chagger and David Lametti, Attorney General, will make an announcement on Monday, regarding a bill entitled “An Act to amend the Criminal Code (conversion therapy).”
While the final proposed bill is yet to be confirmed, offering conversion therapy to anybody under the age of 18 could become punishable by up to five years in prison.
The controversial practice involves attempting to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of those within the LGBTQ community.
The methods used can range from talk therapy and medication, to “aversion therapy that attempts to condition a person's behaviour by causing discomfort through things like electric shocks.”
BREAKING NEWS: Legislation to criminalize Conversion Therapy to be introduced in Canada. A historic moment for hu… https://t.co/4YjpZzEseO— Dr. Kristopher Wells (@Dr. Kristopher Wells) 1583464073.0
Banning conversion therapy was a key promise made by Justin Trudeau's party during the 2019 election.
At the time, it was described by the platform as “a scientifically discredited practice that targets vulnerable LGBTQ2 Canadians in an attempt to change their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
According to the Liberals’ campaign promise, the new legislation is intended to specifically benefit minors.
Everyone has a responsibility to advance the values of inclusion and equality. Our government will continue to work… https://t.co/ox403EeIbA— Bardish Chagger (@Bardish Chagger) 1582924647.0
Although bills to ban the controversial practice have already passed in several Canadian cities, including Calgary and Vancouver, and provinces, like Ontario and Manitoba, the issue is yet to be addressed nationally.
Until now, conversion therapy was viewed by the government as a health-care issue, rather than a criminal offence, so it was left up to provinces and muncipalities to implement any action.
YES! First steps to criminalizing conversion therapy Canada-wide! Let’s keep the heat on federally and locally! Hu… https://t.co/u26ck2O6YX— Pam Rocker (@Pam Rocker) 1583681402.0
To pass the new bill, the Liberals will require the support of other parties.
That said, the NDP, Green Party and Bloc Quebecois, have already expressed support for the legislation.