Canada Follows Other Countries and Bans Conversion Therapy.

AuthorTuttle, Myrna El Fakhry

After two failed attempts, Canada passed legislation on December 8, 2021, banning conversion therapy and safeguarding the rights of LGBTQ2 individuals.

After two failed attempts, Canada passed legislation, on December 8, 2021, banning conversion therapy. By doing so, Canada joins many countries around the world that have already banned this practice.

The new legislation amended the Criminal Code and makes it illegal as of January 7, 2022 to:

* cause another person to undergo conversion therapy

* remove a minor from Canada to subject them to conversion therapy abroad

* profit from providing conversion therapy

* advertise or promote conversion therapy

The legislation also allows "courts to order that advertisements for conversion therapy be disposed of or deleted."

Practices of Conversion Therapy

The new legislation defines conversion therapy as any practice, treatment or service designed to change or repress a person's sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression to conform to the sex they were assigned at birth (see section 320.101).

In a report submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council, an Independent Expert gave the following definition:

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 when they do not fall under what other actors in a given setting and time perceive as the desirable norm, in particular when the person is lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or gender diverse. Such practices are therefore consistently aimed at effecting a change from non-heterosexual to heterosexual and from trans or gender diverse to cisgender. Conversion therapy varies from talk and behavioral therapy to medical treatments. Examples of conversion practices include "acts of physical, psychological and sexual abuse, electrocution and forced medication, isolation and confinement, verbal abuse and humiliation".

The Independent Forensic Expert Group stated:

Conversion therapy appears to be performed widely by health professionals, including medical doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, sexologists, and therapists. It is also conducted by spiritual leaders, religious practitioners, traditional healers, and community or family members. In 2012, the Pan American Health Organization stated that "services that purport to 'cure' people...

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