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Canada seeks to pass law to make conversion therapy illegal

In February, Calgary became the largest jurisdiction in Canada to ban conversion therapy.

We celebrated the news, and then wondered: why hasn’t the practice been outlawed nationwide?

The feds are working on it. On Monday, the Canadian government introduced legislation that would make practical and promoting conversion therapy a criminal offence.

Conversion therapy broadly refers to forcing homosexual individuals to change their sexual orientation to heterosexual. The legislation defines it as “any service, practice or treatment designed to change a person’s sexual orientation to heterosexual, gender identity to one that matches the sex assigned at birth, or to repress or reduce non heterosexual sexual attraction or sexual behaviours.”

In February, Calgary councillors called the practice “sad,” “horrific,” and “barbaric.” On Monday, Minister of Justice and Attorney General David Lametti said it is “premised on a lie.”

The penalty for forcing someone to undergo conversion therapy against their will, advertising conversion therapy, or profiting from the practice is jail time up to five years.

“If passed, this bill will make Canada’s laws on conversion therapy the most progressive and comprehensive in the world,” said Lametti.

Conversion therapy is roundly discredited by essentially every reliable source in the world. In 2015, the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) officially condemned it. On Monday, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said he supports a ban on the practice.

The legal status of conversion therapy remains a provincial and municipal issue until legislation is passed.

Christian Nathler

Christian Nathler is a contributing writer at Notable Life.