Conversion therapy banned in Edmonton after unanimous city council vote

Dec 10 2019, 10:35 pm

In a vote at Edmonton city council on Tuesday, councillors unanimously voted to ban the practice of conversion therapy.

Conversion therapy refers to any treatment, counselling, or behaviour modification that aims to change someone’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

The city passed Bylaw 19061 — the Prohibited Businesses Bylaw — on Tuesday, which bans the practice of conversion therapy, including a minimum fine of $10,000.

“A prohibition on the practice of conversion therapy aligns with the City of Edmonton’s
public safety outcome of ensuring Edmontonians are safe and secure in our
community,” reads the bylaw.

The initial motion was passed in city council in August of this year, after a report was presented to the Community and Public Services Committee.

The report said that the ban on the business practice of conversion therapy would be symbolic.

“It would not necessarily be effective at preventing conversion therapy from happening entirely, but rather would prohibit the practice as a business activity. As this practice is largely clandestine, enforcement may be challenging,” said the report.

The report was meant to provide background information on the practice of conversion therapy in Canada, because it is “not generally visible, and reliable data on the frequency, duration, and source of conversion therapy is not available.”

Other Alberta municipalities that are taking steps towards banning the practice include St. Albert, Strathcona County, Spruce Grove, and Calgary.

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