The House of Commons unanimously agreed to pass a bill that bans conversion therapy on Wednesday, December 1.
Bill C-4 will protect Canadians of all ages from the harmful practice by making it illegal in Canada.
David Lametti, Canada’s minister of justice and attorney general, took to Twitter to thank all members of parliament “for choosing the right side of history.”
The complete ban on so-called conversion therapy has been passed by unanimous consent. #C4 now goes to the Senate. I want to thank all elected members for choosing the right side of history.
— David Lametti (@DavidLametti) December 1, 2021
The legislation plans on eliminating the practice of conversion therapy with four new Criminal Code offences. It would prohibit any person from undergoing conversion therapy, removing a minor from Canada to subject them to conversion therapy abroad, profiting from providing conversion therapy and advertising or promoting conversion therapy.
The bill is an expansion of Bill C-6, which was introduced in 2020, expanding the legislation to protect consenting adults from taking part in the harmful practice.
According to bill C-4, so-called conversion therapy is a practice that aims to change a person’s sexual orientation to heterosexual or change a person’s gender identity to cisgender. It can also include forcing a person’s gender expression to conform to the sex assigned to them at birth and repressing a person’s non-heterosexual attraction and non-cisgender gender identity.
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The practice can go by many different names like “reparative therapy” and “reorientation therapy” and can take various forms, including counselling and behavioural modification.
Municipal governments have also taken steps to combat the practice. In 2018, Vancouver banned businesses that practice conversion therapy.
If the bill passes as-is, it will make conversion therapy a crime punishable by up to five years.
The legislation will now be looked over in the senate, where it could be subject to changes.