Senate quickly passes bill banning conversion therapy in Canada

Dec 8 2021, 2:55 pm

The Senate passed the bill banning conversion therapy in Canada on Tuesday.

Senators fast-tracked Bill C-4 through all stages of the legislative process with very little debate and no changes.

This comes just a week after members of parliament unanimously passed the bill in the House of Commons. The legislation will protect Canadians of all ages from the harmful practice by making it illegal in Canada.

It will become law once it receives royal assent, which is expected to happen as early as Wednesday.

The Senate has just passed #C4 the complete ban on so-called conversion therapies. We now await Royal Assent,” said Canada’s Minister of Justice and Attorney General David Lametti on Twitter. “I want to thank all Senators. We accomplish great things when we all work together.”

The speedy approval was proposed by Conservative Senator Leo Housakos, who rose in the upper chamber seeking unanimous approval to move Bill C-4 through all legislative stages.

“I think we have to get to the reflex in this institution that when something is in the universal interest, public interest, that we should not create unnecessary duplication and engage in unnecessary debates,” Housakos explained in the senate on Tuesday.

Bill C-4 plans on eliminating the practice of conversion therapy on both children and adults 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 Criminal Code would make the harmful practice a crime punishable by up to five years in prison.

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.

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.

The practice can go by many different names like “reparative therapy” and “reorientation therapy” and can take various forms, including counselling and behavioural modification.

Isabelle DoctoIsabelle Docto

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