Canada officially bans LGBT conversion therapy, makes it a punishable offence
Canada has banned conversion therapy, joining a select list of countries that discontinued the discredited treatment that claims to be able to change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity.
The Canadian government on Friday officially implemented the ban which was passed by the Parliament in December 2021.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement on Twitter on Saturday, saying that the Canadian bill makes “providing, promoting, or advertising conversion therapy” a criminal offence.
“As of today, it’s official: Conversion therapy is banned in Canada. Our government’s legislation has come into force —which means it is now illegal to promote, advertise, benefit from, or subject someone to this hateful and harmful practice. LGBTQ2 rights are human rights,” he said.
“LGBTQ2" is the acronym used by the Canadian government, with the “2” referring to Two-Spirit, “a culturally-specific identity used by some Indigenous people to indicate a person whose gender identity, spiritual identity and/or sexual orientation comprises both male and female spirits,” according to the government’s glossary of terminology.
Under the new law, anyone who looks to subject someone of any age, consenting or not, to so-called conversion therapy could face up to five years in prison.
In addition to this, if someone is found to be promoting, advertising, or profiting from providing the practice, they could face up to two years in prison.
The conversion therapies are based on the premise that sexual orientation can be changed or “cured”. It's often performed by religious leaders, but licensed clinicians are also engaged in the practice.
Among the practices followed in the conversion include talk and aversion therapy, as well as medical or drug-induced treatments.
Apart from Canada, there are only a handful of countries that have banned conversion therapies, they are: Brazil, Ecuador, Germany and Malta have an outright ban on the practice.
Some countries have banned the practice indirectly, for example, Argentina, Uruguay, Samoa, Fiji and Naura, whereas US, Australia and Spain have outlawed it in some areas.