Canada passes bill banning sexuality and gender conversion practices


Canadian lawmakers have passed a bill outlawing LGBTQ+ conversion practices.

The bill, which was an election commitment of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal party, passed with 263 politicians voting for the laws and 63 voting against the change. The legislation will now move to the senate for further consideration.

The issue split members of the opposition party, with 62 out of 119 Conservative party members voting against the legislation. The leader of the Conservative party, Erin O’Toole, voted for the legislation, while deputy leader Candice Bergen (not the Murphy Brown actress) voted against the bill.

With an election expected in coming months O’Toole will be hoping to avoid being dogged by questions about support for the LGBTIQ+ community, a challenge which former leader Andrew Scheer faced at the previous poll.

After the bill was past the Conservatives put out a statement saying as a party they were opposed to coercive conversion therapy practices, but many of their members had voted against the bill because they believed the definition of conversion therapy in the legislation was too broad.

“Conservatives are committed to ensuring protections are in place to ban conversion therapy in Canada and that the law targets coercive practices, and not conversations,” the party said.

Following the passage of the bill through the lower house Prime Minister Justin Trudeau posted the result of the vote to Twitter describing conversion practices as “harmful and degrading”.

“Conversion therapy has no place in Canada. And even though more than half of the Conservative caucus voted against it, the House of Commons has passed our legislation to criminalize this harmful and degrading practice. We’ll always stand up for LGBTQ2 Canadians and their rights.” Trudeau said.

Conversion practices were defined as “practices, treatment or services designed to change an individual’s sexual orientation to heterosexual or gender identity to cisgender or to reduce non-heterosexual sexual attraction or sexual behaviour.”

The legislation covers; causing an individual to undergo conversion therapy against their will; causing a child to undergo conversion therapy; removing a child from Canada to undergo conversion therapy abroad; receiving a financial or other material benefit from the provision of conversion therapy; and advertising an offer to provide conversion therapy.

If passed by the upper house of the Canadian Parliament, Canada will Malta, Ecuador, Brazil, Germany and Taiwan in enforcing nation-wide bans on ‘conversion therapy’ practices. In Australia laws have been passed in Queensland, the Australian Capital Territory and Victoria.

The Western Australian McGowan Government has announced it will tighten up laws round the registration of counselors, but has not committed to an outright ban of conversion practices.