The federal government has once again introduced a bill proposing changes to the Criminal Code, to crack down on the practice of conversion therapy in Canada.
Bill C-6, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (conversion therapy) proposes to deny undesirable strict guiding looking to change an individual’s sexual orientation to heterosexual; gender identity to cisgender; or lessen non-heterosexual behaviour, from one side of the country to the other.
It was first introduced on March 9, only days before COVID-19 shutdown Parliament Hill, however, then was killed when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau prorogued Parliament in August.
The 11-page bill proposes five new Criminal Code offences but leaves the door open to allow adults who willingly want to pursue what has also been called reparative therapy. But that remains possible only under limited circumstances.
“What we’re trying to do is create an architecture where the young person is comfortable saying: ‘No, you can’t do this. We’ve had the conversation. Stop. Done. This is the way I am,'” Justice Minister David Lametti told reporters after introducing the bill.
What the government is looking to make a crime:
• Causing a minor to undergo conversion therapy;
• removing a minor from Canada to undergo conversion therapy abroad;
• causing a person to undergo conversion therapy against their will;
• profiting from providing conversion therapy; and
• advertising an offer to provide conversion therapy.
Bill C-6 would also allow courts to seize conversion therapy promotional material and order it removed from the internet, though it also presents the same restrictions on matters “alleged to be obscene, child pornography, a voyeuristic recording, an intimate image, an advertisement of sexual services.”
According to a report published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, in Canada, more than 20,000 LGBTQ and two-spirit Canadians have been exposed to conversion therapy treatments or other efforts aimed at repressing or changing their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.
Conversion therapy is opposed by health and human rights groups including the World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organization, which in 2012 said that these conversion programs “lack medical justification and represent a serious threat to the health and well-being of affected people.”
Photo credit: iPolitics/Matthew Usherwood
News source: CTV News