Canada’s House of Commons approved a bill on Tuesday that amends the Criminal Code to criminalize certain activities associated with LGBTQ+ conversion therapy in order to discourage and denounce it.
The lower house passed the bill by a vote of 263 to 63 and, it defines “conversion therapy” as “a practice, treatment or service designed to change a person’s sexual orientation to heterosexual, to change a person’s gender identity or gender expression to cisgender or to repress or reduce non-heterosexual attraction or sexual behaviour or non-cisgender gender expression.”
The bill prohibits anyone from forcing an adult to undergo conversion therapy without their consent. It also makes it illegal to force a child to undertake conversion therapy, as well as to remove a child from Canada to undergo conversion therapy elsewhere. Further, the bill criminalizes the administration of conversion therapy for receiving a material benefit. It also makes advertising conversion therapy services a criminal offense.
However, if no money or other material benefit is received in exchange for administering conversion therapy to a consenting adult, the bill does not make it illegal. Moreover, it does not prevent a consenting adult from seeking or receiving conversion therapy.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti said, “the bill is about protecting the dignity and equality of rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirit individuals, by criminalizing conversion therapy-related conduct.”
The bill is now under consideration before the Senate.