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House of Commons votes to ban conversion therapy in Canada

Last Updated Jun 22, 2021 at 2:38 pm PDT

The Peace Tower is pictured on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Jan. 25, 2021, as lawmakers return to the House of Commons following the winter break. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

A Trudeau government bill to effectively ban conversion therapy in Canada has passed in the house of commons by a vote of 263 to 63.

The bill will ban conversion therapy for children, bar people from forcing anyone to go through it, and outlaws the profiting from or advertising of such services.

Conversion therapy is a practice of trying to change another person’s sexuality by attempting to turn an LGBTQ person straight.

It harms and stigmatizes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and Two-Spirit (LGBTQ2) persons, undermines their dignity, and negatively impacts their equality rights.

Liberals, the NDP, and Bloc Quebecois members all voted in favour of the bill. Conservative leader Erin O’Toole also voted with the Trudeau government, but around half of conservative MP’s, including the deputy leader and several members of O’Toole’s inner circle, voted against the proposal.

The legislation now goes to the Senate, where it will need to pass before receiving royal assent.

In October, legislation proposed five criminal code offences related to conversion therapy, including causing a minor to undergo conversion therapy and removing a minor from Canada to undergo conversion therapy abroad.

“Conversion therapy is a cruel practice that can lead to life-long trauma, particularly for young people,” said David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, in October.

“Our Government remains steadfast in our commitment to protecting the dignity and equality rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirit Canadians, by criminalizing a practice that discriminates against and harms them.”