Conversion practices ban becomes law in Canada

The BC Humanist Association is joining members and allies of the LGBTQ2S+ community in celebrating the historic passage of a ban on conversion therapy and practices.

After multiple previous bills failed to clear the legislative hurdles in Parliament, Senators today unanimously granted the bill second and third readings. This followed a similar unanimous motion in the House of Commons that allowed the bill to be fast-tracked through the usual processes.

"After so many false starts, it's so encouraging to see politicians of all stripes come together in the House of Commons and Senate to support this bill," said BCHA Executive Director Ian Bushfield. "This is a day for celebration and tomorrow we continue the fight against the intolerance and bigotry that fuel these practices."

Over 600 people supported the BCHA's petition calling for a ban on conversion therapy in 2020. In summer 2021, the BCHA provided a brief to Senators supporting the earlier bill but calling for stronger measures to protect sexual and gender minorities.

Bill C-4 maintains the strengths of the previous iterations and builds on them by eliminating the loophole that would have allowed an adult to "consent" to a conversion practice. As we argued at the time,

"Because there is no scientific evidence that supports conversion therapy, let alone to explain how it works, how could a potential ‘patient’ be provided with the information necessary to make an informed choice of whether or not to partake in the ‘treatment’?"

Update (Dec 9): The bill received Royal Assent on Wednesday, December 8 and will come into force on January 7, 2022.

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