Ottawa looking at Criminal Code reforms to deter 'shameful' conversion therapy

Posted In: News Date:Jul 9th, 2019

The federal government is calling on all provincial governments to stop conversion therapy while it considers changes to the Criminal Code to block the practice.

"The federal government is committed to doing everything within its jurisdiction to combat conversion therapy," reads a letter from two Liberal cabinet members and an Alberta MP to Alberta's Justice Minister Doug Schweitzer.

"The provincial, territorial, municipal and federal governments all have roles to play to protect Canadians from the harms associated with this practice."

The June letter, recently obtained by CBC News, asks Schweitzer to take immediate action to "end the shameful practice." It's signed by federal Justice Minister David Lametti, Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor and Edmonton Centre MP Randy Boissonnault, special adviser on LGBT issues to the prime minister.

Conversion therapy — which is opposed by the Canadian Psychological Association — tries to change people's sexual orientation, gender identity or expression through counselling, medication or religious observances.

Activists say conversion therapy often happens informally in churches and on a one-on-one basis rather than through more organized groups. It's not clear how prevalent it is in Canada.