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432-00048 (Justice)

Paper petition

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the House of Commons

We, the undersigned citizens of Canada, draw the attention of the House of Commons to the following:

Whereas, proposed Bill C-8 reflects the will of all Parliamentarians to ban coercive and degrading practices known as conversion therapy;

However, Bill C-8 uses an overreaching definition of "conversion therapy" that could restrict practices that are not at all related to conversion therapy;

And whereas, government action to fix the definition used in Bill C-8 would ensure an effective legal regime that respects the rights of all Canadians.

We the undersigned therefore, urge the House of Commons to:

Ban coercive, degrading practices that are designed to change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity;

Ensure that no laws discriminate against Canadians by limiting the services they can receive based on their sexual orientation or gender identity;

Allow parents to speak with their own children about sexuality and gender, and set house rules about sex and relationships;

Allow free and open conversations about sexuality and sexual behaviour; and

Not criminalize professional and religious counseling voluntarily requested and consented to by LGBTQ2 Canadians.

Response by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable David Lametti

Every Canadian has the right to be who they are and love who they love. Conversion therapy is a scientifically discredited practice that targets vulnerable LGBTQ2 Canadians in an attempt to change their sexual orientation or identity. It is a cruel, harmful and degrading practice that can lead to life-long trauma.

Our Government promised to ban conversion therapy in the Criminal Code and we are moving forward with that commitment.

Bill C-6, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (conversion therapy), was introduced in the House of Commons on October 1, 2020, in support of the Government’s commitment to amend the Criminal Code to ban the practice of conversion therapy. Bill C-6 is identical to former Bill C-8, which died on the Order Paper when Parliament prorogued in August. The main objective of Bill C-6 is to protect the dignity and equality of LGBTQ2 people through Criminal Code amendments that would prohibit causing a person under 18, or anyone against their will, to undergo conversion therapy, and prohibit advertising and profiting from conversion therapy, a practice that discriminates against LGBTQ2 people.

Bill C-6 defines conversion therapy as “a practice, treatment or service designed to change a person’s sexual orientation to heterosexual or gender identity to cisgender, or to repress or reduce non-heterosexual attraction or sexual behaviour.” Only practices, treatments or services that are meant to achieve one of these objectives are captured by the definition of conversion therapy and the proposed offences. Any practice, treatment or service that maintains a range of possible outcomes, or that seeks to explore a person’s sexuality or gender identity without seeking a specific heteronormative outcome, would not be captured by the proposed definition of conversion therapy, regardless of who provides and who receives the treatment or service. For additional clarity, the Bill contains a “for greater certainty” clause to emphasise that its conversion therapy definition does not include a practice, treatment or service that relates to a person’s gender transition, or to the exploration of their identity or its development.

Finally, Bill C-6 proposes to prohibit profiting from and advertising conversion therapy, which would reduce its availability and the presence of discriminatory public messaging about the LGBTQ2 community.

LGBTQ2 rights are human rights. We hope that all political parties will join us in defending the rights of LGBTQ2 Canadians and unequivocally support a ban on conversion therapy.

Presented to the House of Commons
Arnold Viersen (Peace River—Westlock)
October 1, 2020 (Petition No. 432-00048)
Government response tabled
November 16, 2020
Photo - Arnold Viersen
Peace River—Westlock
Conservative Caucus

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