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432-00814 (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, conversion therapy has historically referred to coercive, degrading actions that seek to change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity which are wrong and should be banned;

Whereas, Bill C-6 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 behavior or non-cisgender gender expression";

Whereas, this broad definition wrongly applies the label “conversion therapy” to a broad range of practices, including counsel from parents, teachers, and counsellors encouraging children to reduce sexual behavior;

Whereas, Bill C-6 expressly allows counselling, medical, and surgical efforts to change a child's gender, but prohibits support for a child seeking to de-transition to his or her birth (cis) gender;

Whereas, Bill C-6 could restrict the choices of LGBTQ2 Canadians concerning sexuality and gender by prohibiting access to any professional or spiritual support freely chosen to limit sexual behaviour or de-transition.

Therefore we, the undersigned, call on the House of Commons to take the following actions to address the situation:

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

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

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

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

5. Avoid criminalizing professional and religious counselling voluntarily requested and consented to by 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. 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 without their consent, to undergo conversion therapy, and prohibit promoting, advertising and profiting from conversion therapy, a practice that discriminates against LGBTQ2 people.

As amended by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, Bill C-6 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.”

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 outcome that conforms with societal norms, would not be captured by the proposed definition of conversion therapy, regardless of who provides and who receives the treatment or service. The Bill contains a “for greater certainty” clause to clarify that its conversion therapy definition does not include a practice, treatment or service that relates to the exploration of a person’s identity or its development, without favouring any particular sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. The conversion therapy definition proposed by Bill C-6 would also not capture conversations or discussions that are not part of a formalized intervention (such as talk therapy) in which personal viewpoints on sexual orientation, gender expression or gender identity are expressed.

Finally, Bill C-6 would not prohibit the provision of conversion therapy to consenting adults when no fees are charged. The Bill does propose to prohibit profiting from, promoting 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.

Presented to the House of Commons
Damien Kurek (Battle River—Crowfoot)
April 15, 2021 (Petition No. 432-00814)
Government response tabled
May 31, 2021
Photo - Damien Kurek
Battle River—Crowfoot
Conservative Caucus

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