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e-2760 (Justice)

Initiated by Gillean Payge from Langley, British Columbia

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the House of Commons in Parliament assembled

  • Bill C-8 conflates "sexual orientation" and "gender identity", two separate topics requiring different medical and legal treatment;
  • In Bill C-8, "conversion therapy" is vaguely defined and overreaches established safeguarding principles by criminalizing therapies offered by medical professionals and normal conversations between children and parents, counsellors, caregivers, and educators; and
  • Bill C-8 lacks clarity as to how provincial Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons are to, under the suggested treatment restrictions, formulate science-based guidelines on best treatment options for gender-questioning, gender-dysphoric, or de-transitioning children and adults while still maintaining the Hippocratic Oath.
We, the undersigned, citizens of Canada, call upon the House of Commons in Parliament assembled to address the issues outlined above and to complete and make public a gender-based analysis of the impact the legislation could have on women, children, professionals and families in health, education and caregiving roles.

Response by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

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

Bill C-6, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (conversion therapy), which was introduced in the House of Commons on October 1, 2020, supports the Government’s commitment to amend the Criminal Code to ban the practice of conversion therapy. A previous version, Bill C-8, was introduced in March 2020.

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, as well as advertising and profiting from conversion therapy, a practice that discriminates against LGBTQ2 people and is known to cause harm to those subjected to it.

As amended by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights (the Committee), which reported the Bill with amendments on December 11, 2020, 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”. The Bill targets practices, treatments or services that are designed to change a fundamental part of a person’s identity – their sexual orientation or gender identity – because these interventions are known to cause harm.

The Bill’s definition of conversion therapy captures practices, treatments or services that are designed to achieve the objective of changing a person’s identity. An activity that does not amount to a “practice, treatment or service” would not be captured by the proposed definition, nor would a practice, treatment or service that does not seek to change a person’s identity.

Specifically, the Bill’s definition of “conversion therapy” does not capture interventions that are considered to be legitimate by the mental health or medical professions, both of which denounce conversion therapy because it is aimed at achieving only a heterosexual or cisgender outcome, not assisting a person in exploring and developing their own identity, regardless of outcome. The Committee amended the definition’s “for greater certainty” clause to clarify that the Bill’s definition of conversion therapy does not include a practice, treatment or service that relates to the exploration or development of an integrated personal identity without favouring any particular sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

The Gender-Based Analysis Plus framework was used in the development of Bill C-6 to assess its expected impact on diverse groups of women, men, and gender diverse people. The analysis examined the impact of the proposals in Bill C-6 on LGBTQ2 Canadians, in particular Indigenous, trans and low-income individuals.

Open for signature
July 23, 2020, at 12:15 p.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
November 20, 2020, at 12:15 p.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Tamara Jansen (Cloverdale—Langley City)
December 9, 2020 (Petition No. 432-00382)
Government response tabled
January 25, 2021
Photo - Tamara Jansen
Cloverdale—Langley City
Conservative Caucus
British Columbia
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