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Ending Conversion Therapy in Canada

Minister of Justice, David Lametti introduced Bill C-6 in the House of Commons on October 27, 2020.


What does Bill C-6 mean for LGBTQ+ people and how close is it to becoming law?

By: Becca Ladd


Bill C-6: a complete ban on conversion therapy

Canada’s members of parliament are making a critical move against discrimination towards LGBTQ+ people in Canada through a new bill proposal. Bill C-6, or the conversion therapy ban, was introduced in the House of Commons on October 27, 2020. Bill C-6 aims to help protect all LGBTQ+ children across Canada from the traumatic effects of conversion therapy. It also seeks to erase the implication that being queer is “bad” or “undesirable.”

Bill C-6 would adjust the criminal code to include conversion therapy. According to the Government of Canada charter statement, conversion therapy for children, non-consenting minors and adults as well as advertising conversion therapy and receiving money or anything else for providing conversion therapy will all be illegal. It will also be illegal for a minor to be taken out of Canada and receive conversion therapy in another country. It won’t be illegal for an adult to enroll themselves in conversion therapy or for a minor or child to talk about their sexuality or gender identity with someone who seeks to support them.


Getting Bill C-6 passed into law

Prior to the election, Bill C-6 was well on its way to becoming law in Canada. The process of turning Bill C-6 into law means it has to go through three readings in the House of Commons before going through the Senate and then the Governor-General.

Bill C-6 was passed in its third reading with 263 votes in favour of 326 votes. 62 members of the Conservative Party of Canada and one independent voted against the bill.

The status of Bill C-6 post-election, where it will go now and if Canadian’s will see a ban on conversion therapy this year is unclear. Even though Bill C-6 was in its final reading, all tabled bills that haven’t been passed into law prior to an election are thrown out.

What this means is that Bill C-6 will have to be reintroduced into parliament. Once it’s tabled, the process of passing it into law will begin once again. It will have to be voted on twice in parliament and then be approved by the Governor-General for Canadians to see a ban on conversion therapy become a reality.


What happens to Bill C-6?

It’s a bit discouraging knowing Canadians were so close to getting a ban on conversion therapy only to have it ripped away, but there is hope. The majority of members of parliament know how important a ban on conversion therapy is for LGBTQ+ people meaning we can get Bill C-6 back on the table. The most effective way to get it reinstated is to write or call your member of parliament or the original bill sponsor, David Lametti, and ask them to put forward the bill once parliament reconvenes in November. You can find Lametti and all other members of parliament’s contact information here.


The US and Bill C-6

Canada’s Bill C-6 and its fate have very real implications for similar bans in the US. Currently, there is no nationwide ban on conversion therapy in the US, meaning states are responsible for putting their own conversion therapy laws in place. A nationwide ban would protect LGBTQ+ people regardless of the state they’re born in.

As neighbors, Canada and the US seem to change and grow together. When something big happens to one country, the repercussions across the borders into the other. If Canada can put a ban on conversion therapy, maybe the US can echo that? Bill C-6 could ultimately offer a framework for the US to base their own conversion therapy laws on.

So, how can someone in the US help to make sure Bill C-6 becomes Canadian law? As someone living in the US, you have the power to create change! The most important thing is to not let the chatter around Bill C-6 stop. Raising awareness about Canada’s conversion therapy ban and how it could impact people in the US is just as important as Canadians writing to their members of parliament. Have conversations about Bill C-6 especially with Canadian friends, family and colleagues and help Canada table this bill in November.


For more information about Bill C-6 and why this law is critical for LGBTQ+ people, visit the Government of Canada website to view the charter statement.


About the Writer

Becca Ladd (she/ her) is a graduate student in Professional Writing and Communications at Humber College in Canada and is currently interning with the Pride and Joy Foundation. She has helped with two social media campaigns in Canadian politics and works every day to raise awareness about a variety of human rights issues. Becca currently resides in Ontario, Canada with her longtime partner, tuxedo cat and cocker spaniel.


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