TORONTO, Oct 1 (Reuters) – Canada has reintroduced a bill on Thursday that will criminalize LGBT conversion therapy, a federal minister said after an earlier effort to ban the practice failed as the parliament was discontinued due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Conversion therapy is any practice designed to change a person’s sexual orientation, which especially harms and stigmatizes those belonging to the lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans community.
Federal Minister of Justice David Lametti said the new bill will include five amendments to Canada’s Criminal Code to include offenses such as causing a minor to undergo conversion therapy, causing any person to undergo the therapy against their will, and profiting off from the practice.
The bill was previously introduced in the House of Commons in March.
“Conversion therapy is harmful, degrading, and has no place in Canada … I hope that all parties will do the right thing by supporting this bill,” Prime Minster Justin Trudeau told reporters on Thursday.
Trudeau’s Liberal Party promised to ban the practice during an unveiling of the party’s election platform last year.
The bill was presented in the House of Commons on Thursday though no voting date has been set.
Some 20% of sexual minority men in Canada have undergone some form of conversion therapy, according government data. Lower income, indigenous and trans people are disproportionately exposed to the practice, the data shows.
The bill will not apply to those seeking guidance and support from counselors or faith leaders.
Canadian cities such as Vancouver in British Columbia andCalgary in Alberta are banning the practice within their borders, a government statement said.
(Reporting by Mahad Arale; Additional reporting Steve Scherer in Ottawa; Editing by Aurora Ellis)