Conversion “therapy”

Conversion “therapy” is also known as SOGIECE – Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression Change Efforts.

There is no credible scientific evidence that you can change a person’s orientation or gender and a wealth of evidence that conversion “therapy” has devastating long term effects on those who go through it. In a recent study, nearly half (47%) of trans and non-binary people who experienced conversion “therapy” attempted suicide, compared to 26% of conversion “therapy” survivors overall.

In Canada, it was estimated in 2019 that more than 20,000 Canadians have experienced conversion therapy. However, the real figure is likely much higher, as conversion therapy has never been formally tracked or criminalized in Canada.

An attempt to ban conversion “therapy” was first made with Bill C-6, an act that would amend the Criminal Code to ban these practices. This bill was first introduced in March 2020, but progress was stalled when Parliament was prorogued that summer. It was reintroduced in October and after its third reading in the House of Commons in June of 2021, finally passed, though 62 MPs voted against it. However, the Senate rose for the summer before it could be approved and then the election was called, killing the bill.

However, in November of 2021 a new bill banning conversion “therapy” was introduced which expanded on bill C6 and was approved by the Senate in early December of 2021. This legislation adds four new Criminal Code offences that prohibit:

  • causing another person to undergo conversion therapy
  • removing a minor from Canada to subject them to conversion therapy abroad
  • profiting from providing conversion therapy
  • advertising or promoting conversion therapy

This bill protects all Canadians, regardless of age, and also authorizes courts to order the seizure of conversion therapy advertisements or to order their removal from computer systems or the Internet.