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Canada moves a step closer to banning conversion therapy

Bill will become law once it receives royal assent

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Parliament Hill - Colline du Parlement Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (Public domain)

Update: The bill has received royal assent, and will take effect in 30 days.

OTTAWA, Ontario — The Canadian Senate on Tuesday approved a bill that would ban so-called conversion therapy in the country.

Attorney General David Lametti and Women and Gender Equality and Youth Minister Marci Ien last week introduced the measure that would amend Canada’s Criminal Code to ban the widely discredited practice. The Canadian House of Commons on Dec. 1 unanimously approved the bill.

“Our government’s legislation to ban conversion therapy in Canada is one step closer to becoming law,” tweeted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday. “To everyone who has made this possible, thank you. Let’s keep building a country where everyone is free to be who they are and love who they love.”

Lametti in his own tweet noted the bill will become law once it receives royal assent.

Canada would join Malta and a handful of countries that ban conversion therapy once the law takes effect.

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Canada

Conversion therapy officially banned in Canada

Handful of countries now prohibit discredited practice

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Parliament Hill - Colline du Parlement Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (Public domain)

OTTAWA, Ontario — A law that bans so-called conversion therapy in Canada took effect on Jan. 7.

Canadian lawmakers late last year approved the law that amended the country’s Criminal Code. The law took effect 30 days after it received royal assent, which happened on Dec. 8.

“As of today, it’s official: Conversion therapy is banned in Canada,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a Jan. 7 tweet. “Our government’s legislation has come into force — which means it is now illegal to promote, advertise, benefit from, or subject someone to this hateful and harmful practice. LGBTQ2 rights are human rights.”

Malta, Brazil and Ecuador are among the handful of countries that ban conversion therapy.

Proposals to prohibit the practice have been introduced in New Zealand and Finland over the last year. The British Parliament in 2022 is expected to consider a bill that would ban conversion therapy in England and Wales.

Germany bans conversion therapy for minors.

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Canada

Canada reaffirms pledge to resettle LGBTQ Afghans

Taliban regained control of Afghanistan last August

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Parliament Hill - Colline du Parlement Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (Public domain)

OTTAWA, Ontario — The Canadian government on Dec. 31 once again said it will resettle LGBTQ Afghans in the country.

Reuters reported a spokesperson for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Sean Fraser did not say how many LGBTQ Afghans will be resettled in Canada, but said they would have “been referred by a third-party aid organization.”

The spokesperson also told Reuters the Canadian government will allow upwards of 230 female judges and their relatives who fled Afghanistan after the Taliban regained control of the country to settle in Canada. They are expected to arrive in Canada this year, but the spokesperson did not provide a specific timeline.

The Taliban regained control of Afghanistan on Aug. 15 after it entered Kabul, the country’s capital.

A Taliban judge in July said the group would once again execute people if it were to return to power in Afghanistan.

The Canadian government previously said it would offer refuge to LGBTQ Afghans.

Two groups of LGBTQ Afghans who Rainbow Railroad, a Canada-based group, helped evacuate from Afghanistan arrived in the U.K. last fall. Some of the 50 Afghan human rights activists who Taylor Hirschberg, a researcher at the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health who is also a Hearst Foundation scholar, has been able to help leave the country since the Taliban regained control of it are LGBTQ.

Rainbow Railroad is one of the many advocacy groups that has urged the Biden administration to do more to help LGBTQ Afghans who remain in the country.

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Canada

Canadian government introduces legislation to ban conversion therapy

Prime minister says discredited practice as ‘discriminatory and degrading’

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Parliament Hill - Colline du Parlement Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (Public domain)

OTTAWA, Ontario — The Canadian government on Monday introduced a bill that would ban so-called conversion therapy in the country.

The bill that Attorney General David Lametti and Women and Gender Equality and Youth Minister Marci Ien introduced would amend Canada’s Criminal Code to specifically ban:

  • 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

A press release the Canadian government issued said the bill would allow courts “to order the seizure of conversion therapy advertisements or to order their removal from computer systems or the internet.”

“The pain and trauma caused by conversion therapy practices continue to have a devastating impact on LGBTQ2 communities across Canada,” said Ien. “Our government is focused on promoting equality rights and tackling discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirit people. Criminalizing this practice upholds basic human rights, while also ensuring that every Canadian is free to live their authentic lives.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a tweet said conversion therapy “is discriminatory and degrading, and has had devastating impacts on LGBTQ2 Canadians.”

“It has no place in our country,” he said.

Tourism Minister Randy Boissonnault, who previously advised Trudeau on LGBTQ issues, also applauded the bill’s introduction.

“Conversion ‘therapy’ is akin to torture,” said Boissonnault. “I encourage all of my colleagues in the House (of Commons), to support this bill that will move to criminalize conversion therapy in Canada once and for all.”

Trudeau, who won re-election in September, has previously called for a prohibition of the widely discredited practice. The Canadian Senate earlier this year tabled a separate conversion therapy ban bill.

The House of Commons on Wednesday unanimously approved the recently introduced bill. It now goes to the Senate.

Canada would join Malta and a handful of countries that ban conversion therapy.

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