Canada has officially banned LGBTQ2S+ conversion therapy

After getting fast-tracked through the Senate and House of Commons, Bill C-4 received royal assent Wednesday

After years of promises, three dead bills and a federal election, the Canadian federal government has officially banned conversion therapy in the country.

Bill C-4 received royal assent on Wednesday. According to the text of the Bill, it will come into effect 30 days from now. The Criminal Code will be amended to see LGBTQ2S+ conversion therapy practices banned in Canada for both adults and children.

Specifically, it will be a criminal offence in Canada to promote or advertise so-called “conversion therapy,” which seeks to change an individual’s gender identity or sexual orientiation. It will also now be an offence to profit off of conversion therapy. 

The issue of a federal ban on conversion therapy has been languishing in Parliament since NDP MP Sheri Benson first tabled a related petition back in 2019. A bill nearly passed this summer, but stalled in the Senate before the end of the legislative session.

During this year’s federal election, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged to reintroduce legislation for a ban within his new government’s first 100 days.

Bill C-4 was introduced by Justice Minister David Lametti in the House of Commons last week, and received a surprise fast-tracking from the Conservative opposition, with unanimous consent from the House, meaning it skipped all readings. A similar move was taken in the Senate this week; in all, the bill took less than two weeks from being tabled to becoming law.

Wednesday’s royal assent was the final step before the bill officially became law. It is the first piece of legislation to fully pass and receive royal assent in this sitting of parliament, and the first piece of legislation Governor General Mary Simon has signed into law.

Senior editor Mel Woods is an English-speaking Vancouver-based writer and audio producer and a former associate editor with HuffPost Canada. A proud prairie queer and ranch dressing expert, their work has also appeared in Vice, Slate, the Tyee, the CBC, the Globe and Mail and the Walrus.

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