Banning conversion therapy is essential to protecting children’s rights in Canada

Honourable Members of Parliament,

We, the undersigned, represent a broad coalition of organizations and advocates committed to advancing and protecting children’s rights in Canada. We are writing to you to voice our support for Bill C-6, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (conversion therapy). We believe this legislation is an essential step forward in ensuring children and young people are protected from harm and that Canada abides by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Canadian Human Rights Act. It is our belief that Bill C-6 is a fundamental component of a holistic approach to protecting all children and youth from harm.

Subjecting children to unscientific therapies intended to repair or cure them of their sexual orientation or gender identity violates a child’s right to protection against discrimination enshrined in Article 2 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) to which Canada is party. It also violates the CRC’s guiding principle of Best Interest of the Child (Article 3) by failing to ensure that protection is provided and aligned with a child’s well being. Moreover, Article 19 requires Canada to take “legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation” which effectively describes the harm caused to children and youth subjected to conversion therapy.

Furthermore, under the Canadian Human Rights Act, children and young people in Canada are protected from discrimination based on their gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation. The protections included within Bill C-6 codify the rights of trans, gender diverse and 2SLGBTQ+ children and youth to live free from harm and protected against discrimination.

Trans and gender diverse children in particular continue to be impacted by conversion therapy, as demonstrated by a recent report published by Trans Pulse Canada. An astonishing and deeply concerning 11% of trans and gender diverse people in Canada have undergone conversion therapy. While many may presume conversion therapy is an uncommon practice in Canada, the evidence says otherwise, given that 8% of trans young people between the ages of 14 and 24 having been subjected to conversion therapy. Bill C-6 is a necessary intervention to protect trans and gender diverse youth from this traumatic, discredited and scientifically disproven practice.

Canada, like the provinces of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Ontario, Manitoba, the Yukon Territory, and cities like Vancouver, Edmonton, and Calgary, amongst others, must realize children’s right to protection by legislating to prevent this harmful practice towards children and youth.

We encourage you to listen to the voices of 2SLGBTQ+ survivors of conversion therapy, and 2SLGBTQ+ children and youth who continue to be impacted by discrimination in Canada, by voting in favour of Bill C-6.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Organizations

  • Wisdom2Action Consulting Ltd.
  • UNICEF Canada
  • Children’s Welfare League of Canada
  • Families Canada
  • Equitas – International Centre for Human Rights Education
  • Children’s First Canada
  • Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity
  • Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa
  • Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights
  • YWCA Canada
  • Jack.org
  • Planned Parenthood Ottawa
  • The Sandbox Project
  • The Young Canadians Roundtable on Health
  • The Ten Oaks Project
  • Promoting Resilience and Ending Violence Network (PREVNet)
  • Mosaic-Newcomer Family Resource Network
  • Sexual Health Nova Scotia
  • Wisdom2Action
  • Transgender Media Portal
  • Platform
  • Kind Space
  • LGBT Youth Line
  • Black Health Alliance
  • FRAYME
  • AIDS Coalition of Nova Scotia
  • Carleton University Student Union Gender and Sexuality Resource Centre

Individuals

  • Irwin Elman
  • Kelly Stone
  • Erika Musa, trans conversion therapy survivor
  • Shauna MacEachern
  • Leslie Barker
  • Karen Luyendyk, RN, MSN
  • Dr. Ashley Stewart-Tufsecu (University of Manitoba)
  • Dr. Brenda A. LeFrançois (Memorial University)
  • Dr. Joan Durrant (University of Manitoba)
  • Dr. Kelly Petrunka (Queens University)
  • Dr. R. Brian Howe (Cape Breton University)
  • Dr. Tara Collins (Ryerson University)
  • Dr. Richard Mitchell (Brock University)
  • Kathleen Barker
  • Mikayla LaFortune
  • Jesse Hayman
  • Ron Ensom, MSW
  • Jean Tinling
  • Angie Osachoff