Statement of Support for Bill C-6: An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (Conversion Therapy)

The Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS) supports Bill C-6: An Act to amend the Criminal Code (conversion therapy), which was re-introduced on October 1, 2020 by the Minister of Justice, Hon. David Lametti (LaSalle—Émard—Verdun, Quebec). The Government of Canada is proposing changes to the Criminal Code; Bill C-6 seeks to end conversion therapy in Canada to protect the dignity, equality, and human rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Two-Spirit (LGBT2SQ+) Canadians.

OACAS endorses Bill C-6, as children and youth must be protected from persecution and discrimination based on gender expression, gender identity, and sexual orientation. Bill C-6 upholds the intent of the Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child (1924), the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom (1982) and the Ontario Human Rights Code (1962). Bill C-6 is also complementary to Ontario law, as we were the first province to ban conversion therapy under the Affirming Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Act (2015).

It is distressing that in 2021, conversion therapy continues to exist in Canada. Conversion therapy is harmful, stigmatizing, and violates the dignity and right to identity and self-expression for LGBT2SQ+ individuals.

This proposed legislation would create five new offences that would prohibit: (1) Causing a minor to undergo conversion therapy; (2) Removing a minor from Canada to undergo conversion therapy abroad; (3) Causing a person to undergo conversion therapy against their will;  (4) Profiting from providing conversion therapy; and, (5) Advertising an offer to provide conversion therapy. We endorse this criminal law reform and support the health and well-being of LGBT2SQ+ Canadians.

We are standing up for Bill C-6 because child welfare agencies in Ontario support a high number of LGBT2SQ+ children and youth. These children and youth often experience family and community rejection and high rates of suicide, homelessness, and trauma.

We support the Federal government’s commitment to protecting children’s gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation rights. Children and youth need the visibility of organizations that will speak out and denounce conversion therapy’s harmful practice. We are proud to be an ally to affirm equal rights, embrace and support the plurality of identities, and work in partnership with all levels of government to create safe spaces for all young people in Canada.

“We see you, we hear you, we support you, and we affirm your right to your identity, expression, and sexual orientation.” — Nicole Bonnie, CEO, OACAS

The Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS) is a provincial membership organization representing 48 of Ontario’s 51 Children’s Aid Societies and Indigenous Child and Family Well-Being Agencies and two pre-mandated agencies. We work with our member Societies to ensure they have the necessary tools, educational opportunities, training, and conditions to fulfill their statutory mandate to deliver child protection services and to achieve equitable outcomes for children, youth, and families across the province.