Justin Trudeau Directs Canadian Government to Ban Conversion Therapy

If successful, the new initiative would put Canada far ahead of the U.S. in restricting the debunked practice.

Canadian officials have been directed to criminalize conversion therapy in Canada.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is calling for a ban on the pseudoscientific practice. On December 13, Trudeau wrote a letter to Canada Attorney General David Lametti, directing him to work with the Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth and amend the country’s Criminal Code to make conversion therapy illegal nationwide.

Trudeau cited the move along with a laundry list of other policy mandates following his October re-election. The PM claimed victory this fall, even after a video of him in blackface surfaced and plagued his re-election bid. (He’s since apologized for the incident.)

The conversion therapy directive is among several initiatives Trudeau says the electorate approved by keeping him in office.

“Canadians sent the message that they want us to work together to make progress on the issues that matter most, from making their lives more affordable and strengthening the health care system, to protecting the environment, keeping our communities safe and moving forward on reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples,” he wrote.

If Canada succeeds in banning conversion therapy, the new initiative would put the country far ahead of the U.S. in regulating the practice. Just a handful of American states have managed to restrict or prohibit conversion therapy, while The Trevor Project and other LGBTQ advocacy groups have long linked the practice to high rates of PTSD and suicide among survivors.

Some major cities across the U.S. also have anti-conversion therapy protections for LGBTQ youth in place, though those local-level laws are few and far between.

“The Trevor Project applauds Prime Minister Trudeau for taking a stand against the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy in Canada,” said Sam Brinton, head of advocacy and government affairs for The Trevor Project, in a statement. “When state leaders like Prime Minister Trudeau prioritize the protection of LGBTQ youth on the global stage, it sends a message to young people around the world that they are not alone and that they should be proud of who they are.”

Kate Sosin is an award-winning, trans-identified news and investigative reporter.
@shoeleatherkate