Raising awareness in Alberta and Manitoba about the new conversion therapy Criminal Code offences

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OTTAWA, ON, May 26, 2022 /CNW/ - Diversity and inclusion are among Canada's greatest strengths. Everyone should be able to live a true and authentic life, free from violence and discrimination, no matter who they are or who they love.

Today, the Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada joined by the Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance, Jeff Surtees, Executive Director from the Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta and Mary Troszko, Executive Director from the Community Legal Education Association of Manitoba, announced funding for two projects that support the implementation of legislative changes to ban conversion therapy. Both organisations will raise awareness about the new Criminal Code offences related to conversion therapy, and bring light to some of the most vulnerable people.

Conversion therapy practices aim to change an individual's sexual orientation to heterosexual, to change an individual's gender identity to cisgender, or to change their gender expression to match the sex they were assigned at birth. They harm and further stigmatize sexual and gender-diverse persons and undermine their equality and dignity. They reflect myths and stereotypes about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and Two-Spirit (LGBTQ2) communities, particularly that their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression are wrong. These harmful practices also reinforce heteronormative and cis-normative ideas, as well as gender-conformity on LGBTQ2 individuals. Changes to the Criminal Code made in 2021 banned and criminalized conversion therapy practices.

The funding has supported the Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta to:

  • develop legal information materials on conversion therapy including a short animated video describing the law and its historical importance and host a webinar;

  • reach the LGBTQ2+ community specifically and the wider population in Alberta; and

  • raise awareness and increase availability of information through a number of activities.

The funding has supported the Community Legal Education Association of Manitoba to:

  • develop public legal education materials including: brochures, fact sheets, posters, FAQs, a video and a webinar related to conversion therapy.

Justice Canada has provided a total of $123,000 for these two projects under the Victims Fund. This investment supports the Government of Canada's commitment to protect all Canadians- regardless of age - from the harms of conversion therapy and from its commercialization.

Quotes

"Too many Canadians have undergone conversion therapy and now live with its harmful effects. I applaud the tremendous work that the Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta and Community Legal Education Association of Manitoba are doing to raise awareness amongst the LGBTQ2+ community. In 2021 we banned conversation therapy and made it a criminal offence.  No one should have to face the devastating effects of this criminal practice.

The Honourable David Lametti, P.C., Q.C., M.P.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

"Today's announcement sends a clear message to Canadians and especially to members of sexual and gender diverse communities that everyone has the right to live freely, to be their authentic selves, and to love whoever they choose without judgment. The funding provided to the Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta and Community Legal Education Association of Manitoba will help raise awareness in the community about the new Criminal Code offences related to conversion therapy. We will continue to work with LGBTQ2 communities to create a Canada where all LGBTQ2 individuals can live free from discrimination."

The Honourable Randy Boissonnault,
Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance

"Public legal education helps Canadians understand the laws that impact their lives. This funding will help the Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta get the word out about these historic and positive changes to the law in Canada. We are proud to be a part of this important work."

Jeff Surtees, Executive Director
The Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta

"Community Legal Education Association's motto is:  'Unknown Rights are not Rights at All!'  We believe that everyone has a right to know about the law, especially about laws that directly impact them.  This is even more important for the most vulnerable."

Mary Troszko, Executive Director
Community Legal Education Association of Manitoba

Quick Facts

  • Federal legislation to criminalize and ban Conversion became law in 2021.

  • According to the results of the 2019-2020 Community-Based Research Centre Sex Now Survey, 10% of sexual minority men who responded to the survey had been subjected to conversion therapy practices. The results of the Survey also showed that lower income, Indigenous, racialized and gender-diverse persons are disproportionately represented among those exposed to conversion therapy.

  • Ontario, Nova Scotia, PEI, Yukon and Québec have enacted their own legislation addressing different aspects of conversion therapy in their jurisdiction. Other jurisdictions have implemented non-legislative measures, such as Manitoba, which issued a position statement indicating that it expects health professionals to ensure that conversion therapy is not practised in the province.

  • In addition to Criminal Code legislation, some Canadian municipalities, such as Vancouver, B.C., Calgary, Edmonton, St. Albert, Strathcona County, Lethbridge, Wood Buffalo and Spruce Grove, Alberta, Saskatoon and Regina, Saskatchewan and Kingston, Ontario have expressly banned the practice and promotion of conversion therapy within their city limits.

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SOURCE Department of Justice Canada

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View original content: http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/May2022/26/c2069.html