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Community Call to Action: Conversion Practices Legislation

Kelowna-based Advocacy Canada joins No Conversion Canada along with over 100 Canadian organizations calling on the federal government to take action on conversion practices.

Along with over 100 Canadian organizations, Advocacy Canada signed on to a Community Call to Action (announcement and links to document) prepared by No Conversion Canada requesting the 44th session of Canadian parliament takes specific actions relating to conversion practices. These actions include:

  • Prohibiting all forms of conversion practices,
  • Developing accompanying policies and funding to support survivor healing, and
  • Creating public education and awareness programs to prevent future conversion practices.

Conversion practices are used to attempt to change an individual’s sexual orientation, gender expression, or gender identity. These practices have been proven to be not only ineffectual but extremely harmful.

We, the undersigned, call on all Parliamentarians to affirm the inherent dignity and human rights of all Canadians, including those from the 2SLGBTQI+ community, to live free from discrimination, prejudice, and harm. We call on the 44th session of the Canadian Parliament to take immediate action to prohibit all forms of conversion “therapy” practices and sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression change efforts (collectively “conversion practices”).

No Conversion Canada Call to Action

As many as one in five sexual minority men (gay, bisexual, trans, Two-Spirit and queer or “GBT2Q”) report having ever experienced sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression change efforts (SOGIECE) – and of them, nearly 40 percent (or as many as 47,000 GBT2Q men in Canada) have experienced conversion therapy according to a 2020 report by Vancouver’s Community Based Research Centre.

The previous parliament passed Bill C-6: An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (conversion therapy), however, it died in the Senate due to the 2021 federal election being called. 62 members of the Conservative Party of Canada, plus one independent voted against the bill, including Kelowna-Lake Country MP Tracy Gray. Five of those who voted against the bill did not get re-elected.

The Call to Action specifies actions to be taken that expand on Bill C-6 including deregistering charities or organizations that carry out conversion practices. It also calls on the federal government to empower all levels of government, including municipalities to enact complimenting legislation.

The federal government should continue to consult with all provinces, territories, and municipalities to ensure optimal protection from conversion practices is achieved in Canada so that each government enacts complimenting legislation at their respective levels. Every level of government has different powers and a responsibility to protect Canadians by prohibiting all forms of conversion practices.

No Conversion Canada

Advocacy Canada has called on the City of Kelowna to enact a bylaw prohibiting conversion efforts, however, the city has opted not to take action, citing the British Columbia Community Charter. “We fully support the Call to Action, particularly with respect to enacting legislation at the municipal level,” says Wilbur Turner, founder of Advocacy Canada. “It is incredibly important to have mechanisms to prevent these harmful actions at every level of government.”

Advocacy Canada is currently seeking a legal opinion on the powers of municipalities in British Columbia relative to conversion efforts. The City of Nanaimo is currently considering enacting a ban. “The decision by the City of Kelowna may have far reaching consequences and we want to ensure every avenue for legislative action at the local level is explored,” says Turner.

About Advocacy Canada is a Kelowna based non-profit organization with a mission to unite and amplify queer voices in support of creating positive change on important issues. The organization was founded by Wilbur Turner, inspired by his social and political awareness of issues that impact the 2S-LGBTQIA+ (queer) community. Wilbur previously led the Kelowna Pride, Fierté Canada Pride, and Living Positive Resource Centre boards.

Media Contact

For media inquiries please contact Wilbur Turner:

Tel: 587-432-4100