March 11, 2020
Statement on Bill C-8 - Conversion Therapy
The Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) enthusiastically applauds the Government of Canada for its introduction of Bill C-8, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (conversion therapy).
Further, CASW calls for Parliament and Senate of Canada to put the safety and security of children and youth first by unanimously supporting and expediting this legislation into law. Not one more child or youth in Canada should endure the harm of this damaging and discredited attack against their person.
CASW views this Bill as a step forward in the ongoing pursuit of justice, human rights, and respect for inherent dignity and worth of persons. CASW would like to thank both the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Youth for including the voice of the social work profession during the process of developing this Bill.
In 2018, CASW released a position statement strongly condemning all forms of conversion therapy, which can take many forms, but can be broadly defined as any therapy with the goal of changing or converting an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity, regardless of age. Conversion therapy is not evidence based, widely discredited and causes great harm – especially among children and youth.
CASW is thankful for the Government of Canada’s leadership in bringing this Bill forward as it is fundamental to upholding the rights of children as enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
CASW will continue to push towards a Canada free of conversion therapy and challenge Parliamentarians -- if amendments are to be proposed -- that the Bill be expanded to include all persons regardless of age or any other demographic factors.
With this Bill, Canada’s proposed legislation is among the strongest in the world. Conversion therapy has no place in Canada.