The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health is "winding down" its gender identity services for children and youth after an external review found its approach was out of step with accepted clinical practice.

The review by two independent clinicians was sparked by criticisms that the Toronto centre's Child Youth and Family Gender Identity Clinic was practising conversion therapy.

Conversion therapy discourages those who identify as transgender from embracing their non-biological sex.

The reviewers found the clinic focused on intensive assessment and treatment, while current practice favours watchful waiting, and educating and supporting parents to accept a child's gender expression.

Clinic medical director Dr. Kwame McKenzie says CAMH services should reflect the most current practices in the field and he apologized for the clinic's approach being out of step with the latest thinking.

McKenzie says CAMH will wind down the clinic and engage with community and academic organizations, clients and families to determine its future directions.