British Columbia

B.C. Green Party introduces legislation to ban conversion therapy

The B.C. Green Party has tabled legislation that would ban the practice of conversion therapy in British Columbia.

Party says legislation would ban conversion therapy on anyone under the age of 19

The rainbow flag was created by artist Gilbert Baker in 1978 to reflect the diversity of the LGBT community. (Nancy Russell/CBC)

The B.C. Green Party has tabled legislation that would ban the practice of conversion therapy in British Columbia.

It falls under a bill that was introduced Monday entitled the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Protection Act.

"I am honoured and humbled to be standing alongside LGBTQ2+ rights advocates, including survivors of conversion therapy, as we reaffirm the right of all British Columbians to be who they are and to live in safety," said Green Party Leader Dr. Andrew Weaver in a written statement.

The ban would prohibit the practice of conversion therapy on anyone under the age of 19 but wouldn't limit gender-confirming surgery or legitimate counselling and support services.

Weaver describes conversion therapy as a pseudo scientific practice that can cause harmful, long-lasting impacts by trying to change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity.

In March, the federal government rejected a nationwide conversion therapy ban, indicating conversion therapy was a provincial and territorial issue.

"It is particularly important and timely to be advancing this ban today, as we hear news that the United Conservative Party of Alberta is walking back the previous government's commitment to end the practice there, said Weaver."

Conversion therapy not covered, ministry says

The Ministry of Health says conversion therapy has never been covered under the province's medical services plan and labels it a "terrible, abusive practice."

It says attempts to change an individual's sexual identity is unethical and unsupported by science.

The ministry warns attempts to bill MSP for the procedure under a different billing code would be considered fraudulent and subject to discipline.

It says none of the professional regulatory colleges in B.C. recognize conversion therapy as an appropriate or ethical treatment.

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