Brief to Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights regarding Bill C-6

Bill C-6 creates five Criminal Code offences related to “conversion therapy” but fails to prohibit or even define abusive and coercive practices that Canadians would associate with the term “conversion therapy.” Instead, Bill C-6 will criminalize legitimate medical, psychological and spiritual supports for people concerning their sexuality, their gender identity, or both.

While the Criminal Code should prohibit force, coercion, or abuse which attempts to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity, the Justice Centre is concerned that Bill C-6 is overbroad and dangerous, and will actually cause harm to adults, adolescents and children, including LGBTQ Canadians.

The Justice Centre’s Brief explains that the Bill violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in four significant ways:

  1. The Bill imposes one narrow, ideological view of sexuality and gender, which violates the fundamental Charter freedom of Canadians to have their own thoughts, beliefs and opinions concerning sexuality and gender.
  2. Bill C-6 discriminates against LGBTQ persons by denying their equal right to receive the support or therapy of their own choosing concerning their sexuality, gender identity, sexual addictions and sexual behaviour.
  3. Bill C-6 removes the ability of health professionals and parents to determine treatments in the best interests of children who are experiencing gender distress, and instead imposes a one-size-fits-all treatment of psychological, hormonal and potentially surgical gender transition.
  4. Bill C-6 interferes severely with the teaching and practice of religious beliefs regarding sexuality and gender identity, and prevents religious LGBTQ persons from receiving support in accordance with their own religious faith. This violates the Charter freedom of religion and conscience, especially for LGBTQ Canadians, as well as LGBTQ equality rights.

The amendments to the Criminal Code contained in Bill C-6 propose prison terms of up to two or five years to enforce these unconscionable—and unconstitutional—restrictions on Canadians.

The Justice Centre has submitted a Brief outlining its concerns with Bill C-6 to the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, entitled “Unconscionable and Unconstitutional – Bill C-6’s Attempt to Dictate Choices Concerning Sexuality and Gender