2 Years After the Ban: Continuing the Work to End Conversion Practices in Canada

Two years ago, on January 7, 2022, conversion “therapy” and certain actions relating to it became criminalized across Canada, joining just a handful of countries around the world with a national law.

In Canada, this means that anyone providing a practice, treatment, or service designed to change, repress or reduce a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, is committing a crime. A defining feature of conversion therapy is the assumption that being heterosexual is the only normal way to express sexuality, and that a person’s gender identity matches their assigned sex at birth.

The specific conversion therapy offences include providing or causing someone to undergo conversion therapy, promoting, advertising, and benefiting from (financial or otherwise) conversion therapy, or removing a child from Canada to undergo conversion therapy abroad or taking action to do so. Anyone engaging in these prohibited actions can now be charged with a criminal offence. It also means that the federal government has recognized these actions are harmful and have no place in Canada.

But in spite of these new laws, we know that conversion “therapy” continues to impact queer, trans, and Two-Spirit people in both faith-based and healthcare-based settings, with pressures to engage in these practices coming from family members or other trusted authority figures.

While we may celebrate the fact that conversion “therapy” practices have been criminalized, we must also be aware of the limits of this strategy for prevention and eradication. Specifically, the criminal process requires the victim/survivor to engage with law enforcement and report a crime, placing a significant burden on the victim/survivor, especially those who are Indigenous, Black, racialized, immigrants, newcomers, refugees, trans and/or gender expansive. While the new laws target the most visible forms of conversion therapy, it’s also important to recognize that trans conversion practices in healthcare settings are not fully captured by the new laws.

As opposition to conversion practices grows, faith-based and healthcare-based practitioners may be rebranding themselves to avoid detection and may continue to find new ways of covertly describing what they do. They don’t overtly identify their services as conversion therapy or clearly state that their goal is to “fix or cure” a person by making them heterosexual and/or cisgender. They may use language such as God’s divine design for men and women, or focus on sexual purity, sexual healing, sexual addictions, or gender exploratory therapy.

The lack of understanding and awareness about what conversion practices are, what is covered by the federal laws, and what is required to report a crime related to conversion therapy remain fundamental challenges, both for identifying and reporting a crime related to conversion therapy, as well as for prevention efforts.

To help meet these educational challenges and policy gaps for preventing and ending conversion practices, I’m therefore thrilled to share the launch of StopConversionPractices.ca, created in partnership with No Conversion Canada. This new educational resource is for service providers, practitioners working with 2S/LGBTQIA+ people, and policymakers invested in strengthening efforts to prevent and end conversion practices. The website was created by and in support of survivors to raise community and public understanding of conversion practices and change efforts – and their impact on 2S/LGBTQIA+ people – as well as to share research and accessible information about the federal law, including how to report an offence.

Gratitude to the Stop Conversion Practices Partners and Team

I want to publicly acknowledge and offer my sincere thanks to the many individuals and organizations who contributed to the creation of this website. They include all survivors who participated in CBRC’s CP/SOGIECE research projects, as well as staff and volunteers from partner organizations like Nicholas Schiavo (No Conversion Canada), Travis Salway (Simon Fraser University/Centre for Gender and Sexual Health Equity), Mofi Badmos and Ahmed Abdallah (Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity), Fae Johnstone (Wisdom 2 Action), and Bennett Jensen (Egale).

We are grateful to the many others who came together to support this coalition building work, including survivors of conversion practices, mental health practitioners, 2S/LGBTQIA+ service providers, researchers, academics, legal experts, 2S/LGBTQQIA+ community organizations, affirming faith organizations, healthcare and social services providers, as well as newcomer, immigrant, refugee, and non-status service providers.

I wish to especially acknowledge the contributions of:

  • Dr. Travis Salway and Michael Kwag, who have worked tirelessly to empower the voices of survivors as they continue the work of ending conversion practices and change efforts in Canada. I am one of the many survivors who have benefited from their unfailing support, encouragement, and expertise.
  • Jules Sherred, Dustin Klaudt, and Bennett Jensen, who contributed so much of their time and expertise to the writing and editing of the site content.
  • All members of the CP/SOGIECE Advisory Committee who provided oversight and guidance to CBRC in our project activities related to CP and SOGIECE, which included the development of this website.

We recognize that this website just scratches the surface of what is needed. We plan to add more resources in the coming months including an Advocacy section and information about CP-related trauma. We also hope to add referral lists of affirming faith organizations and mental health practitioners experienced in working with survivors.

Collectively we have a lot of work ahead of us in ending conversion practices in Canada, but today I am so very proud of the collective work that has resulted in the creation of StopConversionPractices.ca.

By Jordan Sullivan, SOGIECE/CP Prevention and Survivor Support Coordinator

If you have any questions or know of a service, resource, or research the website should link to, you can submit your suggestions.

The development of the Stop Conversion Practices Knowledge Centre is made possible through financial support from the Department of Justice and the LGBTQ2 Community Capacity Building Fund through Women and Gender Equality Canada (WAGE).


Disponible en français.


About CBRC

Community-Based Research Centre (CBRC) promotes the health of people of diverse sexualities and genders through research and intervention development.
2 Years After the Ban: Continuing the Work to End Conversion Practices in Canada
2 Years After the Ban: Continuing the Work to End Conversion Practices in Canada
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