Want to learn more? Explore connected resources related to conversion therapy* and the legislative ban.

*A note on language: Throughout this guide, we have chosen to place an asterisk next to the phrase “conversion therapy.” We have done so because the term conversion therapy* is misleading, in the sense that it is not actually a therapeutic practice in any traditional or reasonable understanding of what therapy involves and what its purpose is. 

Conversion therapy* is also not recognized as a credible practice by any reputable or accredited medical or therapeutic organization or governing body. 

Therapy or counseling are, in a general sense, practices focused on the healing and wellbeing of the individuals seeking out these services. In contrast, conversion therapy* is an inherently harmful practice that seeks to suppress or alter an essential aspect of an individual’s identity and sense of self. 

Some organizations, such as Canada’s Community-Based Research Centre (CBRC), prefer to use the phrase "conversion practices" to avoid using the term therapy. One of CBRC's core projects focuses on “sexual orientation and gender identity and expression change efforts” (abbreviated as “SOGIECE”), which include any practice or effort, explicit or implicit, that pressures a person to change their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression to heterosexual and/or cisgender. SOGIECE includes conversion practices but also encompasses other ways and situations in which 2SLGBTQIA+ people experience harmful pressure to suppress their authentic selves. 

We have chosen to retain the term conversion therapy* for the sake of clarity and simplicity, given that this is how the practice is most commonly known. We have also kept the term ‘conversion therapy’* because this is the term used in the Criminal Code itself. 

At the same time, however, we wanted to emphasize that conversion therapy* is far removed and fundamentally at odds with the ethical guidelines and client-centered, healing-focused practices of therapy or counseling.