Bill to ban conversion therapy on P.E.I. passes second reading

P.E.I. is one step closer to banning conversion therapy, a term which refers to any practice intended to change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity.

A bill that would ban conversion therapy for minors, and prohibit the use of public funds to provide the practice, passed second reading in the provincial legislature Wednesday. 

Discussion around banning conversion therapy began in 2018, when Opposition leader Peter Bevan-Baker — then the leader of the third party — introduced a motion to ban the practice. That motion passed unanimously, but had no legal bearing. 

The current bill, which would amend several health-care related acts, was introduced by Health Minister James Aylward. Bevan-Baker said it was similar to one drafted by the Green Party.

"Rather than have competing bills, we worked collaboratively," he said.

Bevan-Baker thanked Aylward for moving quickly to bring the bill forward.

"And to go from the motion that we passed [last year] … to having legislation to back that up here," said Bevan-Baker. 

There is no evidence of conversion therapy currently taking place on P.E.I. Several other jurisdictions in Canada prohibit the practice, and Island groups including Pflag and Pride P.E.I. have called for a provincial ban.

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