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Three questions on the status of Bill C-6, a bill to ban conversion therapy

30 March 2021
Theme:
Q1. What’s happening with Bill C-6?
 
Bill C-6 passed its second vote in the House of Commons on October 28, 2020, with a vote of 305 to 7. This vote was for MPs to indicate whether they agreed with the idea of the bill in principle.
 
The bill was then studied by a parliamentary committee. The Justice Committee was flooded with 290 written briefs from individuals and groups on Bill C-6 and heard from 32 witnesses.
 
The EFC’s brief stated that coercive, involuntary or abusive practices have no place in our communities, but that we were concerned that the bill would limit freedom of religion and expression unless the definition of conversion therapy were clarified and more precise. The committee did not adopt the EFC’s recommendations and instead recommended changes to expand the reach of the bill further.
 
The committee has sent Bill C-6 and its recommendations back to the House of Commons. The bill will undergo more debate and then have a final “third reading” vote. If the bill passes, it will go to the Senate and have the same process of debates, votes and study by a committee.
 
Q2. Has the definition of conversion therapy been changed to make it more precise and clear?
 
No. The committee added ‘gender expression’ to the definition, which would expand what the bill covers. It also changed the exception to what is considered conversion therapy.  The EFC’s Dec. 2020 blog post on the committee report describes the changes in more detail.
 
Q3. What can we do about it?
 
The House of Commons is currently on a two-week break. MPs will have more time to spend meeting with constituents and addressing concerns in their ridings. This is a good time to contact your MP to ask for changes to Bill C-6.
 
EFC’s website has sample wording you can use to contact your MP, express your concerns and ask for changes at TheEFC.ca/C-6.
 
If you email your MP, your contact is even more effective if you follow it up with a phone call to the MP’s office to say that you’ve sent a letter and would like them to respond.

Please be careful to speak respectfully and graciously about this bill. Remember that we are Christ’s witnesses and He calls us to love our neighbour.