Vancouver city council unanimously moves to ban conversion therapy

The motion passed unanimously on Wednesday. Chester Ptasinski/Global News

Vancouver city council has voted unanimously to ban businesses from offering so-called conversion therapy services to change a person’s sexual orientation.

The motion, introduced by councillor Tim Stevenson, was approved Wednesday afternoon.

“The practice of ‘conversion therapy’ or ‘reparative therapy,’ pseudo-scientific techniques that attempt to persuade persons to change their sexual orientation or gender identity, is seriously harmful to persons and is opposed by the Canadian Psychological Association, the World Health Organization, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association and others,” read part of the motion.

WATCH: Global News coverage of conversion therapy

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The original document suggested to ban conversion therapy to minors, but councillor George Affleck amended the motion to include all conversion services, not just those provided to minors.

“The Council of the City of Vancouver is strongly committed to supporting the equality and human rights of the LGBTQ2+ community and all city residents,” read the motion.

The city is not the first to take steps towards putting a stop to the practice. In 2015, Ontario passed a bill that banned conversion therapy for LGBTQ children and prohibited practitioners from billing the practice through public health insurance.

Manitoba also took steps in 2015 to ensure conversion therapy wasn’t being practised through the province’s health care system.

Qmunity — a non-profit organization for LGBTQ2S people based in Vancouver — is celebrating the news.

“Just to know that slowly and surely that what we need to get to is happening in this community and knowing that we are being accepted, and people are able to live like their true selves, that’s just like ‘Ah,’ it gave me goosebumps,” said Executive Director Osmel Guerra Maynes. “I’m ecstatic about it.”

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He hopes other cities will follow suit.

“Take a page from what we are doing in Vancouver,” Maynes said. “It’s time that we stopped trying to erase voices, erase identities.”

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