Calgary city council to debate bylaw banning conversion therapy

The community services committee unanimously approved a bylaw banning conversion therapy. Carolyn Kury de Castillo/Global News

Calgary’s community services committee voted unanimously Thursday night to approve the conversion therapy ban bylaw, meaning the final decision will now be put to city council.

Conversion therapy aims to change a person’s sexual orientation through counselling, behaviour modification or religious teachings.

Over 1,000 presentations were submitted to the city online and 121 people spoke during the committee meeting, which started Wednesday and didn’t end until Thursday evening.

In February, council voted unanimously to have administration draft a bylaw to prohibit the practice of conversion therapy.

READ MORE: Calgary moves to ban conversion therapy

The definition of conversion therapy used in the proposed bylaw has been reviewed and used in other jurisdictions such as Edmonton.

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Six municipalities in Alberta have developed bylaws or amended existing bylaws to include prohibiting conversion therapy.

READ MORE: Edmonton city council moves to ban conversion therapy

The penalty for violating the proposed bylaw would be a fine of $10,000.

Many members of faith-based groups told the community services committee that the bylaw will infringe on their religious freedom.

On the opposing side, *other members of the public told the committee that conversion therapy is a barbaric practice and akin to torture.

READ MORE: Canada is exploring Criminal Code reforms to halt conversion therapy

As part of the part of the preparation of the bylaw, the city is also urging the province and federal government to take steps to ban conversion therapy.

The issue goes to the city council on May 25.

Watch below: Some Global News videos about conversion therapy.


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