Bill C6

Bill C6 imposes criminal penalties on therapists and parents who don’t “affirm” a child’s gender identity. What this means is conversion therapy is being redefined to remove barriers to transition-related healthcare. This is very clear in CPATH’s briefing to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health, in which they called on the Canadian government to criminalize conversion therapy. The wording of Bill C6 is a very close match to the wording proposed in the CPATH document.

The ban on conversion therapy has nothing to do with sexual orientation, and everything to do with easier, no-questions-asked access to medical gender transition services.

The goal of Bill C6 is to make access to medical gender transition services in Canada as easy as possible, without question and without assessment. CPATH, the Canadian Professional Association of Transgender Health (and our government has confirmed that they are listening to the “professional associations” on this) considers any barriers to medical transition-related care to be stigmatizing.

CPATH does not distinguish between a child or an adult in terms of their right to “personal autonomy” when it comes to making their own gender healthcare decisions. CPATH is a major proponent of the informed consent model – for children as well as adults. They state: “The informed consent model offers less dependence on health professionals in a “gate-keeping” role that has been perceived as unnecessarily pathologizing and may limit access to care.”

Parents, on the other hand, want to make sure that medical gender transition is in the best interests of their children. Bill C6 strips them of this right. Objective and neutral counseling services are being legislated out of existence. The doctrine of “affirmation” has taken over, without evidence that this will yield better long-term health outcomes than the previous “watchful waiting” approach, which was much more cautious.

Mandating “affirmation” is mandating transition.

Parents and therapists will face imprisonment in Canada under Bill C6 for cautious and ethical therapeutic approaches to care, yet educators, therapists and physicians seem to be able to influence children and young people to adopt a transgender identity and make changes to their bodies with impunity. Please see these examples for evidence of this type of influence:

“We did what the experts told us” – surgeon proceeds with double mastectomy based on one sentence letter

Text messages reveal therapist blames “genitalia” for 12 year old girl’s sudden distress

We never returned to Sick Kids Hospital – Sick Kids Toronto Gender Clinic Review

Family told “educators know best” – while 6 year old’s taught that “girls are not real”

Gender dysphoria and autism – a close call

There is too much activism around “transgenderism” in Canada, and not enough sober and objective assessment of the risk of harm to children and young people. The situation in Canada has become one in which adolescents and young people are able to access medical gender transition based on their self-determined goals under the auspices of “informed consent” and “affirmation” when there is no evidence to support this approach. We believe this situation warrants an independent review and investigation, such as the UK and Sweden are currently undertaking.

For more information, see our blog articles:

Liberal MP confirms Bill C6 will impose one way path to medical transition

Bill C6 will severely limit healthcare options for trans identified youth – in light of landmark ruling in UK

What parents of gender questioning kids have to say about Bill C6

The Swedish U-turn on Medical Gender Transitioning

Our Briefing to the Justice Committee studying Bill C6 – we don’t think anyone read it, or many of the other 300+ briefings submitted

Canadian Gender Report is a non-partisan, non-sectarian group concerned about the medical transition of youth, the lack of evidence-based practice in our healthcare system with respect to these invasive medical interventions, the promotion of gender identity teaching in our education system and the lack of parental rights to act in the best interests of our children.

The inclusion of gender identity in Bill C-6 will have the effect of using criminal law to interfere with decision making by mental health professionals in an area which is complex and poorly understood. Countries throughout the world are reviewing the treatment of gender identity issues and questioning many practices that are currently applied in Canada. Bill C-6, in its present form, risks locking in a medicalized approach to gender identity which is not supported by evidence.

Proposed Amendment

We believe that the majority of concerns about the Bill could be addressed by adding the following exemption to the overall definition of conversion therapy:

This definition does not apply to any advice or therapy provided by a social worker, psychologist, psychiatrist, therapist, medical practitioner, nurse practitioner or other health care professional as to the timing or appropriateness of social or medical transition to another gender, including discussion of the risks and benefits and offering alternative or additional diagnoses or courses of treatment.

The purpose of this amendment is to allow professional therapists to do their job and treat mental health issues in accordance with the best evidence based practice without risking criminal charges imposed by an arbitrary and uncertain line. The list of professions is taken from paragraph 241(5.1) of the Criminal Code.

Further, we call on the Canadian government to call a formal inquiry to ensure Canadian families can have confidence in our healthcare system.

Call a Formal Government Inquiry with 3 Distinct Objectives:

  1. An independent review of the evidence and clinical guidelines used for assessing youth with gender dysphoria, and what is known about the long-term effects on physical and mental health, including for the new cohort of adolescents and for detransitioners.  
  2. Restrict our education system from teaching a new form of personal identity with respect to gender that erases the distinction between male and female.
  3. Review and update informed consent legislation including a determination of whether young people have the capacity to consent to irreversible medical interventions of this nature. 

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