Canada’s unions are marking November 20 – the Transgender Day of Remembrance – by renewing their call for a national ban on conversion therapy. Legislation seeking to prohibit conversion practices, Bill C-6, was halted in the Canadian Senate in June 2021, and died when the 2021 election was called.
The Transgender Day of Remembrance celebrates and honours trans, non-binary and two-spirit people whose lives have been lost due to transphobic violence.
“When Parliament resumes on November 22, the federal government must take immediate action to reintroduce this important and human rights-affirming legislation,” said Canadian Labour Congress Executive Vice-President, Larry Rousseau. “Conversion practices are abhorrent and unacceptable and we must do everything in our power to end them and support survivors.”
Conversion therapy aims to change an individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. This coercive and harmful practice negatively impacts 2SLGBTQI+ people and has been denounced by medical, health, and human rights organizations.
Earlier this month, the CLC joined over 100 2SLGBTQI+, health care, human rights, academic, faith, labour and civil society organizations from across Canada in supporting a “Community Call to Action.” The memorandum, which has 106 signatories from across 10 provinces and territories, urges Parliament to prohibit all forms of conversion practices, develop accompanying policies to support survivor healing, and create public education and awareness programs.
A 2018 Statistics Canada study found that transgender Canadians were more likely to have experienced violence and inappropriate behaviours in public, online and at work than cisgender Canadians. The COVID-19 pandemic, as well as growing anti-rights movements, have further impacted the health and rights of transgender people, both globally and domestically.
“At home, at work, and in our unions, we must do more to combat and end transphobic violence, harassment, and discrimination. Passing legislation to ban conversion therapy is just the start and Canada’s unions will continue to support and promote the rights of all trans, non-binary and 2SLGBTQI+ people,” said Rousseau.
Learn more about trans rights in the workplace in the Canadian Labour Congress’ Workers In Transition Guide handbook.
Learn about events taking place to honour the Transgender Day of Remembrance here.