Therapy that tries to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of Ontario kids and youth is now illegal.
Bill 77, the "Affirming Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Act," was made law Thursday. In addition to banning "conversion therapy" for anyone under 18, it also makes sure that public health insurance won't cover it for anyone, of any age.
The bill was introduced by Cheri DiNovo, the New Democrat Party (NDP) MPP for Parkdale - High Park, in April. In a rather rare example of solidarity, the bill passed through its three readings without anyone speaking out in opposition. Many, in fact, spoke out in support of the bill.
Kathleen Wynne, Ontario's first out gay premier, said conversion therapy has no place in Ontario.
"It's so important that we make it clear that people have the right to be who they are in Ontario," Wynne said, according to the Toronto Sun.
The bill's Justice Committee hearing also brought out emotional testimony from Ontarians who've undergone various forms of conversion therapy. Mike Smith, now an LGBTQ support worker, said he was told he needed to be "fixed" in order to be happy, and that this message left him contemplating suicide."
"The messages they were sending to me is you can only be happy as a straight man," he told the committee.
Supporters of the bill say it could very well save lives. A 2010 study from Trans PULSE found 47% of trans people in Ontario age 16-24 had considered suicide and 19% had attempted to take their own lives in the previous year.