REGINA — Regina city council passed a local ban on conversion therapy this week, after weeks of hearing from the public on the issue.
The bylaw amendment, which falls under the Prohibited Businesses Bylaw, was read for a third and final time during the public council meeting on Wednesday afternoon.
No delegations spoke on the matter, after council heard their voices during the first and second reading at the previous July meeting.
Councillors voted almost unanimously to pass the amendment, with a final count of 10-1. Coun. Landon Mohl was opposed, as he was during the previous vote.
Mohl wanted to see an amendment to the bylaw that allowed for some therapies to continue, namely those that repress or reduce sexual attraction for reasons unrelated to a desire to be heterosexual. Examples given included treatment for sexual addictions or celibacy therapies.
Advocates for the ban opposed the idea, saying that changing the language of the bylaw could create loopholes that allow harmful practices to continue.
The bylaw, which came into immediate effect after the vote, makes it illegal for any individual or business in the city to provide counselling services that intend to change sexual orientation or gender identity.
Individuals found in violation of the new bylaw could face a fine of up to $10,000, plus an additional $10,000 every day if the offence continues. For corporations, the fine jumps to $25,000, both initial and daily.
The final passing vote concludes months of discussion, which began after Saskatoon city council passed a similar ban earlier this year.
Provincial response from NDP
Following the passing vote on the municipal ban, the Saskatchewan NDP called for work to begin on a provincial ban of the same nature.
Deputy leader Nicole Sarauer and Opposition Critic for Human Rights Meara Conway made an appearance in front of the Legislative Assembly on Thursday.
“We’re very proud of the fact that both Saskatoon and now Regina city councils have shown clear leadership on this issue to ban this practice within their city limits,” said Conway.
The NDP are looking to the Sask Party to institute provincial legislation condemning the practice of conversion therapy, to help protect members of the LGTBQ+ communities in Saskatchewan constituencies.
The opposition noted that 13 out of 14 Saskatchewan MP’s recently voted against Bill C-6, the federal motion to ban the practice that came before Parliament in June.