Fort Saskatchewan has taken a stand to support the LGBTQ2S+ community.
At their Mar.9 meeting, city council directed administration to develop a bylaw that would expressly prohibit the practise or promotion of conversion therapy in Fort Saskatchewan. The bylaw was brought forward a few months later and, after some revisions, was given three readings on Tuesday (July 6).
"This just provides a strong message to the community of Fort Saskatchewan that it acknowledges that diversity is a fact, it is welcomed and part of the strength of our community," said mayor Gale Katchur.
According to the city, conversion therapy is based on the understanding that identifying as a member of the LBGTQ2S+ community is less desirable than identifying as cisgender or heterosexual. This can result in incidents of anxiety, depression, self-harm, suicidal ideation and compromised mental health in those that identify as survivors of conversion therapy.
Violating the bylaw could result in a $10,000 fine.
While the city is not aware of conversion therapy being practised in Fort Saskatchewan, there is research that indicates conversion therapy continues to be practised in Canada.
Related: MP Garnett Genuis explains why he voted against bill outlawing conversion therapy