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City Council votes to ban conversion therapy

In a show of support, City Council voted today to direct administration to draft a bylaw to ban the practice of conversion therapy in the city.

The motion, brought forward by Acting Mayor Jeff Carlson and Councillor Rob Miyashiro, spoke to the city being a welcoming and open community for all. During discussion of the official business resolution, a motion was approved in a 5-4 vote to split the resolution into two parts. This motion was proposed by Councillors Hyggen and Mauro. The split of the resolution resulted in two actions of the original resolution being voted on separately.

The first part of the resolution asked the Mayor to send a letter on behalf of City Council to advocate to the Provincial Government to ban the practice of conversion therapy within their jurisdiction. The second part directed administration to draft a bylaw which bans the practice within the city.

"Part of being a Councillor is ensuring the community's best interests are being served," says Acting Mayor Carlson. "We know thanks to organizations like the Canadian Psychological Association, conversion therapy leaves long-term and often debilitating issues for those who have endured the practice and that's not something we want to see our community members at risk of being exposed to."

In December of last year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a mandate to the Attorney General, David Lametti, to amend the criminal code to ban the practice. Further to that, the mandate also stated the Attorney General should also work with provinces and territories to take the steps required to end conversion therapy in Canada. Several Alberta municipalities have now banned the practice including Calgary, Edmonton, Strathcona County, and Spruce Grove.

 "This resolution is City Council's way of contributing to outlawing a practice that has been shown to cause significant mental, emotional, and physical harm to an often vulnerable population," says Councillor Miyashiro. "It's a step we can take as municipality, within our jurisdiction and affect change in our own community."

City Council unanimously supported advocating to the Provincial Government to ban the practice. The vote to direct administration to draft a bylaw resulted in a 7-2 vote.

Administration is to draft the proposed bylaw which is to come back to City Council for first reading no later than June 1.

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Media Contact:

Meagan Williams
Communications Consultant
City of Lethbridge