EDMONTON -- Spruce Grove City Council is moving towards banning conversion therapy after a 6 - 1 vote.

On August 12 the council directed city administration to prepare a report on the potential of banning the use of conversion therapy.

The report outlined four possible actions for the city to take:

  • Motion 1: Do nothing
  • Motion 2: Send letters to the government in support of criminalizing conversion therapy
  • Motion 3: Create bylaws prohibiting conversion therapy
  • Motion 4: Create corporate policy opposing the practice of conversion therapy

Council voted to pass motions two, three and four, asking city administration to draft a bylaw.

“The decision has been made by this city council but they’ll have some time to work on that and bring back a ban on conversion therapy that’s a ‘made in Spruce Grove’ policy that’s going to reflect our need to be an inclusive community,” said Mayor Stuart Houston.

“I think we want to make sure the city council is looking at the rights of all of our citizens, we’re looking to be an inclusive community.”

One city councilor said she was relieved to reach this stage in the process of banning conversion therapy.

“The vast majority of people are against conversion therapy and I think you heard tonight even from the councilor that voted against the bylaw but voted for the other options. It wasn’t that he was in favour of conversion therapy, he was against conversion therapy, it was just his belief that another level of government should be taking the reins on that,” said Councillor Erin Stevenson

Conversion therapy attempts to change an individual’s sexual orientation. It is opposed by the Canadian Psychological Association, World Health Organization and Amnesty International.

“I’m glad that Spruce Grove sent the right message to people tonight… We just want them to be themselves and not worry about someone changing them for all the wrong reasons.

Spruce Grove follows a growing number of cities like St. Albert and Edmonton which voted to ban the practice earlier this year.