Majority of Canadians Say Adults Should Have Right to Seek Sexual Counselling of Their Choice: Poll

March 18, 2021 Updated: March 20, 2021

A vast majority of Canadians agree that adults should have the right to seek the sexual counselling of their choice, according to a new poll.

Conducted by Nanos for the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF), the poll found that 78 percent of Canadians agree that consenting adults should be free to seek the sexual counselling of their choice, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation.

The JCCF said this finding stands in stark contrast to Bill C-6, which seeks to ban “conversion therapy” by making it a criminal offence to offer “treatment or services designed to change an individual’s sexual orientation to heterosexual or gender identity to cisgender, or to reduce non-heterosexual sexual attraction or sexual behaviour.”

The poll also found that 33 percent of Canadians feel “uncomfortable” with the government making it illegal to provide counselling to gay individuals to reduce unwanted sexual behaviour while allowing straight people to continue accessing the same services.

“Banning coercive and abusive practices commonly associated with the term ‘conversion therapy’ would not be controversial,” said JCCF staff lawyer Marty Moore in a statement on March 16, the day the survey was released.

“Deceptively labelled ‘conversion therapy’ bans, including municipal bylaws and the federal Bill C-6, will violate the constitutional rights of LGBTQ persons by restricting them accessing the same kind of counselling heterosexual and non-transgender Canadians access.

“These poll numbers show Canadians do not support those restrictions.”

Bill C-6 would ban “causing an individual to undergo conversion therapy against their will; causing a child to undergo conversion therapy; removing a child from Canada to undergo conversion therapy abroad; receiving a financial or other material benefit from the provision of conversion therapy; and advertising an offer to provide conversion therapy.”

Critics say the legislation could go beyond efforts to change a person’s sexual orientation and apply to private conversations, banning advice from parents, teachers, or counsellors related to the subject of sexuality and sexual behaviour.

David Cooke, the national campaign manager for Toronto-based Campaign Life Coalition, a pro-life and pro-family organization, says that if passed, Bill C-6 will put parents, faith leaders, and clinicians at risk of being jailed.

“Counsellors, psychotherapist, doctors will be jailed for two years—two years for offering to help those with unwanted same sex attractions or gender dysphoria,” he told The Epoch Times in a previous interview.

“It’s going to criminalize parents who want to help their kids just simply accept their own biology.”

The poll showed that for minors who may be thinking about changing their bodies through the use of drug treatments such as puberty blockers or opposite-sex hormones, 48 percent of Canadians agree that counselling services with a “wait and see” approach should be available to them.

A full 50 percent of respondents agree that there should be “strict requirements” for health-care professionals to evaluate whether it’s in the best interest for a young person to irreversibly change their body if it doesn’t match their gender identity.

On the question of legality of counselling for minors concerning gender and sexual behaviours, the poll showed that 41 percent say it should be legal for a parent to discourage a child from exploring gender possibilities and be comfortable with his or her birth gender.

“Many Canadians have found benefit from support and counselling which politicians are seeking to ban and even criminalize,” Moore said. “Politicians should listen to the will of Canadians and respect the Charter rights of Canadians to freely choose support they want.”

Nanos conducted the hybrid telephone and online random survey with 1,016 Canadians aged 18 and above between Feb. 28, 2021, and March 4, 2021, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.