The College affirms that there are a range of sexual orientations and gender identities.
Affirming Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Act
In June 2015, the Ontario legislature passed Bill 77, the Affirming Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Act. The Act applies to anyone who provides health care services in Ontario, and relates to efforts to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity (sometimes referred to as “conversion therapy” or “reparative therapy”). The Act amends the Health Insurance Act and the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991.
It is now an offence in Ontario, and therefore professional misconduct, to provide any treatment that seeks to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of a person under 18 years of age who lacks the capacity to consent to the treatment. While the Act does not apply to adults or to minors who have the capacity to consent to treatment, the College strongly advises members to refrain from providing any such services. Seeking to change or
direct a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity are not ‘therapy’, are not supported by the profession and do not respect the diversity and dignity of all persons.
Valid services not affected
The prohibition is not intended to prevent services that provide acceptance, support or understanding of a person or the facilitation of a person’s coping, social support or identity exploration or development, nor to any services related to gender affirming activities (e.g. living as one’s gender identity, hormone treatment, surgery). Members providing services that focus on sexual orientation or gender identity issues ensure they have the competence (knowledge, skill and judgment) to do so. See for example, The World Professional Association for Transgender Health, Standards of Care for the Health of Transsexual, Transgender, and Gender Nonconforming People, 7th ed. (WPATH, 2013), page 13 (Competency of Mental Health Professionals Working with Children or Adolescents with Gender Dysphoria), pages 22-3 (Competency of Mental Health Professionals Working with Adults Who Present with Gender Dysphoria).
The Standard: Affirming Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
Members refrain from providing services such as conversion or reparative therapy, which seek to change or direct a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
Demonstrating the Standard
A member demonstrates compliance with the standard by, for example:
- obtaining informed consent to work with a client on issues relating to sexual orientation or gender identity;
- documenting discussions with clients about sexual orientation or gender identity, including client goals and progress;ensuring they have adequate training, experience and supervision to provide services relating to an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
Note: College publications containing practice standards, guidelines or directives should be considered by all members in the care of their clients and in the practice of the profession. College publications are developed in consultation with the profession and describe current professional expectations. It is important to note that these College publications may be used by the College or other bodies in determining whether appropriate standards of practice and professional responsibilities have been maintained.