LETHBRIDGE -- One year after a petition was created in Lethbridge, the federal government has introduced a bill to ban conversion therapy.

E-Petition 1833 was initiated by Devon Hargreaves in 2019 and received more than 18,200 signatures.

“It is a historical day for Canada,” he said. “It is a day of celebration.”

Conversion therapy aims to change the sexual or gender identity of those who do not identify as heterosexual. The methods vary from talk therapy, electroshocks and even chemical castration.

Medical, scientific, and government organizations across North America have condemned the practise, saying conversion therapy is ineffective and potentially harmful.

“It is extremely dangerous," said Jennifer Takahashi, co-sponsor of the petition. “When we start looking at the emotional, psychological and physical harm that can come from these practices, it's absolutely overwhelming."

A 2019 study from the University of British Columbia estimates more than 20,000 Canadians have been subjected to conversion therapy.

Canada is joining eighth other centres in banning conversion therapy, including Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Germany, Fiji, Samoa and Taiwan.

Here in Canada, Nova Scotia banned the practise in 2018 and Calgary passed a motion banning it last month.

"Conversion therapy has been discredited and denounced by professionals and health associations in Canada, the United States and around the world. It has no basis on science or facts,” said David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada.

The proposed Bill S-202 will have some limitations as health services fall under provincial jurisdiction. Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet has said he would vote for the bill, as long as it does not step on Quebec’s jurisdictions.

The NDP and Green Party have already said they are in favour of the bill as well.