Conversion Therapy Working Group

Bringing together survivors, LGBTQ+ advocates and professionals to find a way to ban conversion therapy in Alberta.

This engagement has been archived
Status: Completed
Ministry responsible: Health
Completed: 2019


A Conversion Therapy Working Group has been established to provide recommendations on ways to ban the practice in Alberta.

Conversion therapy can include any treatment, counselling, or behaviour modification that aims to change someone’s sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.

This is a complex issue and we are working to ensure any measures brought forward are as strong as possible and can offer protection to those who need it most.

We are committed to ending conversion therapy in our province.

Roles and responsibilities

The working group will provide recommendations on legislation and policy options to ban conversion therapy.

The group will meet regularly for 5 months, beginning in February 2019, and then provide a written summary with recommendations to the Minister of Health.


Membership in the working group is intended to reflect the diversity of individuals with a variety of experiences and expertise, including:

  • MLAs
  • academics
  • community advocates
  • faith leaders
  • LGBTQ+ community members
  • people with lived experience
  • professional representatives
  • subject matter experts

Academic members

Dr. Kevin Alderson (he/him/his)

President of the College of Alberta Psychologists, retired professor and author, Dr. Alderson has counselled hundreds of clients with LGBTQ+ identities.

He is a member of several psychological organizations including CPA, APA, Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association, CCA, and the World Professional Association for Transgender Health.

Advocate members

Glynnis Lieb (she/her/hers), co-chair

Glynnis is the executive director of the Institute of Sexual Minority Studies & Services at the University of Alberta.

She has extensive volunteer experience advocating for mental health and addiction support, anti-discrimination initiatives, among other community-focused organizations.

Quinn Posch (he/him/his)

Executive director of the Pride Centre in Edmonton, Quinn has 13 years of program development experience in non-profit, educational and non-educational organizations.

He has extensive experience working with marginalized individuals and believes in a life of compassion, integrity and service.

Elected official members

Nicole Goehring (she/her/hers), co-chair

MLA for Edmonton-Castle Downs, Nicole also serves as chair of the Standing Committee on Families and Communities and the Government of Alberta’s Liaison to the Canadian Armed Forces.

Ms. Goehring’s background includes close to a decade of work with Child and Family Services in various capacities and other community-focused organizations.

Michael Connolly (he/him/his)

Michael is MLA for Calgary-Hawkwood and both the youngest elected and one of the first openly LGBTQ+ members of the Legislative Assembly. He will also serve as alternate co-chair when necessary.

He has served as a member of the Select Special Ethics and Accountability Committee and has won the Prix Georges A. Arès en leadeurship politique and Harvey Milk Diversity Award for his work for the LGBTQ+ community.

Lived experience members

Jennifer Smith (she/her/hers)

Jennifer is a survivor of conversion therapy, having experienced it in religious and clinical settings for 20 years.

She continues to work to educate others about the harms of this practice.

Gary Simpson (he/him/his)

An Affirm! United missioner for the United Church of Canada, Gary is an advocate to assist gender and sexual minority people in reconciling their faith.

He is a Canadian Certified Counsellor with 24 years of experience as a guidance counsellor and 10 years as a teacher, presenting on the intersection of religion and sexuality to help reduce sources of oppression for members.

Professional members

Doug Stollery (he/him/his)

Counsel to Edmonton law firm Reynolds Mirth Richards & Farmer, Doug currently serves as chancellor of the University of Alberta, president of the Stollery Charitable Foundation, a director of the Stephen Lewis Foundation and CARE Canada.

He has previously served as director for non-profit, professional and educational associations.

Brendan MacArthur-Stevens (he/him/his)

Litigation lawyer at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP in Calgary, Brendan is the Alberta chair of the Canadian Bar Association’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Community Forum (SOGIC).

He sits on the Young Advocates Standing Committee of the Advocates’ Society and provides extensive pro bono legal services to not-for-profits, including the Calgary Sexual Health Centre.

Religious members

Christopher A. Pappas (he/him/his)

Rector of Holy Trinity Anglican Church since 2010, Chris is the Archdeacon for Congregational Development in the Anglican Diocese of Edmonton.

Previously, he has served parishes in Rhode Island, Connecticut and rural Alberta. Chris is a strong proponent of ecumenism and interfaith activities, and serves as the regimental church padre for the soldiers of the South Albert Light Horse.

Junaid bin Jahangir (he/him/his)

Dr. Junaid bin Jahangir is an assistant professor of economics at MacEwan University. He has co-authored the book "Islamic law and Muslim same-sex unions" with Dr. Hussein Abdul Latif, a pediatric endocrinologist in Alabama.

Doris Kieser (she/her/hers)

Doris Kieser is associate professor of theology and ethics at St. Joseph’s College and associate adjunct professor at John Dossetor Health Ethics Centre, both at the University of Alberta.

She has written the book “Catholic Sexual Theology and Adolescent Girls: Embodied Flourishing” and focuses her work on the notions of purity throughout the Jewish and Christian traditions and histories, particularly as they relate to female bodies and sexuality.