Feds should make coerced sterilization a criminal offence: Senate report

OTTAWA – A Senate committee says forced and coerced sterilization should be a criminal offence and those subjected to it need an apology and compensation.

The human rights committee says in a report today that forced and coerced sterilizations persist in Canada today and both legal and policy responses are needed.

The senators say the “horrific practice” disproportionately affects vulnerable and marginalized groups including Indigenous women, Black and racialized women and people with disabilities.

The report follows a committee study on forced and coerced sterilization in Canada that began in 2019.

It says forced or coerced sterilization refers to a surgical procedure to prevent conception that is performed without a patient’s free, prior and informed consent.

The report notes that Canada has a long history of forced and coerced sterilization through laws and government policies that sought to reduce births in Indigenous and Black communities, as well as people living in poverty or with disabilities.