STEVEN LEE/THE VARSITY

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) has settled with U of T professor Kenneth Zucker over a 2015 report that erroneously described Zucker’s work at the centre. CAMH has also agreed to pay Zucker $586,000 in damages, legal fees, and interest.

The report in question detailed Zucker’s work as the former leader of the functional clinical and research team at the now-closed Child, Youth, and Family Gender Identity Clinic. The report falsely stated that he insulted a patient and practised conversion therapy on people who identified as transgender.

The external review, which included complaints against Zucker, was removed from the CAMH website in early 2016. Zucker was fired from CAMH after the review was published.

CAMH apologized “without reservation to Zucker for the flaws in the process that led to errors in the report not being discovered,” stating that the “the report contained some errors about Dr. Zucker’s clinical practice and interactions with patients.”

CAMH spokesperson Sean O’Malley offered the following statement via email to The Varsity:

“CAMH has reached a settlement with Dr. Ken Zucker following his departure from CAMH in 2015. CAMH stands by its decision to close the child and youth gender identity clinic following an external review which concluded the clinic was not meeting the needs of gender expansive and trans children and their families. We believe our modernized approach to delivering services to youth better supports diverse patients through best practice and timely care.”

In an interview with The Varsity, Zucker said that he “wasn’t able to speak publicly for three years” since the release of the report. He takes solace in the non-financial aspects of the settlement, particularly the public apology, which he claims has allowed him to be “vindicated and liberated” of false allegations.

The aim of Zucker’s work was to “reduce gender dysphoria” in children and youth, and he used one of three predominant approaches, which he refers to as “developmentally informed therapy,” to do so. Gender dysphoria and identifying as transgender are not the same thing — there is a misunderstanding of terminology that feeds the contentious debate in the field of gender dysphoria, according to Zucker.

Zucker expressed his concern with the relationship between his case and what he said is the broader political phenomenon in which academics cannot openly discuss their thoughts due to fear of retribution.

To Zucker, his case is an example of the “authoritarian scene we are creating.”

Disclosure: The Varsity’s reporting on the CAMH report was the subject of a legal complaint from Zucker in 2016, settled in 2017.

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