CAMH reaches settlement with former head of gender identity clinic

TORONTO - Canada's largest mental health centre has apologized to its former psychologist and is paying him more than half a million dollars after publishing a report that erroneously described his interactions with patients.

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto released a statement saying errors were reported in an external review of its gender identity clinic in 2015, which also detailed the practices of the head of the clinic at the time.

CAMH says the review was not intended to examine the behaviour and practices of Dr. Kenneth Zucker and that the report wrongly stated that he referred to a patient as ``hairy little vermin'' among other errors.

CAMH says the report was made public without Zucker's review or comment.

The centre will pay him $586,000 in damages, legal fees and interest.

The review was sparked by criticisms that the clinic was practising conversion therapy on young people who identify as transgender.

CAMH announced it was ``winding down'' the clinic's services in late 2015 after reviewers found the clinic focused on intensive assessment and treatment, while current practice favours watchful waiting, and educating and supporting parents to accept a child's gender expression.

The centre says it stands by its decision to close the clinic.