In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down three provisions in the criminal code related to prostitution. The Supreme Court found the old laws, under which prostitution was legal while related activities were not, violate the right to security of the person which is protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Parliament had one year to come up with changes.
The government recently tabled Bill C-36, the “Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act”, in response to the laws struck down in December. These proposed changes are aimed at buyers of sexual services and “pimps”, and defines sex work as inherently dangerous and exploitative. However, the sweeping changes do not protect sex workers.
Rather than criminalizing the purchasing of sexual services in a bill unlikely to survive a Supreme Court challenge, Canada could look to alternative models of legislation such as New Zealand which decriminalized sex work in 2003. The move saw little increase in the number of people entering the trade, but sex workers have reported improved health, safety, and human rights.
Sonya JF Barnett, co-founder of After Bedford, and Rachel, a board member from Maggie’s Toronto Sex Workers’ Action Project, will be joining us to discuss the impacts Bill C-36 on sex workers.
Join us on July 21 at the Duke of York. Doors open 7:00pm. Discussion starts 7:30pm.
Please RSVP on our Eventbrite page. You can follow the ticket link provided here.