Canada Debates – Prostitution laws
On December 20, 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada found three Criminal Code prostitution-related offences unconstitutional. The Supreme Court of Canada suspended the effects of its decision in Bedford for one year to allow the government to respond to the unconstitutionality of certain offences. Those offences relate to: o Indoor prostitution (e.g. in a house/apartment, massage parlour or strip club); o Living wholly or in part on the avails of prostitution of another person; and o Communicating for the purposes of purchasing or selling sexual services in public places, e.g. in the street. In response Canada’s Department of Justice’s opened on its website the on-line consultations from February 17 to March 17, 2014, and Canadians were invited to provide their thoughts and views on the issue.Peter MacKay , Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada at that time said “Our government is consulting not only
with all Canadians, but also with representatives from a crosssection of interest groups, to seek their views and input to inform our response to prostitution. The government is taking action to maintain the safety of our streets and communities by ensuring that a legislative response truly reflects Canadian values.” CBC News reported that Canadian Press has a copy of Survey which suggested that majority of people who responded to a Justice Department’s online survey on prostitution earlier this year felt that purchasing sexual services should be a criminal offence. However, two-thirds of them said selling sex should not be an offence. A majority also said that benefiting economically from the prostitution of an adult should be illegal. Respondents who
felt prostitution should be legal did support restrictions, including regular medical testing and a system of regulation,
taxation and licensing. Tallying the response, the department found that 56 per cent felt purchasing sexual services should be a criminal offence, while 44 per cent thought it shouldn’t be criminal. But 66 per cent said selling sex should not be a criminal offence, while 34 per cent though it should be. And 62 per cent felt that benefiting economically from the prostitution of an adult
should be a criminal offence, while 38 per cent said no.
Justice Minister Peter MacKay will soon introduce a new bill to
reform Canada’s prostitution laws