Canada’s criminal laws are being challenged in court. Here’s why | Media Pyro


Canada’s prostitution laws prevent sex workers from obtaining meaningful consent before engaging with clients, a lawyer for the union’s sex work group argued in a courtroom in Toronto on Monday.

The hearing was the first of four days of arguments in Ontario Superior Court during the legal challenge of the Protecting Communities and Persons Act.

That law was passed by the previous Conservative government in 2014, almost a year after the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the previous law that banned prostitution. In that case, attorneys said the current law is unfair, overly restrictive and unfair to sex workers.

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The Canadian Alliance for Sex Law Reform is now arguing that the new laws are stronger than the ones they replaced and still criminalize prostitution.

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It says the new laws promote blasphemy, solicit violence and take away security clearances.

Michael Rosenberg said in court Monday that laws against advertising or communicating the sale and purchase of sexual services are “unacceptable,” in part because they prevent health and safety checks, and detailed consent discussions.

“They should be able to have a conversation about the agreement according to the law and they can’t have that conversation within the limits of (law),” he said. “If it continues like that, someone will be willing to break the law, which is not good. And usually, there is no (consent) by law. That’s not good either.”

The association also argues that the new laws violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

According to Jenn Clamen, a co-coordinator for the group, they have a strong case record to present to the jury during four days of hearings this week.

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“It shows how bad it is for all female workers,” she said in an interview. “Sexual workers are the most marginalized, but all female workers, even privileged female workers, are oppressed by the current government.”

He added that the laws force women workers, and people who work with them, to work in a context of violence.

“This means that women workers, customers and third parties are always trying to avoid detection by the police and the police,” he said. “What this means is that women workers are always isolated because of the dangers of violence.”

The association advocates that there should be no criminal law against prostitution, and there are many recommendations to create a regulated industry.

The Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law Reform was formed in 2012 and has 25 sex work organizations across Canada.

© 2022 The Canadian Press


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