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New Prostitution Laws on the Way

On October 30, Bayne Sellar Boxall partner Ian Carter, attended the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs to discuss Bill C-36: An Act to amend the Criminal Code in response to the Supreme Court of Canada decision in Attorney General of Canada v. Bedford) and to make consequential amendments to other Acts (also known as the Protection of Communities and Exploited Person's Act). The Bill, which is a response to the Supreme Court's decision striking down of three prostitution-related criminal offences, intends to provide a new regime for prostitution in Canada.

The Bill has three primary objectives: (1) protecting prostitutes, considered to be victims of sexual exploitation, (2) protecting communities from the harms caused by Prostitution, and (3) reducing the demand for sexual services. To achieve this, the Bill introduces five offences: (1) an offence to communicate for the purpose of offering or providing sexual services in a public place that is next to a school ground, playground, or daycare centre; (2) an offence to, in any place, obtain sexual services for consideration, or to communicate for that purpose; (3) an offence to receive a financial benefit knowing it is obtained from the obtaining of sexual services; (4) an offence to procure a person to offer or provide sexual services for consideration; and (5) an offence to knowingly advertise an offer to provide sexual services for consideration.

Essentially, it will now be a crime to pay for sex, but not to be paid for sex.

There are many issues with this new legislation. One such issue identified by Mr. Carter, was that while it would allow sex workers to advertise, it would make it an offence for anyone to run those ads.

For more information on the Bill.

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