A slight majority of those who responded to the Justice Department's month-long online consultation earlier this year felt that purchasing sexual services should be a criminal offence.
However, two-thirds of the more than 31,000 respondents said selling sex should not be an offence.
About six in every 10 participants said benefiting economically from the prostitution of an adult should be illegal.
The department received comments from 117 organizations, but did not reveal who they were.
Justice Minister Peter MacKay tweeted that the findings would be taken into account in coming legislation on prostitution.
Follow @JimBronskill on Twitter