Canada's profoundly misguided approach to prostitution and treatment of prostitutes changed on June 4, 2014, with the introduction of Bill C-36, the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act. By making prostitution illegal for the first time in Canadian history, the impact of the new prohibitions will be borne by those who purchase sex and persons who exploit others through prostitution rather than vulnerable individuals.
The Government released a report on its consultations regarding Parliament's response to the Supreme Court decision last December striking down several prostitution-related offences in the Criminal Code. Regrettably, the information made available about the consultations raises more questions than it answers, and leads one to query whether an informed debate will occur.
The government has again appealed the Ontario Court of Appeal's decision that current sex worker laws go against constitutional rights. On October 25, the Supreme Court of Canada will decide whether they will hear their appeal or not. Ultimately, it is my hope that the SCC agrees to hear the case in its entirety, for a number of reasons. Sex work is a highly contentious issue, but it is a legimate profession that one can freely choose if so inclined. We Canadians all have a right to life, liberty, and security of the person, even those of us involved in sex work -- and no government laws may infringe on those rights. That's exactly what this challenge is all about.