01/09/2014 07:43 EST | Updated 03/11/2014 05:59 EDT

Vern White urges Senate to study Canada's prostitution laws

A former Ottawa police chief who is now a senator says the upper chamber would be an ideal place to study what should be done about Canada's prostitution laws.

Vern White says the Senate could study how prostitution is regulated in different countries.

His comments follow the Supreme Court decision last month that struck down laws making it illegal to solicit sex on the street, run a brothel or live off the avails of prostitution.

The federal government has one year to come up with new laws.

White said the Senate would be an ideal venue for a comprehensive study of Canada's prostitution laws because of its abilities to create research committees.

He added the time is right for a national conversation on how to regulate and legislate around the sex trade.

Before he exited his job as police chief in early 2012, White instituted a Nordic-style model for the police service that saw it enforce laws on those who purchase sex instead of sex workers.

Then in 2013, Ottawa police arrested 117 "johns", or men police say were attempting to pay to have sex, in 10 prostitution sweeps. No women were arrested.

That is a complete shift from 2009 when Ottawa police arrested 191 people — 135 of whom were women.