From WhyShouldICare —
On July 21, 2014, WSIC hosted a full house of Torontonians engaged in the topic of proposed prostitution Bill C-36. We were pleased to have two highly qualified speakers leading the discussion: Sonya Barnett, co-founder of SlutWalk, www.afterbedford.com and vocal advocate for women’s rights and sexual freedoms, and Rachel, a board member Maggie’s Toronto Sex Workers Action Program.
Our speakers provided the WSIC audience with a comprehensive overview of the recently decided Bedford case, where members of the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) determined certain provisions of our Criminal Code as unconstitutional and in violation of s.7 of the Canadian Charter – right to life, liberty, and security of the person.
The provisions are loosely referred to as the bawdy house provision, living off the avails of a sex worker, and communicating in a public place for engaging in prostitution. The SCC gave the government one year to address the finding, following which those criminal provisions found to be unconstitutional would no longer be of legal force and effect.
The government’s response to this ruling is the recently circulated Bill C-36 – a legislative product that sex workers challenge does not represent their interests, remains unconstitutional in its content, and put together after only minimal consultation with those working in the sex industry.