New Canadian prostitution bill expected ‘well before’ deadline: MacKay says

Feb 1, 2014
Legal
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Justice Minister Peter MacKay says the government will introduce its new prostitution legislation well ahead of the December deadline.

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Speaking in Halifax, MacKay said Ottawa has already started to draft the legislation, but more consultations must happen with police and provincial governments.

He wouldn’t say when the bill would be introduced, but vowed that it would be “well before” the one-year time frame it was given.

The Supreme Court of Canada struck down the country’s anti-prostitution laws late last year, ruling that laws banning street soliciting, living on the avails and keeping a brothel are unconstitutional.

The ruling means prostitution-related offences will remain in the Criminal Code until December.

MacKay said the new legislation will continue to protect women from violence and sexual abuse.

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[…] Justice Minister Peter MacKay has been vocal about his plans for legislation that includes elements of a “Swedish” or “Nordic” regime—where clients and third parties are directly targeted through criminal law. Legislation of this kind would directly violate the spirit of Bedford, which relied on evidence to rule that criminalization of sex work (including clients) contravenes sex workers’ constitutional rights to safety and security. Criminalizing the purchase of sex means that sex workers are still pushed underground, away from safety, unable to work with each other, and unable to screen out potential aggressors posing as clients. […]

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