Skip to comments.Ontario Appeal Court strikes down ban on brothels
Posted on 03/26/2012 9:23:11 PM PDT by JerseyanExile
Ontario's Court of Appeal has ruled that sex workers should be able to legally take their trade indoors and pay staff to support them.
The court released a decision Monday on an appeal of Superior Court Judge Susan G. Himel's high-profile ruling that three provisions of the Criminal Code pertaining to prostitution should be struck down on the grounds that they are unconstitutional.
The Ontario appeal court agreed with two-thirds of Himel's ruling, namely that the provisions prohibiting common bawdy-houses and living off the avails of prostitution, are both unconstitutional in their current form.
But the court disagreed that the communicating provision must be struck down, meaning that it "remains in full force" and the existing ban on soliciting will continue.
Both Justice Minister Rob Nicholson and Ontario Attorney General John Gerretsen indicated that their respective departments would review the decision before deciding how to proceed.
"As the Prime Minister has said, prostitution is bad for society and harmful to communities, women and vulnerable persons," Nicholson said in a statement released by his office.
"We are reviewing the decision and our legal options."
The Ontario court said it will strike the word prostitution from the definition of "common bawdy-house," as it applies to Section 210 of the Criminal Code, which otherwise prevents prostitutes from offering services out of fixed indoor locations such as brothels or their homes.
However, the court said the bawdy-house provisions would not be declared invalid for 12 months, so that Parliament can have a chance to draft Charter-compliant provisions to replace them, if it chooses to do so.
Valerie Scott of Sex Professionals of Canada said most sex workers in the industry today are already operating indoors.
While Scott said she welcomed the courts ruling, she expressed concern for sex workers who are still out on the street.
"I do worry about my street colleagues. What are they going to do?" Scott said Monday at a news conference in Toronto.
"We have to figure out something to make these women and men safe."
Terri-Jean Bedford, a dominatrix and former prostitute, said sex workers are much better off working indoors where they do not face the same risks.
"When you are out on the street, the laws are horrible and they move people into the shadows," Bedford told CBC News Network Monday.
The court also said that the prohibition of living off the avails of prostitution as spelled out in Section 212(1)(j) of the Criminal Code should pertain only to those who do so in circumstances of exploitation, and will be amended to reflect that.
The changes to the "living-off-the-avails" provision will not come into effect for 30 days.
Scott said that allowing women to work with others and hire staff is another way of making sex work safer.
"When you have people around, generally, you don't see as much violence.
In the preamble to its judgment, the court said prostitution is legal in Canada, with no law that prohibits a person from selling sex, and no law that prohibits another from buying it.
While the court acknowledged that prostitution is a controversial topic, one that provokes heated and heartfelt debate about morality, equality, personal autonomy and public safety, it said the questions before it were about whether the laws being challenged were unconstitutional or not.
Lawyer Alan Young, who represented three women who brought forward the application to have the provisions declared unconstitutional, said the appeal courts decision had ushered in a "new era" for sex workers.
"I am thrilled that the Court of Appeal has done the right thing," Young told reporters after the court released its judgment Monday.
"They may not have gone as far as the Superior Court judge, but when you actually look at the result, theyve done the right thing in terms of modifying the law so that sex workers will not face the same risks they face on a daily basis."
Nikki Thomas, the executive director of Sex Professionals of Canada, said sex workers have long been living in a legal limbo in which prostitution is legal but many particular modes of operation are not.
Thomas said now is the time for sex workers to make their voices heard, while their issues are on the agenda.
"We cannot wait for the Supreme Court [of Canada] to rule before we all of a sudden decide that this is something that needs to be addressed," Thomas said.
"The public overwhelmingly supports legal reform. Nobody thinks that the laws on the books are good laws and the absence of good laws is not an excuse to keep those bad laws on the books."
Elliot Spitzer and Anthony Weiner say, “Hallelujah”. Canada, here we a cum.
Once again the courts instantly legalize decadence. Why who could have known? The folks who wrote the constitutions really intended that abortion, homosexual marriage and prostitution were really legal practices. Just a silly oversight not to mention the activities. BTW just what is wrong with that court. How could they forget to sanction pedophilia? Western culture is in a terminal decline.
“Western culture is in a terminal decline.”
There’s less and less left worth defending.
Could the Muslims be right?
Prostitution has been legal for some time, here in Canada. Solicitation in a public place remains illegal (i.e. street hooking is verboten). It was already legal for prostitutes to visit “clients” at their hotel room, etc. All that this changes is that it will also be legal for prostitutes to “entertain” at a brothel. They will also be able to hire bodyguards.
Overall, IMHO it looks like a reasonable ruling. It is intended to improve safety for the women. We're pretty sensitive here about the dangers prostitutes face, ever since the “missing women” thing in Vancouver came to light. (A sick @#*$* killed at least 52 prostitutes, and fed many of them to his pigs.)
“Theres less and less left worth defending. Could the Muslims be right?”
My thoughts exactly; Muslims aren’t right, but this isn’t either (and certainly not worth dying for). I know this is a Canadian story, but it has parallels with the US: As we become a country where deviance is heralded as better then the norm, where race and gender determine whether or not someone gets into a school, lands a job or promotion, obtains a business loan, etc., what stake does a heterosexual male of European descent even have in it?
Outside of my tribe, I couldn’t care less for most of the people around me; I’ve become completely indifferent to them. I still pay taxes and vote, but along a very narrow range of issues that matter to me personally. The concept of a nation or shared heritage has been completely eradicated (deliberately) by America’s Bolsheviks.
“...what stake does a heterosexual male of European descent even have in it?”
The ironic thing is that it has been us (the white heterosexual males) who have slowly (and voluntarily) given up our power and values.
I came to the following realization a while back.
“You only own that which you are willing and able to defend.”
We have failed to defend what we had, and watch despondently as the mob plunders what we have left.
“Paying staff to support them” is now legal. Meaning a maid to change the sheets?
No it means a pimp. As in, “you owe us $600 for the room, girl, and $1000 from last week.”
I’m not against legal prostitution. Only pointing out that a lot of Democratic politicians just got new passports.
I love Canada but you’ve got to do something about the Frenchies. They will be the death of you (I remember LaPorte).
Look like some of those judges might have a conflict of interest going by what “officials” get up to after work.
Even the Evil One himself speaks the truth part of the time.
That headline is a keeper!
I never voluntarily gave up anything; I have nothing but contempt for white liberals, and satisfaction when they are victims of their programs/ideas.
I cannot imagine myself so horny as to pay a “sex worker” for relief, especially when relief is readily at hand.
As for the French question — Americans should consider our experiences with official bilingualism to be a cautionary tale. However, my attitudes toward Quebec ‘nationalists’ have soften a bit, in recent years. They have not fallen for multiculturalism — they believe that a nation needs a unifying culture (like a melting pot), and they don't believe in the “stew pot” of identity politics. The ROC (rest of Canada) could learn something from les Québécois.