Prostitution in Canada: now even more legal!

Prostitution in Canada: now even more legal!

Red light district: Could Toronto be the next Amsterdam? (Image: Rainer Ebert) 

Dominatrices and sex workers were delighted today as a Toronto judge ruled to strike down Canada’s Criminal Code provisions dealing with prostitution. As reported by the Star, justice Susan Himel of Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice ruled that Canada’s anti-prostitution laws were contrary to the values of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The Star reports:

A Toronto judge has struck down Canada’s prostitution laws, effectively decriminalizing activities associated with the world’s oldest trade.

“These laws, individually and together, force prostitutes to choose between their liberty interest and their right to security of the person as protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” Justice Susan Himel of Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice said in Tuesday’s landmark decision.

The story of this case, launched over a year ago by dominatrix Teri-Jean Bedford along with prostitutes Valerie Scott and Amy Lebovitch, is not over yet. Judge Himel has imposed a 30-day stay on the decision to give lawyers and others a chance to voice their opinions. The Star goes on to say that Rona Ambrose, the federal Conservative minister for status of women, is reportedly “very concerned” about the decision and is considering an appeal.

Most notably, the consensual act of exchanging money for sex has never been illegal in Canada. The sections of the Criminal Code struck down had to do with communication for the purposes of prostitution, living off of the sex trade, and the keeping of a “common bawdy house.” In other words, it was OK to pay for sex if one did so while wearing earplugs, a blindfold and a gag (wait—why was the dominatrix concerned?).