Some thoughts on the recent sex work legislation

Ted Hsu
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Prostitution itself has been legal in Canada since the criminal code came into force in 1892. But certain activities around prostitution have been illegal.

Regardless of Canadians’ moral views on prostitution, the Supreme Court’s recent instruction to Parliament in its ‘Bedford’ decision, which struck down certain laws, is clear: sex workers are amongst the most vulnerable in society, and the law must be changed one way or another to permit them to ensure their personal safety.

Minister MacKay’s Bill C-36 makes it harder for sex workers to communicate with and screen clients for safety. The bill makes it harder to rent a safe work place. It will drive sex-workers further underground. C-36, which is being rushed through the House of Commons before the summer recess, will likely make sex work more dangerous, contrary to the Supreme Court’s instruction. A new law regarding prostitution is an issue that requires more study and debate.

That is why my Liberal colleagues and I oppose Minister Mackay and have just voted against this bill at second reading.