Federal Justice Minister Peter MacKay says it's not an option to leave adult prostitution unregulated after a Supreme Court ruling struck key laws down.

B.C. still prosecuting some sex trade cases: Crown

Ottawa seeks input on new law to control prostitution

B.C.’s Criminal Justice Branch moved Monday to counter what it said was public misunderstanding that most prostitution-related cases will no longer go to court in the wake of a landmark ruling.

Crown counsel have shifted their practice after a Dec. 20 Supreme Court of Canada decision struck down key aspects of the criminal law on adult prostitution.

The branch issued a statement that noted the high court decision rendering unconstitutional some offences – keeping or being in a brothel, procuring or living off the avails of prostitution, and communicating in a public place for its purpose – doesn’t take effect for one year, during which time the laws remain in force.

Child prostitution offences remain illegal and unaffected by the ruling.

The branch’s new guidelines to prosecutors say there’s a continued public interest in prosecuting sex trade buyers for communicating, particularly when they solicit undercover police, as well as charges for both brothel operation and living off the avails when workers are exploited.

There’s less public interest justifying charges against sex trade workers for street solicitation or working in a brothel, they say.

Prosecutors will consider all charge requests from police on a case-by-case basis, while ongoing prosecutions that don’t meet the public interest test may be terminated.

Meanwhile, the federal government is embarking on one month of online consultations to seek public comment on how the country’s prostitution laws should be rewritten in response to the decision.

“Doing nothing is not an option,” Justice Minister Peter MacKay said Monday. “Our government is concerned about the significant harms that flow from prostitution to communities, those engaged in prostitution and other vulnerable persons.”

The Supreme Court gave Ottawa a year to rewrite the laws, which it said currently endanger sex workers and violate their constitutional rights.

The law barring anyone from living off the avails of prostitution in effect barred sex trade workers from legally protecting themselves by hiring bodyguards or drivers and renting indoor premises.

Canadian law until now has left prostitution itself legal while criminalizing communication and related activity.

There are three main international models Canada could pursue.

– Decriminalization and legalization of regulated prostitution, as used in Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Australia.

– Prohibition of both the sale and purchase of sex, as well as involvement of pimps and other third parties, as is in place in U.S. states except Nevada.

– The ‘Nordic Model’ of Sweden, Norway and Iceland that decriminalizes prostitutes themselves but criminalizes clients and third parties who exploit them. An emphasis is put on social programs to help workers leave the sex trade.

The website for the online consultations can be found at www.justice.gc.ca.

It asks whether it should be criminal to buy sex from an adult, for and adult to sell sex, or to benefit economically from prostitution by an adult – and what exceptions should be allowed in each case.

“If you support allowing the sale or purchase of sexual services, what limitations should there be, if any, on where or how this can be conducted?” one question on the site asks.

Just Posted

Team Harrison prevails in Port Alberni men’s bonspiel

Annual bonspiel drew 20 teams from out of town

Wedding plans derailed following City of Port Alberni’s train announcement

Five wedding parties are scrambling to find alternate transportation arrangements to McLean… Continue reading

Kids help Alberni Aquarium build rockfish luminary for next exhibit

Swimming For Change takes over in time for spring break

Spring fishery closures mulled for south coast

Fewer fish are returning to rivers and more conservation needed, say feds

One dead, two seriously injured in Hwy 4 crash west of Port Alberni

A man has died following a single-vehicle collision west of Port Alberni… Continue reading

Mount Arrowsmith skaters get tips from Olympic athlete

Larkyn Austman visited Port Alberni for winter carnival

A ‘warm embrace’ for grieving parents at funeral of seven young fire victims

Mourners offered love and support to Kawthar Barho, mother of seven children

Indigenous leaders, politicians say Trans Mountain report flawed

The National Energy Board has endorsed an expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline a second time

UPDATE: Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

Legislation to protect B.C. farmland comes into effect

Regulations enhance food security, encourage long-term farming

Have you heard the legend of Shuswaggi, the Shuswap Lake monster?

Witness accounts as old as 1904, and as recent as 2018, place a creature in the lake’s depths

Credit card fraud steals $50,000 from Victoria businesses: police

Crime Reduction Unit investigating several frauds costing several businesses over $50,000

UPDATE: B.C. ticket holder winner of $25.9-million Lotto Max jackpot

Next draw set for Mar. 1 with an estimated jackpot of $10 million

B.C.-based ‘Team Tardi’ brings home gold in junior curling worlds

In a 9-4 victory over Switzerland, a Langley-based curling team earned its 2nd straight world title

Most Read