Legislation in Response to Supreme Court of Canada Ruling in Attorney General of Canada v. Bedford et al.

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Ottawa, ON – Today, Langley MP Mark Warawa commented on the Government’s new legislation to keep our streets and communities safe by cracking down on those who fuel demand for prostitution.

“Today, our Government is responding to the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling in Canada v. Bedford to ensure that Canada’s laws and the criminal justice system continue to address the significant harms that flow from prostitution to those engaged in prostitution and to other vulnerable persons, while protecting Canadian communities,” said the Langley MP.

“I will be supporting the bill to go to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. At Committee, Members of Parliament will be able to hear from experts in the field and carefully study this legislation,” added Warawa. “Prostitution hurts Canadian communities and the most vulnerable Canadians.”

The Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act is a “made in Canada” model, which directly targets the demand for this dangerous activity and would take tough action to crack down on pimps and johns. The proposed legislation would protect Canadian communities – in particular women, children, and those who are at risk of being drawn into prostitution – from the dangers associated with prostitution, including violence, drug-related crime, and organized crime.

This Canadian model involves a significant overhaul of the Criminal Code’s treatment of prostitution and related activities. It would:

  • Criminalize those who fuel the demand for prostitution, i.e. purchasers of sexual services;
  • Continue to criminalize those who financially benefit from the exploitation of prostitutes, such as pimps and those who procure others for the purpose of prostitution;
  • Prohibit advertising for the sale of others’ sexual services in print or online;
  • Immunize prostitutes from criminal liability for any part they play in the purchasing, material benefit, procuring or advertising offences;
  • Protect our communities by criminalizing communicating for the purpose of selling sexual services in public places where a child could reasonably be present; and,
  • Increase existing penalties relating to child prostitution.

These measures will be supported by $20 million in new funding, including to support grassroots organizations dealing with the most vulnerable prostitutes. Assistance will be provided to those who want to leave this dangerous and harmful activity; therefore, there will be an emphasis on funding programs that can help individuals exit prostitution.

In the Bedford ruling, the Supreme Court of Canada suspended its declaration of invalidity of three prostitution-related provisions of the Criminal Code for 12 months, or until December 19, 2014. Our Government has introduced this legislation today in an effort to ensure that it is adopted and starts protecting those who are most vulnerable and at risk of the exploitation inherent in prostitution as soon as possible, while ensuring that Canadian streets and communities remain safe.

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