Current Legal Debate
In April 2021 a Superior Court decision has struck down as unconstitutional major portions of the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act (also referred to as Bill C-36). This was a repeat of the decision in the lower court about a year ago. The government did not appeal that decision, so the law remained intact because it was only a lower court decision. The Superior Court decision, however, strikes down major portions of PCEPA, and is binding on the authorities effective immediately, with no stay. There is no indication of whether the government will appeal this time. The judge was explicit in recognizing that any stay just gives more time for the ills of the law to continue.
In addition to this recent ruling, the defendants in the 2020 decision, along with the members of the Canadian Alliance for sex work law reform, have since filed a constitutional challenge to the Act. Bedford Versus Canada, along with the ruling of the two courts, will be much cited in the challenge.
In February 2020, prior to the release of the lower court decision, I decided to issue yet another statement about the debate concerning Canada’s sex laws. I did so in advance of the release of the lower court decision, to make the point that the issues remained, regardless of the ruling. They remain still.