An escort is silhouetted against a window as she poses at a downtown Vancouver apartment, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. An alliance of 25 sex worker rights groups says the Criminal Code violate sex workers’ constitutional rights to security, personal autonomy, life, liberty, free expression, free association, and equality. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

An escort is silhouetted against a window as she poses at a downtown Vancouver apartment, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. An alliance of 25 sex worker rights groups says the Criminal Code violate sex workers’ constitutional rights to security, personal autonomy, life, liberty, free expression, free association, and equality. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Criminal laws violate charter rights of sex workers, advocates say in court challenge

Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law Reform say provisions violate sex workers’ charter rights

An alliance of 25 sex worker rights groups is asking the Ontario Court of Justice to strike down several sections of the Criminal Code as unconstitutional.

The Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law Reform said the provisions violate sex workers’ charter rights to security, personal autonomy, life, liberty, free expression, free association and equality.

Group co-ordinator Jenn Clamen says sex workers increasingly experience the heavy hand of law enforcement as a result of the criminal provisions.

“We have been patiently waiting on the empty promises of parliamentarians to uphold the rights of sex workers,” Clamen said.

“This government has spent five years paying lip service to human rights and to feminism, and it’s time for them to act.”

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in 2013 that three prostitution prohibitions were unconstitutional because they caused harm to sex workers and contravened their rights to liberty and security.

The alliance said the Conservative government of the day missed an opportunity to make things better for sex workers and instead brought in new provisions under the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act that have had negative effects.

It said the measures prohibit sex workers from:

• negotiating conditions and establishing consent to sexual activity;

• obtaining relevant information from clients and engaging in other screening practices vital to safety;

• working in non-isolated, collective and indoor workspaces;

• and establishing important working and safety relationships with managers, receptionists, drivers and interpreters, as well as other sex workers who pool resources, services and knowledge.

NDP justice critic Randall Garrison said there has been no action from the Liberal government to protect the rights of sex workers.

He urged the government to complete a scheduled legislative review of the law passed under the Conservatives.

Sex workers have spent the last five years in a precarious position where they remain stigmatized and vulnerable to violence, he said.

“Unfortunately, there has been no action and instead advocates have had to start a court challenge to force the government to act.

Maan Alhmidi, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

File photo
Greenwood streets due for spring cleaning

City crews to start on residential streets Friday, April 16

Barbed wire hangs over a chain-link fence at Grand Forks public works yard at 130 Industrial Dr. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Grand Forks to increase security following theft, break-ins at city properties

Grand Forks RCMP said break-ins at abandoned homes accounted for majority of recent property crime

The Rock Creek Fall Fair is coming back next September. It's size and scope depends on pandemic constraints, said general manager Lisa Sims. Photo: Facebook — Rock Creek Fall Fair
Rock Creek Fall Fair planners hoping for as big a return as possible

The fair launched 50-50 ticket sales Thursday, April 15

Easterly winds vent smoke from a controlled behind rural Grand Forks’ Spencer Hill Wednesday, April 14. Photo: Darlainea Redlack
Grand Forks’ wildfire operations centre reports successful controlled burn near city

Lead officer James Kastonoff said some smoke will stay in the area through Thursday, April 15

Mayor and council on Monday, April 12, narrowly voted to keep the old Hardy View Lodge shelter open for potentially another year. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Grand Forks to keep shelter open during housing negotiations with province

The current facility at 2320 78th Ave. will stay open as a COVID-shelter, according to city council’s resolution

Thursday, Feb. 4: RDKB Chief Engineer Darryl Funk hoists a banner commemorating last year’s championship season by the Bantam House Bruins. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Bantam Bruins honoured at hair-raising banner ceremony at Grand Forks’ Jack Goddard Arena

Asst. coach Mike Tollis said he reluctantly gave in to the team’s victory wish that he cut his pony tale

The father of Aaliyah Rosa planted a tree and laid a plaque in her memory in 2018. (Langley Advance Times files)
Final witness will extend Langley child murder trial into May or June

Lengthy trial began last autumn with COVID and other factors forcing it to take longer than expected

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The corner of 96th Avenue and Glover Road in Fort Langley now has traffic signals, and new “touchless” signal activation buttons. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Busy Fort Langley intersection gets ‘touchless’ crosswalk signals

The new traffic light started operation in April

A crossing guard stops traffic as students wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 arrive at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. A number of schools in the Fraser Health region, including Woodward Hill, have reported cases of the B.1.7.7 COVID-19 variant first detected in the U.K. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-infected students in Lower Mainland schools transmitting to 1 to 2 others: data

Eight to 13 per cent of COVID cases among students in the Lower Mainland were acquired in schools, B.C. says

Norm Scott, president of Royal Canadian Legion Branch # 91, is disappointed the Legion does not qualify for COVID financial assistance from the provincial government. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C.’s pandemic aid package passing Legion branches by

Federal non-profit status stymies provincial assistance eligibility

Latest modelling by public health shows cases generated by COVID-19 infections into places where it can spread quickly. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
Industrial sites, pubs, restaurants driving COVID-19 spread in B.C.

Infection risk higher in offices, retail, warehouses, farms

Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller said it would be “very challenging and not very safe” for him and his teammates to play as scheduled on Friday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Canucks’ return to ice postponed again after players voice COVID health concerns

Friday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers was called off after the team met virtually with the NHLPA

Most Read