(last updated:  March 2014.)

Prostitution is a long standing issue in our neighbourhood.  However, at the moment, the Police are not dealing with this problem because a court challenge has been made to the applicable law.  This round of legal wrangling has been going on since Sep. 2010.

Street Prostitution is a  problem in our neighbourhood.  Last year, the Supreme Court gave the federal government one year to rewrite the prostitution laws.  Now, the federal government has launched a month-long, online consultation period to gather input from the public about what the law should be.  Here is the page on the Justice Department site and there is a link on that page to the questionnaire.

We urge everyone to complete this questionnaire.  Time is short; the questionnaire closes March 17th so make your feelings known now.  We have posted a response from the CSRA board below.


(Note:  For those who are interested in all the legal efforts, there is significant material on this court challenge (just Google Bedford v. Canada).  The Wikipedia entry is a good place to start. 

While prostitution is legal in Canada, most activities related to prostitution are illegal. Prohibitions include:

  • Prohibiting the operation of common bawdy-houses (section 210 of the Criminal Code of Canada). This prevents prostitutes from offering their services out of fixed indoor locations such as brothels, or even their own homes.
  • Prohibiting living on the avails of prostitution (section 212(1)(j) of the Criminal Code of Canada). This prevents anyone, including but not limited to pimps, from profiting from another’s prostitution.
  • Prohibiting communicating for the purpose of prostitution in public (section 213(1)(c) of the Criminal Code of Canada). This prevents prostitutes from offering their services in public, and particularly on the streets. 

Our response to the survey:

1. Do you think that purchasing sexual services from an adult should be a criminal offence? Should there be any exceptions? Please explain. 
No if the customer is reasonably sure that the prostitute is a consenting adult.  If the prostitute is coerced through kidnapping, controlled and confined, threatened by or subject to assault or forcibly drugged the prostitute is not consenting.
2. Do you think that selling sexual services by an adult should be a criminal offence? Should there be any exceptions? Please explain.
No.  But  the wording should be "from a consenting adult", not just adult. 
3. 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? Please explain.
-The purchase of sexual services should be conducted in a regulated area preferably indoors in a regulated area in an area zoned for commercial use away from residential  and retail neighbourhoods.
 The service  should be licensed with a requirement for regular STD examinations. 
4. Do you think that it should be a criminal offence for a person to benefit economically from the prostitution of an adult? Should there be any exceptions? Please explain.
No unless a  person lures another into prostitution by means such as addicting them to drugs, or keeps them in prostitution by terrorizing them, or otherwise concerting control and infleunce over them, then that should be a criminal offence.  
5. Are there any other comments you wish to offer to inform the Government's response to the Bedford decision?
Prostitution needs to be licensed, controlled, and regulated.  It is critical that society  implement and fund social programs to help prostitutes leave prostitution .  These exit fees should be funded from the licensing fee.

Our current efforts on this matter:

  • Encourage police to minimize the problem:
    • Continue to inform 51 Division of egregious examples of prostitution in our neighbourhood.
    • Police used to have female officers pose as hookers to see if johns would engage them in solicitation.  Clarify if this is still possible.
    • Request 51 Division use bicycle police who are better positioned that officers in cars to catch prostitutes in the act;  residents in the neighbourhood see them all the time.
    • Encourage the police to have officers stop and question the girls and/or johns so as to encourage the trade to move on.  Instead, it looks like communities are expected to post signs and cameras to scare off the customers.
  • Encourage politicians to enact licensing and districts and those caught outside of the district would be ticketed.
  • Follow the calendar of events.  The Supreme Court should rule sometime in early 2014.
  • Maintain a watchful eye on the neighbourhood, so that we remain aware of how this unrestricted activity impacts our neighbourhood.

We need a volunteer to chair a Prostitution Action Committee.  If you are impacted by this, there is no need to sit on the sidelines.  Step forward and help us deal with it, especially during this period of legal limbo.

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