Supreme Court strikes down Canada's prostitution laws, which "do not pass Charter muster”

Crédit photo: Supreme Court strikes down Canada's prostitution laws, which
Canada's Supreme Court has just unanimously struck down three key laws concerning prostitution.

The country's top court ruled that current laws which prohibit keeping a brothel, living on the avails of prostitution and communicating in public for purposes of prostitution "do not pass Charter muster”, as they infringe on the rights of prostitutes by basically putting them in harm's way.

"Parliament has the power to regulate against nuisances, but not at the cost of the health, safety and lives of prostitutes," read the court's ruling.

But although many - including the three prostitutes who brought the case in front of the court - couldn't be happier, not everyone agrees with the outcome.

Justice Minister Peter McKay, for one, said his office “is reviewing the decision and are exploring all possible options to ensure the criminal law continues to address the significant harms that flow from prostitution to communities, those engaged in prostitution, and vulnerable persons.”

Lawyers for the federal and Ontario governments also argued that if prostitutes really want to avoid risk, they should just find a different job, but as the final ruling states: "Realistically, while (prostitutes) may retain some minimal power of choice, these are not people who can be said to be truly 'choosing a risky line of business.”

However, the court's decision, as positive as it may be, will now be suspended for one year, which means current laws will stay as they are, then it will be up to Parliament to either amend the laws or set the issue aside.

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