In 2012, the supreme court handed down a landmark ruling which struck down many of the laws surrounding prostitution and sex work in Canada, citing that the laws violated sex workers charter rights as they imposed a greater risk of harm on sex workers. The court gave at that time the Stephen Harper government time to re write the laws.
The result was the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act. A law which at the time was viewed as just rearranging the deck chairs of the issue and did not actively address the issues of safety surrounding sex work in Canada. In 2015 Justin Trudeau promised in his campaign to rescind the law. That never happened. To this date the law is still on the books and in effect. Although that may not be for much longer.
In a repeat of 2012, last month sex worker advocates took action and filed a lawsuit in Ontario Courts to challenge the constitutionality of the Protection of Communities and Exploited persons Act. Should they succeed in their challenge laws surrounding sex work could be struck down once again in Canada, forcing Canada to once again update it’s laws.
One of the groups involved with the court case is a Hamilton advocacy group, Sex Workers Action Program Hamilton. We reached out to their Executive Director Jelena Vermillion to chat with her about the court case and what they hope to accomplish. As well as the issue of sex work and sex workers rights in general in Canada.
We would like to give our listeners a word of caution before beginning the episode as we do talk about sensitive and mature topics and our language can get rather frank in this one. Discretion is advised.
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Nicholas Paul: sound editing.
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