In December of 2014, the Government passed into law, amending the Criminal Code, the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act (PCEPA). This Act changes Canadian law into something more similar to what is known as the Nordic Model. The Act criminalizes the purchase and profit of sexual services (i.e. Johns and pimps), the advertisement for sexual service by a third party (i.e. The Georgia Straight ads) and criminalizes the sell of sexual services near school grounds, parks, etc. This new act places the emphasis of criminalization on the purchasers and profiteers of a prostituted person. Unfortunately, it still criminalizes the prostituted person if she/he is near certain areas.
Missing from the Canadian enactment of PCEPA is wide scale education of the public about prostitution as violence against women, and creating accessible exit programs for prostituted women.
Since the enactment of the new law, there have been two extreme reactions by provinces and cities across the country. Some cities, especially in the Alberta and Manitoba, have used the law to begin arresting and prosecuting johns and pimps with great energy and zeal. Other areas, like British Columbia, particularly the Lower Mainland have declared the act unconstitutional and refuse to call for municipal police departments to use the law or the Crown to prosecute using the law. In fact, the Provincial Justice Minister of BC, Suzanne Anton, has stated as much, while the Vancouver Chief of Police Adam Palmer indicates that policing resources must be allocated in more important areas.
Canada is currently facing a move by “sex industry advocates” to fully decriminalize prostitution (tantamount to legalization). This misguided effort would be a gift to traffickers and pimps as they would be able to operate with impunity and expand their lucrative exploitative activities under the guise of valid businesses. Every country that has fully legalized/decriminalized prostitution has experienced a dramatic increase in underground prostitution and sex trafficking.
“Ten Reasons for Not Legalizing Prostitution And a Legal Response to the Demand for Prostitution” – Jancie G. Raymond
“Prostitution: Violating the Human Rights of Poor Women” – Shelagh Day
“Oldest Oppression or Oldest Profession?: Addressing Prostitution after the Supreme Court of Canada Decision in Canada v. Bedford“ – Benjamin Perrin