Federal Justice Minister Peter MacKay says it's not an option to leave adult prostitution unregulated after a Supreme Court ruling struck key laws down.

B.C. still prosecuting some sex trade cases: Crown

Ottawa seeks input on new law to control prostitution

B.C.’s Criminal Justice Branch moved Monday to counter what it said was public misunderstanding that most prostitution-related cases will no longer go to court in the wake of a landmark ruling.

Crown counsel have shifted their practice after a Dec. 20 Supreme Court of Canada decision struck down key aspects of the criminal law on adult prostitution.

The branch issued a statement that noted the high court decision rendering unconstitutional some offences – keeping or being in a brothel, procuring or living off the avails of prostitution, and communicating in a public place for its purpose – doesn’t take effect for one year, during which time the laws remain in force.

Child prostitution offences remain illegal and unaffected by the ruling.

The branch’s new guidelines to prosecutors say there’s a continued public interest in prosecuting sex trade buyers for communicating, particularly when they solicit undercover police, as well as charges for both brothel operation and living off the avails when workers are exploited.

There’s less public interest justifying charges against sex trade workers for street solicitation or working in a brothel, they say.

Prosecutors will consider all charge requests from police on a case-by-case basis, while ongoing prosecutions that don’t meet the public interest test may be terminated.

Meanwhile, the federal government is embarking on one month of online consultations to seek public comment on how the country’s prostitution laws should be rewritten in response to the decision.

“Doing nothing is not an option,” Justice Minister Peter MacKay said Monday. “Our government is concerned about the significant harms that flow from prostitution to communities, those engaged in prostitution and other vulnerable persons.”

The Supreme Court gave Ottawa a year to rewrite the laws, which it said currently endanger sex workers and violate their constitutional rights.

The law barring anyone from living off the avails of prostitution in effect barred sex trade workers from legally protecting themselves by hiring bodyguards or drivers and renting indoor premises.

Canadian law until now has left prostitution itself legal while criminalizing communication and related activity.

There are three main international models Canada could pursue.

– Decriminalization and legalization of regulated prostitution, as used in Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Australia.

– Prohibition of both the sale and purchase of sex, as well as involvement of pimps and other third parties, as is in place in U.S. states except Nevada.

– The ‘Nordic Model’ of Sweden, Norway and Iceland that decriminalizes prostitutes themselves but criminalizes clients and third parties who exploit them. An emphasis is put on social programs to help workers leave the sex trade.

The website for the online consultations can be found at www.justice.gc.ca.

It asks whether it should be criminal to buy sex from an adult, for and adult to sell sex, or to benefit economically from prostitution by an adult – and what exceptions should be allowed in each case.

“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?” one question on the site asks.

Just Posted

Victorian-era magnate, con artist had Rossland connections

New book explores fascinating history of Whitaker Wright

Snowed In Comedy Tour returns to B.C.

Show comes to Trail on Jan. 30

Minor hockey roots preserved in Trail mural

The Trail Minor Hockey Association founded Minor Hockey Week in 1957

Tell the Times

Web Poll: Have you been the target of petty theft in Trail?

Nelson and Kaslo both claimed Queen City status

Place Names: Queen City of the Kootenays

Self serve doggy-wash poised to change dog grooming industry

Add money, start spraying to wash dog in the K9000

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

No winning ticket in $10 million Lotto Max jackpot

No win in Friday night’s draw means the next Lotto Max draw will be approximately $17 million

Scientists ID another possible threat to orcas: pink salmon

For two decades, significantly more of the whales have died in even-numbered years than in odd years

Burnaby byelection turmoil sparks debate about identity issues in politics

The Liberals still have not said whether they plan to replace Wang, who stepped aside Wednesday

B.C. woman planned to donate a kidney to her husband, then found out she has cancer

Richard Stuart needs a kidney, his wife Tracy has been diagnosed with cancer

Rookie Demko backstops Canucks to 4-3 win over Sabres

Young Vancouver goalie makes 36 saves to turn away Buffalo

Charges upgraded against mother of murdered B.C. girl

Kerryann Lewis now faces first- rather than second-degree murder in the death of Aaliyah Rosa.

UPDATE: Injured firefighter in stable condition

Kelowna fire crews responded to a blaze at Pope’sGallery of BC Art & Photography on Friday

Most Read