Canadian Supreme Court gives one year for revision of prostitution laws

A ruling deems current laws unconstitutional due to endangerment of sex workers

A December 20 decision by Canada's Supreme Court gives legislators one year to revise laws regulating sex work to make them more fair to the sex workers themselves. The unanimous decision determined that current legislation endangers the lives of sex workers insomuch that it prevents those in the line of work from protecting themselves.

The current laws deemed unconstitutional by all nine justices will be in place for the next 12 months, at which point lawmakers must present redrafted legislation that meets the Supreme Court's standards of constitutionality. Barring that, prostitution would become totally legal. As the law stands, it is not illegal to sell sex for money in Canada, but it is illegal to own a brothel or live off the proceeds of prostitution -- a seemingly contradictory policy.

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Juliana Kenny

Juliana Kenny is a contributor to, covering a range of topics including patent litigation, conflict mineral laws, executive compensation, and antitrust regulation. Juliana earned B.A.s...

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