An escort is silhouetted against a window as she poses at a downtown Vancouver apartment, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. An alliance of 25 sex worker rights groups says the Criminal Code violate sex workers’ constitutional rights to security, personal autonomy, life, liberty, free expression, free association, and equality. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

An escort is silhouetted against a window as she poses at a downtown Vancouver apartment, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. An alliance of 25 sex worker rights groups says the Criminal Code violate sex workers’ constitutional rights to security, personal autonomy, life, liberty, free expression, free association, and equality. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Criminal laws violate charter rights of sex workers, advocates say in court challenge

Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law Reform say provisions violate sex workers’ charter rights

An alliance of 25 sex worker rights groups is asking the Ontario Court of Justice to strike down several sections of the Criminal Code as unconstitutional.

The Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law Reform said the provisions violate sex workers’ charter rights to security, personal autonomy, life, liberty, free expression, free association and equality.

Group co-ordinator Jenn Clamen says sex workers increasingly experience the heavy hand of law enforcement as a result of the criminal provisions.

“We have been patiently waiting on the empty promises of parliamentarians to uphold the rights of sex workers,” Clamen said.

“This government has spent five years paying lip service to human rights and to feminism, and it’s time for them to act.”

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in 2013 that three prostitution prohibitions were unconstitutional because they caused harm to sex workers and contravened their rights to liberty and security.

The alliance said the Conservative government of the day missed an opportunity to make things better for sex workers and instead brought in new provisions under the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act that have had negative effects.

It said the measures prohibit sex workers from:

• negotiating conditions and establishing consent to sexual activity;

• obtaining relevant information from clients and engaging in other screening practices vital to safety;

• working in non-isolated, collective and indoor workspaces;

• and establishing important working and safety relationships with managers, receptionists, drivers and interpreters, as well as other sex workers who pool resources, services and knowledge.

NDP justice critic Randall Garrison said there has been no action from the Liberal government to protect the rights of sex workers.

He urged the government to complete a scheduled legislative review of the law passed under the Conservatives.

Sex workers have spent the last five years in a precarious position where they remain stigmatized and vulnerable to violence, he said.

“Unfortunately, there has been no action and instead advocates have had to start a court challenge to force the government to act.

Maan Alhmidi, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Terrace Community Fund was able to set up the Dare to Dream Fund with a significant donation from Trumpeter Donnie Clark. (File photo)
Dare to Dream Fund set up after a large donation from musician Donnie Clark

The fund will provide financial support for the Dare to Dream music program in Terrace and Thornhill

The average selling price of a single-family home in Terrace has climbed 26 per cent in the last year. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)
House prices soar in Terrace

Average prices increased by 26 per cent

Nurse Vicki Niemi administers a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to Joyce, 88, on Mar. 23, 2020 at the Terrace Sportsplex. All adults in Terrace are now eligible to register for a COVID-19 vaccination. (Ben Bogstie/Terrace Standard)
All adults in Terrace can now register for a COVID-19 vaccine appointment

Community members can register by calling 833-838-2323 or visiting getvaccinated.gov.bc.ca

April 2020 to March 2021 was the second wettest year on record since at least 1969, according to Environment Canada. (Ben Bogstie/Terrace Standard)
VIDEO: Terrace records wettest spell in over a half-century

Terrace saw close to 1,500 millimetres of precipitation between April 2020 and March 2021

Terrace fire department responded to a call from Skeena Saw Mills at the early hours of Friday morning. (Binny Paul/ Terrace Standard)
UPDATE: Fire crews respond to early morning incident at Skeena Sawmills

No injuries were reported as mill workers immediately alerted the fire department after seeing smoke

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

—Image: contributed
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians says that includes attempts to steal Canadian research on COVID-19 and vaccines, and sow misinformation. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Intelligence committee warns China, Russia targeting Canadian COVID-19 research

Committee also found that the terrorist threat to Canada has shifted since its last such assessment

Part of the massive mess left behind in a Spallumcheen rental home owned by Wes Burden, whose tenants bolted from the property in the middle of the night. Burden is now facing a hefty cleaning and repair bill as a result. (Photo submitted)
Tenants disappear in the night leaving Okanagan home trashed with junk, feces

Spallumcheen rental rooms filled with junk, human and animal feces; landlord scared to rent again

Parliament Hill is viewed below a Canada flag in Gatineau, Quebec, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. A new poll suggests most Canadians are feeling more grateful for what they have in 2020 as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions increased slightly in 2019: report

2019 report shows Canada emitted about one million tonnes more of these gases than the previous year

Dr. E. Kwok administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a recipient at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to register people ages 40+ for COVID-19 vaccines in April

Appointments are currently being booked for people ages 66 and up

Most Read