Senate passes controversial prostitution legislation C-36
The Peace Tower is framed in an archway on the East Block of Parliament Buildings on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Thursday, Sept., 10, 2009. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)
The government’s controversial anti-prostitution legislation, Bill C-36, has passed the Senate without changes.
It’s now on track to get royal assent before the end of the year, which would meet a deadline set by the Supreme Court of Canada.
Late last year, the Supreme Court struck down the current prostitution laws as unconstitutional, ruling that they created a dangerous environment for sex workers and impeded their ability to protect themselves.
Bill C-36, the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act, makes the purchase of sexual services a criminal offence, as well as criminalizes the activity of third parties who financially benefit from the exploitation of others through prostitution.
Soon after the Senate passed C-36, Sex Professionals of Canada (SPOC) posted a statement on its website saying the new laws would fail to ensure the safety of sex workers.
“Keeping criminalization in place will continue the stigma and social exclusion of sex workers,” it said.
Justice Minister Peter MacKay has insisted C-36 will ensure safer conditions for sex workers by cracking down on those who exploit them.
Last September, MacKay said “it treats sellers as victims of sexual exploitation, victims who need assistance in leaving prostitution and not punishment for the exploitation they've endured."