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Since the Charter of Rights and Freedoms became law, the constitutionality of Canada's prostitution laws have been challenged on a number of occasions, successfully so in 2013, leading to a new legislative approach introduced in 2014.

The term "sex work" is used interchangeably with "prostitution" in this article, in accordance with the World Health Organisation (WHO 2001; WHO 2005) and the United Nations (UN 2006; UNAIDS 2002).

The Conservative majority Government of Canada, however, was committed to a prohibitionist position, as was laid out in its new legislation introduced in 2014.

Canada—the respondents/appellants are sex worker activists Terri-Jean Bedford, Amy Lebovitch, and Valerie Scott—which described the laws as 'ancient' and emphasised that the purpose of the laws was not to eradicate prostitution but to mitigate harms emanating from it: "We are satisfied that the challenged provisions are not aimed at eradicating prostitution, but only some of the consequences associated with it, such as disruption of neighbourhoods and the exploitation of vulnerable women by pimps." OCA at 1 addition of the communicating provision to the existing bawdy-house and living on the avails provisions created an almost perfect storm of danger for prostitutes.

Prostitutes were first driven to the streets, and then denied the one defence, communication, that allowed them to evaluate prospective clients in real time.

OCA at 364 'Prostitution' is not defined in Canadian statute law, but is based on case law which deems that three elements are necessary to establish that prostitution is taking place: (i) provision of sexual services, (ii) the indiscriminate nature of the act (soliciting rather than choosing clients), and (iii) the necessity for some form of payment.

The court also granted the motion to stay the Ontario Court of Appeal decision until judgement is passed, meaning that the Criminal Code sections at stake were still in force in Ontario.

This ambivalence can cause confusion We find ourselves in an anomalous, some would say bizarre, situation where almost everything related to prostitution has been regulated by the criminal law except the transaction itself.

The appellants' argument then, more precisely stated, is that in criminalizing so many activities surrounding the act itself, Parliament has made prostitution de facto illegal if not de jure illegal., per Dickson CJ at page 44 The legal situation has also been challenged in the rulings of two courts in Ontario in Bedford v.

In a decision dated 20 December 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the laws in question.

They delayed the enforcement of their decision for one year—also applicable to the Ontario sections—to give the government a chance to write new laws. That's why you must bring sex workers to the table in a meaningful way." The passage of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982 allowed for the provision of challenging the constitutionality of laws governing prostitution in Canada in addition to interpretative case law.

Many sex workers' rights organizations, however, argue that the new law entrenches and maintains harm against sex workers.

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