An early post in this category pointed out the irony in that although prostitution in itself has never been illegal in Canada the common ways of practicing the occupation have been criminalized . Now a first major step in rationalizing policy and the law in this area has taken place with an Ontario Superior Court judge striking down the main offences attaching to the practice of prostitution:

“In a 131-page ruling, Justice Susan Himel wrote that the laws in the Criminal Code prohibiting sex-trade workers from running a bawdy house, communicating for the purpose of prostitution and living off the avails of prostitution put their lives at risk.

‘These laws, individually and together, force prostitutes to choose between their liberty interest and their right to security of the person as protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,’ she said in a decision that has been on reserve for more than a year.

Prostitution is not illegal in Canada. Many aspects of prostitution have been criminalized by Parliament, however. The provisions struck down by the judge relate to adult prostitution and do not affect prohibitions involving people under age 18 or measures to prosecute pimps.

‘I find the danger faced by prostitutes greatly outweighs any harm that may be faced by the public,’ Himel wrote.”

Before the legions of ribald readers of this blog start salivating at the prospect of attending luxury brothels without fear of arrest it must be noted  the judgment is suspended for 30 days pending government reaction to it which could come in the form of legislation, an appeal and/or a further stay.