Protecting communities and exploited persons

Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.


Last week, our government tabled legislation that will address the significant harms that flow from prostitution and ensure that Canadian communities are protected.

Bill C-36 was prompted in response to a ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada in the case of Canada v. Bedford, which required that new legislation around prostitution needed to be brought forward by December 19, 2014.

From the time of that decision, our government committed to consult broadly and seek input from Canadians in an effort to ensure that new legislation protects those most vulnerable and at risk of the exploitation inherent in prostitution as soon as possible, while ensuring Canadian streets and communities remain safe.

The Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act is a “made in Canada” model, which directly targets the demand for this dangerous activity and takes tough action to crack down on pimps and johns. It makes prostitution illegal for the first time, meaning the impact will be borne by those who purchase sex and persons who exploit others.

In short, prostitution hurts our communities and the most vulnerable among us. The proposed legislation would protect our communities – in particular women, children, and those who are at risk of being drawn into prostitution – from the dangers associated with prostitution, including violence, drug-related crime, and organized crime.

This Canadian model involves a significant overhaul of the Criminal Code’s treatment of prostitution and related activities. It would:

– Criminalize those who fuel the demand for prostitution (purchasers of sexual services);

– Continue to criminalize those who financially benefit from the exploitation of prostitutes, such as pimps and those who procure others for the purpose of prostitution;

– Prohibit advertising for the sale of others’ sexual services in print or online;

Immunize prostitutes from criminal liability for any part they play in the purchasing, material benefit, procuring or advertising offences;

– Protect our communities by criminalizing communicating for the purpose of selling sexual services in public places where a child could reasonably be present;

Increase existing penalties relating to child prostitution.

These measures will be supported by $20 million in new funding, including to support grassroots organizations dealing with the most vulnerable prostitutes. Recognizing that the overwhelming majority of prostitutes are looking to leave this dangerous and harmful line of work, there will be an emphasis on funding programs with a proven record of helping prostitutes exit the sex trade.

Through this Bill, our government is once again ensuring that victims of crime are protected and our streets and communities remain safe.


Peter MacKay is MP for Central Nova and federal Justice Minister.

Organizations: Supreme Court of Canada

Geographic location: Canada

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page



Recent comments

  • Jim Grant
    June 13, 2014 - 23:33

    This article spouts the opinion the government is trying to sell. Another opinion is that the bill does not address the concerns of the Bedford decision; that it continues to victimize women; that it encourages a rape culture; and, that it both un-enforceable and forces the police and courts to act with bias and discrimination. Also the rhetoric of the introduction of the act and its preamble uses a technique to shame and therefore both attempt to silence and should they not be silent, to discredit any thing prostitutes and their clients might say. The rhetoric and the preamble contradict the governments on report from the Parliamentary Committee on Justice and Human Rights on prostitution from December 2006. Finally we are supposed to see prostitution as different from other commercial activity and so vile as to be outlawed and the purchasers all vilified as perverts, yet I look at the top of this web page and see a scantily clad woman and a headline "The hottest daughters of Athletes" - we commoditize sex all over the place - treating sexual activity that is legal in all other circumstances as always harmful and abusive when it is done for monetary reward is totally hypocritical. Shame on the government for drafting this terrible piece of legislation.