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Ontario Superior Court ruling on Canada’s existing prostitution laws

Ontario Superior Court ruling on Canada’s existing prostitution laws

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Published by Cecilia C Chung
In her decision, Justice Susan Himel effectively struck down the Criminal Code provisions dealing with living off the avails of prostitution, keeping a common bawdy house, and communicating for the purposes of prostitution.
In her decision, Justice Susan Himel effectively struck down the Criminal Code provisions dealing with living off the avails of prostitution, keeping a common bawdy house, and communicating for the purposes of prostitution.

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Published by: Cecilia C Chung on Oct 19, 2010
Copyright:Public Domain

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CITATION:
Bedford v. Canada, 2010 ONSC 4264
 COURT FILE NO.:
07-CV-329807 PD1
DATE:
2010/09/28
ONTARIOSUPERIOR COURT OF JUSTICEB E T W E E N:
))TERRI JEAN BEDFORD, AMYLEBOVITCH AND VALERIE SCOTTApplicants
- and -
ATTORNEY GENERAL OF CANADARespondent
 - and -
ATTORNEY GENERAL OF ONTARIOIntervener
- and -
THE CHRISTIAN LEGAL FELLOWSHIP,REAL WOMEN OF CANADA AND THECATHOLIC CIVIL RIGHTS LEAGUEIntervener)))))))))))))))))))))Alan N. Young, for the Applicant Terri JeanBedfordRon Marzel, for the Applicant AmyLebovitchStacey Nichols, for the Applicant ValerieScottMichael H. Morris and Gail Sinclair, for theRespondentShelley Hallet and Christine Bartlett-Hughes, for the Intervener Attorney Generalof OntarioRobert W. Staley, Derek J. Bell, and RanjanK. Agarwal, for the Intervener the ChristianLegal Fellowship, REAL Women of Canadaand the Catholic Civil Rights League))
HEARD:
October 6, 7, 8, 9, 19, 20 and 26,2009
REASONS FOR JUDGMENTHIMEL J.:
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2
TABLE OF CONTENTSI.
 
INTRODUCTION.............................................................................................................6
 
II.
 
THE IMPUGNED PROVISIONS...................................................................................6
 
III.
 
THE POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES...........................................................................8
 
1.
 
The Applicants.............................................................................................................8
 
2.
 
The Attorney General of Canada (the “Respondent”).................................................9
 
3.
 
The Attorney General of Ontario (“AG Ontario”).......................................................9
 
4.
 
The Christian Legal Fellowship, REAL Women of Canada, and the Catholic CivilRights League (“CLF”)..............................................................................................10
 
IV.
 
THE ROLE OF THE COURT......................................................................................10
 
V.
 
THE APPLICANTS........................................................................................................11
 
1.
 
Terri Jean Bedford.....................................................................................................11
 
2.
 
Amy Lebovitch..........................................................................................................13
 
3.
 
Valerie Scott...............................................................................................................14
 
VI.
 
STANDING......................................................................................................................15
 
1.
 
Private Interest Standing............................................................................................16
 
2.
 
Public Interest Standing.............................................................................................18
 
3.
 
Should Ms. Bedford and Ms. Scott be Granted Public Interest Standing?................18
 
VII.
 
STARE DECISIS
.............................................................................................................19
 
VIII.
 
THE EVIDENCE............................................................................................................24
 
1.
 
Evidence from Prostitutes and Former Prostitutes.....................................................24
 
2.
 
Evidence from Police Officers and an Assistant Crown Attorney.............................25
 
3.
 
Evidence from Other Lay Witnesses.........................................................................26
 
4.
 
Expert Evidence.........................................................................................................26
 
(A)
 
Prostitution Research and its Limitations.........................................................26
 
a.
 
The Role of the Expert..............................................................................27
 
b.
 
Admissibility of Expert Evidence.............................................................28
 
c.
 
Independence of Expert Witnesses............................................................30
 
(B)
 
Areas of Agreement and Disagreement amongst the Experts..........................30
 
(C)
 
Summary of the Applicants’ Expert Evidence.................................................31
 
a.
 
The Nature of Prostitution in Canada........................................................31
 
b.
 
Violence in Prostitution.............................................................................31
 
c.
 
Effect of the Impugned Provisions............................................................32
 
(D)
 
Summary of Respondent’s Expert Evidence....................................................33
 
5.
 
Evidence Contained in Government Debates and Reports........................................34
 
(A)
 
Early Developments.........................................................................................34
 
(B)
 
The
Fraser Report 
- 1985.................................................................................35
 
(C)
 
The Three-Year Review:
Synthesis Report 
- 1989...........................................37
 
(D)
 
The Calgary/Winnipeg Study on the Victimization of Prostitutes - 1994........38
 
(E)
 
The Federal, Provincial and Territorial Deputy Justice Ministers’ WorkingGroup on Prostitution - 1998............................................................................39
 
(F)
 
House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human RightsSubcommittee on Solicitation Laws - 2006......................................................40
 
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36.
 
International Evidence...............................................................................................44
 
(A)
 
Respondent’s Witnesses: International Experts...............................................45
 
(B)
 
Applicants’ Reply Witnesses: International Experts........................................46
 
(C)
 
The Netherlands................................................................................................47
 
(D)
 
New Zealand.....................................................................................................48
 
(E)
 
Germany...........................................................................................................49
 
(F)
 
Australia...........................................................................................................50
 
(G)
 
Sweden.............................................................................................................51
 
(H)
 
Nevada, United States of America...................................................................52
 
IX.
 
THE
CHARTER
ANALYSIS.........................................................................................53
 
1.
 
General Approach to
Charter 
Analysis.....................................................................53
 
2.
 
Legislative Objectives................................................................................................54
 
(A)
 
Is Morality a Constitutionally Valid Legislative Objective?............................54
 
(B)
 
Canada’s Prostitution Laws: History, Interpretation, Objectives.....................56
 
a.
 
History of s. 210 - Bawdy-House Provisions............................................58
 
b.
 
Objective of s. 210 - Bawdy-House Provisions........................................59
 
c.
 
Interpretation of s. 210 - Bawdy-House Provisions..................................61
 
1)
 
s. 210(1)...........................................................................................62
 
2)
 
s. 210(2)(
a
) and s. 210(2)(
b
)............................................................62
 
3)
 
s. 210(2)(
c
).......................................................................................63
 
d.
 
History of s. 212(1)(
 j
) - Living on the Avails of Prostitution...................63
 
e.
 
Objective of s. 212(1)(
 j
) - Living on the Avails of Prostitution................66
 
f.
 
Interpretation of s. 212(1)(
 j
) - Living on the Avails of Prostitution..........67
 
g.
 
History of s. 213(1)(
c
) - Communicating for the Purpose of Prostitution.70
 
h.
 
Objective of s. 213(1)(
c
) - Communicating for the Purpose of Prostitution...................................................................................................................71
 
i.
 
Interpretation of s. 213(1)(
c
) - Communicating for the Purpose of Prostitution................................................................................................72
 
X.
 
SECTION 7 OF THE
CHARTER
..................................................................................73
 
1.
 
Do the Laws Deprive the Applicants of Liberty?......................................................73
 
2.
 
Do the Laws Deprive the Applicants of Security of the Person?...............................74
 
(A)
 
What Level of Causality is Required to Find a Threshold Violation of Securityof the Person?...................................................................................................75
 
(B)
 
What is the Harm Faced by Prostitutes in Canada?.........................................77
 
a. Can the Harm Faced by Prostitutes in Canada be Reduced?.....................79
 
b.
 
Government Reports..................................................................................79
 
c.
 
Expert Evidence.........................................................................................80
 
1)
 
The Applicants’ Experts...................................................................80
 
2)
 
The Respondent’s Experts...............................................................83
 
3)
 
Other Evidence.................................................................................84
 
(C)
 
Do the Impugned Provisions Sufficiently Contribute to the Harm Faced byProstitutes?.......................................................................................................86
 
a.
 
Government Evidence...............................................................................86
 
b.
 
Expert Evidence.........................................................................................88
 
1)
 
The Applicants’ Experts...................................................................88
 
2)
 
The Respondent’s Experts...............................................................91
 
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