Required Reading about Proposed Laws for Non-Sex Workers

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The last couple days have been very hard for sex workers and harm-reduction organizations who advocate for sex worker rights around the country. On Thursday, Justice Minister Peter MacKay tabled new sex work legislation; while it comes as no surprise that the proposed laws criminalize the purchase of sexual service, many were surprised at how much further the government has gone. Besides being an emotional whirlwind, organizations have been trying to sort out the eventual implications of the proposed laws for their organizations and their clients. 

In the midst of all of this, it’s important that non-sex workers inform themselves, and take on the work that will make this time easier for sex workers (offer to put up posters, do the dishes, buy some coffee, call your MPs, etc.).

While I plan on writing more about how non-sex workers can act in solidarity with sex workers, especially in Halifax, lots of folks have been asking questions about the proposed laws and wanting to learn more. So, I wanted to produce a round-up of articles and perspectives as soon as possible.

This list is geared towards non-sex workers who are interested in learning the basics about the new laws so that they can provide accurate information to others, and advocate against Bill C-36.  I imagine I’ve missed a couple good pieces, so if you think anything is missing, let me know!

Katrina Pacey of Pivot Legal Society talks to CBC after the proposed laws were tabled.

The New Sex Work Legislation Explained. Pivot Legal Society breaks down the key provisions within the proposed laws and discusses the key considerations and constitutional implications.

My Work Should Not Cost me my Life. This report by Pivot Legal and the Gender and Sexual Health Initiative (GSHI) looks at the experience of Vancouver sex workers and the impact that criminalization of clients has on sex workers. 

New Prostitution Laws, Same Old Harm to Sex Workers. Kyle Kirkup covers the new laws for the Globe and Mail.

“When it comes to criminal justice policy, perhaps this government’s slogan should be: “Got a complex social issue? There’s a prison for that.” Kyle Kirkup

In Their Own Words: Sex Workers on Canada’s New Prostitution Bill.  Justin Ling speaks to five sex workers about the proposed laws.

Not Quite the Nordic Model: The federal government has tabled its new prostitution bill. But does it put the lives of sex workers at risk? Justin Ling talks to Canadian lawyers about the proposed laws and the potential for a future legal challenge.

John Ivison: Peter MacKay’s Prostitution Law a Failure on all Counts. Ivison discusses the numerous failings of the Conservative Party’s proposed bill. 

“Peter MacKay’s role as Attorney General of Canada requires him to be the guardian of the rule of law. He is mandated to protect the personal liberties of Canadians and advise Cabinet to ensure its actions are legal and constitutional. By introducing a new law on prostitution that is all but certain to be struck down by the courts, he has failed on all counts.”John Ivison

Terri-Jean Bedford responds to new proposed prostitution laws. Terri-Jean Bedford slams the proposed laws.

“Mr. MacKay called the sex trade degrading. Who the hell is he to tell women they have to only have sex for free? Who the hell is he to tell consenting adults what they can and cannot do in private?”Terri-Jean Bedford

Sex Work and Self-Determination: in Solidarity with the Bedford Case. Sarah Hunt discusses why she supports decriminalization as an Indigenous non-sex worker.

“Canadian law is carried out by police, lawyers and judges who use their discretion the application of law. The legal system is created within, and used to sustain, a racist colonial society.”Sarah Hunt

An Open Letter to Peter MacKay and my MP About Bill C36, “The Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act. Simple and straightforward letter to Peter MacKay that the author has encouraged others to use and adapt.

Info sheets from the Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Reform.  The Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Reform, composed of sex worker run organizations from across the country, have produced a number of info sheets on a variety of topics including third parties, the New Zealand Model, criminalizing clients, the Bedford care, and 10 ways to be an ally to sex workers.

John Ivison: Harper pitched new prostitution bill to caucus as a compromise despite staunch social conservative opposition. Interesting article that discusses the dynamics of the Conservative party and how, for many of them, Bill C-36 doesn’t go far enough.

Sex Work on the Hill: A Guide to Getting Involved in Legislative Processes that Impact on Our Lives.  A guide to political organizing produced by the Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law Reform for sex workers and allies.

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