Bill C-36

This page contains material relevant to the ongoing discussion of Bill C-36: Protection of Communities and Exploitation of Persons Act
The Bill was introduced by the federal government in early June 2014. The legislation criminalizes sex workers, their clients, third parties, and many of those who live and work with sex workers. My own research, as well as that conducted by my colleagues, sex worker organizations and their allies, indicates that the legislation, if passed, will reproduce many, if not all, of the harms that the Supreme Court of Canada found unconstitutional in Canada v. Bedford. It does nothing to protect sex workers from violence and exploitation.

The Justice Committee is Hearing from Witnesses July 7-10, 2014
The House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights is hearing briefs from various members of the Canadian public from July 7-10, 2014. Briefs from 60 individuals or groups will be heard during that time. You can consult the hearing schedule as well as watch the hearings on-line.

Justice Committee Hearing Schedule:
Consult this website to know when different witnesses are speaking on each day.

Watch the Justice Committee Hearings on-line:
Click on the meeting you want to watch and then click on the “play” button.

If you are unable to follow on video, members of the Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law Reform will be twittering live from the Justice Committee. You can find them at @cdnswalliance

Explaining the process of law reform
To better understand the process of law reform consult the following guides. Advocacy Guide PART II focuses on the stage we are currently in: the Justice Committee.  AdvocacyGuidePART-1-SexWorkOnTheHill-Guide-en_140421 provides information on what parliament looks like and how the public can intervene to have their perspectives on record.

Below you will find references and links to selected documents and research articles relevant to the discussion 

  • Lowman, John (2014) Tripping Point — Lowman Brief to the SCJHR on Bill C36. Presented to the Committee on July 7, 2014. 
  • Atchison, Chris (2014)Atchison-Brief to the Standing Committee. Presented to the Committee on July 9, 2014.  Atchison outlines his research with clients in relation to the provisions in Bill C-36.
  • Shaver, F.M. (2014) Shaver Brief re Bill C-36-English. A Brief Submitted to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights (July 8).  Shaver-Brief-re-Bill-C-36-French.
  • BILLC36-June2014-RecklessEndangerment (2014) Reckless Endangerment: Q&A on Bill C-36: Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act.
    This document answers key questions about changes to the law if Bill C-36 were passed and their impact on the sex industry. It also explains the numerous legal traps that may catch Canadians from all walks of life.
    News Release: The Whole (Legal) Truth: Bill C-36 will have far reaching implications for Canadian Communities. Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network. June 25, 2014.
  • Benoit et al. (June 2014) Bill C-36 and the views of people involved in the Canadian Sex Industry: Summary of the legislation and our study. Disponible en français à :
    This brief (prepared for the Justice and Human Rights Committee) highlights the preliminary findings from the largest and most comprehensive study of the sex industry undertaken in Canada.
    News Release: Sex industry legislation perpetuates stereotypes. University of Victoria Expert Advisory. June 24, 2014.
  • Power & PIVOT (2014) Sex Workers and Bill C-36: Analysis Based on Social Science Evidence. This document lists the evidence from Canada and elsewhere showing the negative consequences that Bill C-36 will have on the security, health, equality, and human rights of sex workers should it become law.
  • Krüsi et al. (2014) Criminalisation of clients: reproducing vulnerabilities for violence and poor health among street-based sex workers in Canada—a qualitative study. BMJ Open 4:e005191.
    Between January and November 2013, the Vancouver Police Department priorized sex workers’ safety over arrest but continued to focus enforcement on clients and third parties. It is an approach that criminalizes clients & thid parties similar to the approach referred to as the ‘Nordic’ Model and to the approach set out in Bill C-36. This article analyses the ethnographic Interviews conducted with street-based sex workers during this period. The results indicate that this shift away from targeting sex workers did not increase their safety. The authors argue that the criminalization of clients reproduces the same harms to sex workers’ health and safety as were produced in the  criminalization model struck down by the Supreme Court of Canada.
    News Release: New research shows criminalization of clients endangers Vancouver sex workers and violates their human rights. BC-CfE, GSHI, SWUAV, Pivot. June 3, 2014. This includes a one-page summary of the findings in Krüsi et al. (2014).
Information Briefs from the Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law Reform (EN)

Canada v. Bedford: The Importance of the SCC Decision

After Bedford: Developing a health and safety framework for sex workers and Canadian communities.

Pimps, Managers and Other Third Parties: Making distinctions between third parties and exploitation.

Why Decriminalization is Consistent with Public Health Goals.

What Canada Can Learn from Sweden’s Laws that Criminalize the Purchase of Sexual Services.

New Zealand’s Prostitution Reform Act: An effective model of sex work law reform.

10 Ways to Explain Prostitution Law Reform to your Constituents.

Information Briefs from the Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law Reform (FR)
Canada c. Bedford: l’importance de la décision de la Cour Suprême.

Après Befrord : Développer un cadre de santé et de sécurité pour las travailleuses du sexe et la communauté canadienne.

Proxénètes, gestionnaires et autres tierces personnes : Faire la distinction entre les tierces personnes et l’exploitation.

La décriminalisation et l’attente des objectifs de santé publique.

Ce que le Canada peut apprendre des lois suédoises criminalisant l’achat de services sexuels.

Réforme des lois sue le travail du sexe en Nouvelle-Zélande : un modèle efficace de réforme législative en matière de travail du sexe.

10 façons d’expliquer à ses électeurs la réforme de loi sur la prostitution.


Below you will find links to selected media commentaries and op-eds relevant to the discussion (note: these are pdf files and most of the links within them are no longer live)

More to come in the next few days…..


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