(Ontario Superior Court of Justice)
Status: ARPA was granted intervener status and the hearing is scheduled for October 2022
Background: In 2014 Parliament passed criminal laws regarding prostitution that focused on penalizing those seeking to purchase or facilitating prostitution. An activist group is seeking to challenge the constitutionality of these law in order to make them more permissive of prostitution.
Our Argument: ARPA Canada wants to argue that the impugned legislation has an ameliorative purpose. That is, given the gendered nature of prostitution, women and girls are disproportionately impacted by the law. The plaintiffs are arguing this infringes the Charter’s section 15 equality guarantee but built into that section is an exception for law that are seeking to amend a disparity. Given that the women and girls involved in prostitution are having their bodies objectified and commodified and are more at risk for human trafficking, this law is better understood under that exception. ARPA also wants to put forward arguments relating to the freedom of expression and freedom of association elements of this case.
You can read more about ARPA’s approach to prostitution laws here.