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A chronology of Canadian prostitution laws

Valerie Scott holds up a copy of the ruling issued by the Supreme Court of Canada striking down the country's prostitution laws at the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa Friday December 20, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
December 20, 2013 - 11:45 AM

OTTAWA - A chronology of some key events in the evolution of the country's prostitution laws:

1867: Canada essentially inherits anti-prostitution laws from Britain at Confederation.

1982: Charter of Rights and Freedoms signed into law.

1985: Parliament passes a law barring communicating in public for the purposes of prostitution in an effort to combat streetwalking.

1990: The Supreme Court hands down a reference upholding the street soliciting law, saying eliminating prostitution is a valid social goal.

2002: Police arrest Robert Pickton in a case which would eventually involve the murders of 26 women, most of them prostitutes from Vancouver's gritty downtown east side.

2007: Pickton convicted of six murders and sentenced to life. The trial focuses attention on the plight of street prostitutes.

2009: An Ontario Superior Court hearing opens in a suit brought by three former and active sex-trade workers seeking to overturn the prostitution laws.

2010: Judge Susan Himel strikes down the three key provisions of the laws, saying they were unconstitutional.

2011: Ontario Court of Appeal holds three-day hearing on government appeal of Himel decision.

2012: The Appeal Court upholds Himel on the bawdy house law, modified the living on the avails law to specifically preclude exploitation and reversed her on soliciting.

2013: The Supreme Court throws out all three provisions as violating constitutional guarantees to life, liberty and security of the person. The justices give Parliament a year to craft a replacement law that complies with the Charter.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2013
The Canadian Press

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