Beyond the criminal law: what local and provincial authorities can do to regulate sexually-oriented business

Valverde, Mariana
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Faculty of Arts

The proposed new federal prostitution law has attracted a great deal of attention, but few Canadians know much about the alternatives: for example, few know that Australia and New Zealand, though they have very similar criminal codes, have almost completely decriminalized prostitution. Also, it is not widely known that some Canadian cities have long regulated (through licensing) some sex work, in the form of escort services.

This talk reviews existing laws and policies, focusing mainly on the common-law jurisdictions of Australia and New Zealand, and also goes over existing Canadian municipal business licensing schemes. It will be shown that some regulatory schemes have proven to be as problematic, for the workers and for authorities, as criminalization. But Canada — and especially its provinces, territories, and municipalities — is in an excellent position to benefit from what has been learned from the over ten years of regulatory experiences in other countries.