Ontario’s Court of Appeal has decided to allow brothels to legally operate in the Ontario on Monday.
The court upheld two out of three rulings made by Ontario Superior Court Justice Susan Himel. The laws struck down by Himel in 2010 were the prohibitions of “bawdy houses”, living on the avails of prostitution, and communication of sex trade. The former two were upheld on Monday while the latter was kept intact.
Prostitution in Canada was technically legal before Monday, although there were laws that made it seem impossible for practice. Supporters of the recent ruling lobbied for a safer work environment for prostitutes after the Robert Pickton killings in BC. Before the ruling, sex trade workers were not allowed to hire bodyguards to protect them from potentially harmful customers.
Three appeal judges out of five formed a majority decision on the ruling with partial dissenting opinions from the other two judges. The two judges wanted to strike down the ban on communicating as well as they felt that it also poses a threat to sex trade workers.
The ruling on Monday has a 12-month period in which it could be struck or amended by the Parliament. If the current amendments remain in place, some believe that other provinces or territories may soon follow.