What the end of prostitution laws means for New Brunswick

The Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling on prostitution will have a positive impact in New Brunswick, experts say.

Existing rules made sex work 'more dangerous'

The Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling on prostitution will have a positive impact in New Brunswick, experts say.

Canada’s top judges struck down the laws 9-0 and gave Parliament a year to create new laws, if it chooses to. Selling sex has always been legal in Canada, but it has been illegal to:

  • Keep or be in a brothel
  • Live off the avails of prostitution
  • Communicate in public with clients for the purposes of prostitution

The University of New Brunswick’s Professor Leslie Jeffrey has written two books on the sex trade.

She said the ruling will make life safer for women who work as prostitutes.

"The laws as they currently stand, particularly the communicating law introduced in the mid-1980s, have made the sex trade far more dangerous and violent than it ever has been before. We've seen the murder rate skyrocket. We've seen the attack rates on sex workers skyrocket,” she said.

An 'enlightened city'

Julie Dingwell, the executive director of AIDS Saint John, said there is an active sex trade in Saint John. A study conducted four years ago found between 40 and 60 women working at the street level. 

Many more work more discreetly, she said. 

"I think that we've already been a pretty enlightened city," she said. 

"Not everybody, but most. I think this will allow the police to do what they've likely wanted to do, and that's if a sex worker is not bothering anybody, they'll leave her alone.” 

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