Sex-trade workers take case to Canada’s top court

Sex-trade workers take case to Canada’s top court

Lawyers for the federal government and a group of Vancouver sex workers are in Canada’s top court Thursday to argue the validity of an attempted constitutional challenge to the country’s prostitution laws.


Since 2007, the Downtown Eastside Sex Workers United Against Violence Society have been arguing that Canada’s prostitution laws violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.


But it is not those laws that will be heard Thursday. Instead, lawyers are arguing whether the sex workers’ challenging those laws in the British Columbia Supreme Court have the legal right to do so.


The federal government initially challenged the case and tried to get it thrown out of court. The government argues the sex-trade workers can’t launch a Charter challenge because it doesn’t qualify for public interest standing.


To qualify for public interest before the court, lawyers must demonstrate:


The issue is serious

There is no other reasonable way for the issue to come before the court

Those launching the case must be directly affected by it


A decision by the Supreme Court of Canada on the issue is not expected for several months.


Supports for the sex workers’ cause are expected to protest in front of the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa Thursday afternoon.