Bill C-36 Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act

Canada’s version of the “Nordic Model”.  

“Bill C- 36 (Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act) is a critical first step in changing the paradigm of how prostitution is addressed in Canada, in law, in policy, and ultimately, in public attitude. The Preamble to the legislation conveys clearly that prostitution is harmful to individuals and communities, that it needs to be discouraged and that human dignity must be protected.  It identifies that the purchase of sex creates a demand for prostitution and is therefore prohibited. The proposed law has the following objectives:

1)  Reducing the demand for sexual services

2) Protecting those who sell their sexual services from exploitation

3) Protecting communities from the harms caused by prostitution.

Bill C-36 recognizes the multiple challenges that prostituted people experience and their vulnerability to exploitation.  The intent of the legislation is to protect them from exploitation and not to hold them criminally responsible…. The law sets society on a course to shape behaviour and norms.  Bill C-36, with its focus on the criminalization of the purchase of sex, will now help shape the way boys and men treat girls and women.  It sends a strong message that it is never OK to purchase another human being for sexual services.   We believe this will lead to a Canada where all women will be treated with dignity and equality’.

View the Technical Paper on  Bill C-36, Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act.

Bill C-36 was implemented in Canada on December 6, 2014. Previous to this Bill prostitution was a criminalized act in Canada. Bill C-36 decriminalized prostitution, and treats prostitution as a form of sexual exploitation instead of a criminal offence in need of punishment (justice.gc.ca). The main objectives of Bill C-36 are as follows:

This legislation seeks to protect Canadians through prohibiting sexual services, the exploitation and prostitution of others, economic interest in the exploitation of others and the institutionalization of prostitution through commercial enterprises (strip clubs, escort agencies, massage parlours, etc). It is the desire of this Bill to create space for women to report violence to the police and to exit the sex trade without fear of retribution.

  • Bill C-49 An Act to amend the Criminal Code (trafficking in persons)

This Bill came into effect on November 25, 2005 and created three trafficking- specific Criminal code offences: trafficking in persons, material benefit, and withholding or destroying documents.

Prostitution Offences (laws) under Bill C-36:

Purchasing Offence:

This offence criminalizes purchasing sexual services, or communicating in any place for that purpose.

  • Obtaining sexual services, or communicating in any place for that purpose

  • Those who sell their own sexual services are protected from criminal liability if the offence related to their own sexual services

Penalty:

Adult Victim:

  • Maximum 5 years imprisonment with a minimum of 18 months
  • Mandatory minimum fines starting at $500 on first offence, and higher fines if subsequent offence or committed in a public place, next to parks, schools, religious institutions, etc.
  • Child Victim:
  • Maximum 10 year imprisonment minimum of 6 months imprisonment on first offence and one year for subsequent offences.

Advertising Offence

This offence criminalizes advertising the sale of sexual services. This applies to individuals that advertise the sale of another individual's sexual services, including print media, websites, massage parlours or strip clubs. This also applies to publishers and website administrators.

  1. Knowingly advertising an offer to provide sexual services

  2. Those who sell sexual services are protected from criminal liability if they sell their own sexual services

Penalty:

Maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment with a minimum of 18 months

 

Communicating Offence

Communicating for the purpose of offering or providing sexual services in public places next to school grounds, playground or daycare centres.

Penalty:

Maximum of 6 months imprisonment.

 

Trafficking in Persons Offence

Main Trafficking Offences:

  1. Recruiting, transporting, transferring, receiving, holding, concealing or harbouring a person, or exercising control direction or influence over movement of a person for the purpose of exploitation

Penalty:

Adult Victim:

Maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a minimum of 5 years if death results, kidnapping, or aggravated sexual assault.

Other cases maximum of 14 years and minimum of 4 years

Child Victim:

Maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a minimum of 6 years if death results, kidnapping, or aggravated sexual assault.

Others cases maximum of 14 years and minimum of 5 years.

Material Benefit Offence

  1. Receiving financial or material benefit obtained by the commission of purchasing offence.

  2. Those who sell their own services are protected from offence if the benefit they receive is from the sale of their own sexual services.

Adult Victim:

Maximum of 10 years imprisonment

Child Victim:

Maximum of 14 years imprisonment and minimum of 2 years


There are various exceptions to this law, that takes into account the living arrangements, the moral obligations and goods and services. Criminalizes receiving money or material benefit from the prostitution of others in exploitative circumstances. Illegal to earn money by owning, managing or working for a strip club, massage parlour, or escort agency, knowing that sexual services are purchased there.

 

Documents Offence

Concealing, removing, withholding or destroying travel or identity documents for purpose of facilitating human trafficking offence.

Penalty:

Adult: maximum of 5 years imprisonment

Child: maximum of 10 years imprisonment and minimum of 1 year



 

Procuring Offence

  1. Procuring a person to offer or provide sexual services

  2. recruiting , holding, concealing or harbouring a person who provides sexual services for the purpose of the purchasing offence

  3. Those who sell their own sexual services are protected from the criminal liability if the offence relates to their own sexual services.

Penalty:

Adult Victim:

Maximum of 14 year imprisonment

Child Victim:

Maximum of 15 years imprisonment with a minimum of 5 years imprisonment.

This offence criminalizes active involvement in the prostitution of others. To further explain, a “classic pimp” is likely to be guilty of both the procuring offence and the material benefit offence, because the pimp both induces another person to sell sex sexual services and receives money from the sale of those services. In contrast, a “bouncer”, who works at a strip club, knows the prostitution takes place and may only receive money from the sale of sexual service. In this case the bouncer would only be guilty of the material benefit offence, while the classic pimp would be guilty of both procuring and material benefit.