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Our response to the passing of Bill C-36

November 7 2014

Vancouver City Hall

The City is concerned with the passing of Bill C-36, Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act, as research confirms that criminalization of sex work puts those involved in sex work at further risk of increased violence.

The passing of Bill C-36:

  • Undermines the health and safety of sex workers
  • Increases social exclusion and pushes sex workers to work in more isolated areas

What this decision means for the City going forward

Going forward, the collective focus needs to continue to be on the health and safety of sex workers and the communities that they live and work. The City remains committed to this, and in October 2014, Mayor and Council adopted Vancouver’s Healthy City Strategy, which identifies 13 goals, including:

  • Safety and inclusion
  • To promote health and well-being for all
  • A target to make Vancouver the safest major city in Canada by reducing crimes, including sexual assault, year-over-year

The City will continue to work in partnership with community groups and the provincial government to minimize safety risks and harms for sex workers. This includes:

  • Addressing all forms of exploitation and abuse
  • Providing opportunities for education and awareness
  • Enabling access to health and social service gaps
  • Creating transitioning opportunities for those seeking to exit 

City urged the federal government to refer the proposed legislation to the Supreme Court

In submissions to the Federal Government, the City urged that the proposed legislation be referred to the Supreme Court to ensure its compliance with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the spirit of the Bedford Decision: prioritizing the health, safety and dignity of those it’s declared to protect. The City also asked that there be consultation, which previously did not take place, with municipalities across the country on potential impacts.

In 2013 the City provided over $400,000 in grants to 11 community organizations to:

  • Promote sex worker health and safety
  • Address child and youth sexual exploitation

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Learn about our proactive approach to improving the health and safety of sex workers

Health and safety for sex workers

Vancouver is the first city in North America with an action plan to improve the health and safety of sex workers and the communities where they live and work.