A coalition of sex workers’ rights groups from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside have been granted leave to intervene in the appeal of Bedford, Leibovitch and Scott v. AG Canada. Katrina Pacey and Joseph Arvay QC are co-counsel for the members of the Coalition – the PACE Society, the Downtown Eastside Sex Workers United Against Violence Society and Pivot Legal Society. The Coalition is extremely hopeful that the lower Court decision will be upheld and that adult sex work will be decriminalized in Canada.
The Government of Canada is appealing the September 28th decision of Madam Justice Himel of the Ontario Superior Court, who ruled that the communication law, bawdy house law and living on the avails law violate sex workers Charter right to security of the person, liberty and freedom of expression. Justice Himel found that these laws force sex workers to work in extremely dangerous circumstances in order to avoid arrest. On this basis, she held that the laws are unconstitutional and must be struck down.
The evidence and arguments from the trial level can be found on Professor John Lowman’s website. The Ontario Court of Appeal will hear the appeal during the week of June 13 – 17, 2011. For updates and further information, check out the Pivot Legal Society website.