With the Missing Women Inquiry creeping to a contentious close, a landmark Ontario Court of Appeal ruling in March, new guidelines for the Vancouver Police Department, and a study recently published by the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS with UBC, it seems momentum is building for major changes to B.C. prostitution laws.
NDP MLA Shane Simpson hopes the status quo will give way to a more nuanced conversation about the often contradictory prostitution laws in Canada. If the Supreme Court of Canada upholds the ruling in Ontario, which allows sex workers to legally take their trade indoors and live off the avails, Simpson says it will open the door for new policy in other provinces. “There’s going to have to be a wider discussion on how we deal with this issue and where so that our communities are still comfortable and have their say,” he says. Simpson is a supporter of the decriminalization of prostitution. “I’m looking forward to the decision,” he adds, hedging that “we [BC] probably won’t act on this issue until then.”