The Law

What is the law in Canada related to sex work?

Is it legal to buy or sell sex?

The sale of sexual services between consenting adults is legal in Canada. Paying for sex from anyone under the age of 18 is illegal. Three other activities related to the sale of sex are prohibited in the Criminal Code. They are:

1. being found in or operating a brothel (“Bawdy-house”)

2. talking in public about exchanging money for sex, i.e. on the street or in a bar

3. procuring or receiving profits in an exploitative way from someone else who is exchanging money for sex. This is sometimes called “pimping”.

For info on the specific wording of Criminal Code sections that relate to sex work, go to¬†“The Law of Sex Work” by the Ontario Women’s Justice Network, July 2008.

Is pornography or cyber sex illegal?

Some porn is illegal. It is illegal to view or own “kiddie porn” (written or visual material with children who appear to be under the age of 18 engaging in sexual activity, even if they’re in the background) or “snuff porn” (when somebody dies).

It’s against the law for children to see porn, so if you use it you must keep it away from your children.

Most employers also have policies against porn in the workplace. You may be fired if your employer finds porn on your work computer.

Cyber sex is using the internet for sexual purposes, for example, by exchanging sexual messages with another person. It is illegal to lie about your age and you must be sure that your cyber-partner is old enough by the laws of where s/he lives to have sex. Remember: the laws are different in each place. It is illegal to lure someone too young to have sex to have cyber sex with you.

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