Text of the Bedford v. AG Canada Prostitution Case

As followers of Canadian legal news will know, a judge of the Ontario Superior Court today ruled that Canada’s prostitution laws violate the Charter. To quote from the National Post story:

The judge struck down three sections of the Criminal Code that make it illegal to operate a “common bawdy house,” to profit from prostitution-related activities or “communicates” on the street for the purpose of prostitution. The provisions “force prostitutes to choose between their liberty interest and their right to security of the person,” said the judge, in finding that the laws breached the Charter of Rights.

A PDF of Justice Himel’s judgment in Bedford v. AG Canada is available online thanks to the University of Toronto’s Sexual Diversity Blog. The 131 page PDF is an image file, but thoroughly legible even so.

Again, as a side note, I remark that the failure of the Ontario courts to put a digital copy of judgements online immediately leaves citizens at the mercy of news reports, unable to read the judgment for themselves. There is no technical excuse for the delay in online publication.


  1. Thanks for the link… I was waiting for this decision.

  2. And apparently many, many members of the public were looking for this decision.
    I’ve noticed a significant spike over the past few days in Google word searches for a combination of queries related to Himel J.
    I think I’ll post it online as well to help them find it in a timely manner.

  3. Do you know if the french translation is available?

  4. Louise, CanLII has no French translation, which leads me to believe that none is available. I believe there’s no obligation—nor any funds–to translate trial level judgments in Ontario into the other official language.

  5. Nor appeal decisions. Decisions of Ontario courts delivered in French are generally translated into English, at least in the Ontario Reports (so maybe the publishers do that, not the courts). Nor are decisions of Quebec courts given in French available in English. Way too expensive for the benefit.