SafeLink Alberta Expresses Concern Over Ontario Superior Court’s Ruling on CASWLR v Attorney General (Canada) 

Alisha OstbergNews, position statements, sex work, stigma

As an active member of the Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law Reform (CASWLR), SafeLink Alberta is disheartened by the outcome of the recent Ontario Superior Court decision in the case of Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law Reform (CASWLR) v Attorney General (Canada), which transpired on September 18, 2023. 

The case centred on the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act, legislation fraught with adverse implications for the Charter rights of sex workers. Regrettably, the court’s verdict upheld all provisions of this Act, perpetuating its detrimental impact on sex workers and disregarding their genuine concerns and lived experiences. 

SafeLink Alberta’s SHIFT program is designed to support individuals who are involved in sex work in Alberta, Canada. Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act continues to have a negative impact on our clients and all Albertan sex workers.

Sex workers are our community here in Calgary. Sex workers are facing the rise of transphobic violence, the effects of the housing crisis, the hostility towards harm reduction, all in addition to the macrolevels of anti-sex worker sentiment. Our community is hurting.”

Hanako, the Shift Program Case Manager at SafeLink Alberta.  

Criminalization of sex work in Canada exposes sex workers to: 

  • Heightened levels of violence. 
  • Isolation and targeted aggression.  
  • Increased stigma and discrimination. 
  • An impeded ability to establish informed consent with their clients. 

SafeLink Alberta supports the decriminalization of sex work and opposes the continued implementation of Bill C-36, Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act.

We recognize that the Ontario Superior Court’s ruling does not mark the end of this struggle. We stand firmly alongside our partners in the Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law Reform as they pursue legal action.

Katie Ayres, the Executive Director of SafeLink Alberta. 

About SafeLink Alberta: SafeLink Alberta is a non-profit organization that has been serving and advocating for priority populations in Calgary and southern Alberta since 1983. Our mission is to reduce the risks associated with sexual activity and substance use through education, non-judgmental services, and harm reduction programming.