Is Prostitution Legal in Canada?
The commodification of sexual activity, otherwise known as prostitution, is dealt with under s. 286.1-5 of the Criminal Code. Under the law, the selling of sexual services by the individual providing them is not illegal. Instead, it is illegal for anyone to buy or communicate with someone for the purpose of buying sexual services. The penalties that this offence carries depend on the facts of each case. For more serious examples, an offender will be convicted of an indictable offence which carries a maximum punishment of five years imprisonment and a minimum sentence of a fine. The amount of the fine depends on where the offender tries to buy the sexual services. If the transaction occurs in or next to a public place like a park, school, church, or another place where children under 18 might reasonably be found, the fine will total $2,000 for a first offence and will be doubled in the event of an additional offence. If the offence does not occur in one of those locations, the fine will be reduced to $1,000 and $2,000 respectively.
For less serious, or summary offences, offenders face a maximum sentence of two years less a day in prison and/or a $5,000 fine. The minimum punishment is a $1,000 fine for a first offence, doubled for an additional offence if it occurs in one of the locations mentioned above. Or a $500 fine doubled for additional offences if it does not occur in those locations. Section 286.1(2) also increases the penalties faced by offenders if they attempt to buy the sexual services of someone who is under the age of 18.