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Alberta to continue to prosecute certain prostitution-related charges

Statement from Jonathan Denis, the Attorney General of Alberta, on prosecuting those who exploit and use prostitutes:

“Our government is committed to building strong, safe communities where vulnerable Albertans are protected from the harms of prostitution and exploitation.

“The administration of justice is a matter of provincial jurisdiction, and Albertans expect current criminal laws to be properly enforced. Today the Deputy Attorney General issued a directive for Crown Prosecutors in the wake of the recent Supreme Court of Canada decision. 

“Those who exploit vulnerable Albertans will be held accountable by the criminal justice system. At the same time, Crown Prosecutors will be able to ensure individual prosecutions proceed in the public interest. 

“The Province of Alberta will work closely with the federal government to ensure that any response to the Supreme Court decision – including new federal legislation – protects vulnerable Albertans and holds to account those that try to exploit women and children.”

Statement from Kim Armstrong, Deputy Attorney General of Alberta, on prosecuting those who exploit and use prostitutes:

“On December 20, 2013, in Canada (Attorney General) v. Bedford, the Supreme Court of Canada determined certain prostitution-related sections of the Criminal Code to be unconstitutional. The Supreme Court decided these laws would remain enforceable for 12 months. This ensures that prostitution remains regulated while the Government of Canada addresses this complex issue.

“I have issued a practice directive to be used while the Government of Canada determines how to respond to the Bedford decision. Although this issuing of a directive is rare, it reaffirms the commitment as a province to protecting vulnerable people from exploitation.

“As Alberta has an independent prosecution service, subject to this limited direction, all decisions respecting individual cases—including what sentence to seek in the event of a conviction—will remain with Crown prosecutors.

“The new directive has been sent to provincial Crown prosecutors and will be forwarded to Alberta’s police services, effective immediately.”

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