Good news from MP Joy Smith:
I am delighted to share with you that Bill C-36 has been adopted by the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.
In September when Parliament resumes, the Chair of the Committee will report the Bill back to the House of Commons where it will go through Report Stage and Third Reading.
Today’s clause by clause study of Bill C-36 was an important opportunity to address concerns by witnesses that the proposed changes to section 213 of the Criminal Code were too vague and would allow prostituted women to continue to be broadly criminalized. Our government put forward and adopted an amendment that significantly narrowed the offence to accomplish what it was intended to accomplish:
Original proposed offence in Bill C-36:
213. (1.1) Everyone is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction who communicates with any person — for the purpose of offering or providing sexual services for consideration — in a public place, or in any place open to public view, that is or is next to a place where persons under the age of 18 can reasonably be expected to be present.
New wording of offence in Bill C-36:
213. (1.1) Everyone is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction who communicates with any person — for the purpose of offering or providing sexual services for consideration — in a public place, or in any place open to public view, that is or is next to a school ground, playground or daycare centre.
RESULT: This puts a focus on discouraging solicitation from three specific places where youth should be able to be free from sexual commodification and objectification.
The second significant amendment to Bill C-36 adopted was put forward by the NDP and supported by the Conservative government was the following:
REVIEW AND REPORT
45.1 (1) Within five years after this section comes into force, a comprehensive review of the provisions and operation of this Act shall be undertaken by such committee of the House of Commons as may be designated or established by the House for that purpose.
(2) The committee referred to in subsection (1) shall, within a year after a review is undertaken pursuant to that subsection or within such further time as the House may authorize, submit a report on the review to the Speaker of the House, including a statement of any changes the committee recommends.
RESULT: This will allow the government to see the impact of Bill C-36 and fine-tune it where necessary. The NDP suggested a review within 2 years and our government changed this to 5 years to allow for more information to be gathered.
I will continue to keep you updated!
Joy Smith, B.Ed., M.Ed.
Member of Parliament
If you’d like to watch Hope for the Sold’s testimony before the Committee from last week, you can do so here (starts at minute 12:30).
We’ll keep you posted on how this develops and what you can do as the bill make progress!