Landmark ruling legalizes Ontario brothels April 15, 2012Posted by rogerhollander in Criminal Justice, Women.
Tags: brothels, Canada, kirk makin, ontario, prostitutes, prostitution, roger hollander, sex workers, valerie scott
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JUSTICE REPORTER, www.theglobeandmail.com
Published Monday, Mar. 26, 2012 11:08AM EDT
Last updated Tuesday, Mar. 27, 2012 6:48AM EDT
Ontario’s highest court has legalized brothels in a sweeping decision that condemned current prostitution laws for adding to the hazards of a highly dangerous profession.
The Ontario Court of Appeal allowed the Crown just one victory, ruling that communicating for the purposes of prostitution will remain illegal.
The landmark decision is binding on Ontario courts and sets up a final showdown at the Supreme Court of Canada next fall or in early 2013.
Ontario Attorney-General John Gerretsen said on Monday that he intends to discuss appealing the decision with his federal counterparts. “Our main concern is that people feel safe in their communities, feel safe in their homes, and this kind of issue may very well need legislative action,” he said.
The five-judge appellate panel said unanimously that prostitutes may set up brothels and hire staff to protect them. They said that it is senseless to have a law that compels prostitutes to work in dangerous isolation, given that prostitution itself is legal.
The judges also explicitly rejected a Crown argument that prostitutes make an informed decision to enter a dangerous trade, saying that prostitutes deserve as much protection as other citizens who work in “dangerous, but legal, enterprises.”
However, the court majority – Mr. Justice David Doherty, Mr. Justice Marc Rosenberg and Madam Justice Kathryn Feldman – salvaged the communication provision on the basis that it has kept neighbourhoods free of organized crime, drugs, noise and unwanted solicitations.
They played down arguments from prostitution activists that those it hurts most are marginalized street prostitutes who work in the shadows and must assess potential clients hastily.
Mr. Justice James MacPherson and Madame Justice Eleanore Cronk took sharp issue with the majority on the point, arguing that the communication provision significantly worsens the plight of street prostitutes.
“The violence faced by street prostitutes across Canada is, in a word, overwhelming,” they said. “One does not need to conjure up the face of Robert Pickton to know that this is true.”
The brothel ruling takes effect in a year. However, as of April 25, prostitutes can engage bodyguards. The court remodelled the pimping provision to target only those who live off the avails of prostitution “in circumstances of exploitation.”
The Sex Professionals of Canada immediately urged Ontario municipalities to begin discussing licensing provisions that will ensure health and safety of brothel workers and their clients.
Municipalities are expected to create a patchwork of regulation. Many, such as Niagara Falls, already license body-rub parlours. About 40 workers are employed in the city’s four licensed parlours. Toronto has 25 body-rub parlours and 482 licensed workers.
Eddie Francis, mayor of Windsor, Ont., said his planning staff are looking at zoning issues that isolate brothels from schools and family neighbourhoods without creating red-light districts.
Meanwhile, police forces are split on the logic and propriety of continuing “sweeps” of body-rub parlours in search of prostitutes and their clients.
“We stopped doing sweeps after the last decision and told our people that if there were problems, there are other laws they could use to deal with them,” said Toronto Police Service spokesman Mark Pugash. “We see little reason to change that.”
However, York Regional Police Chief Eric Jolliffe said that his force “continues to be bound by the laws that exist today and our obligation is to uphold the law as it is now.”
Prostitution activists hailed Monday’s decision as a historic victory.
“Six out of six judges so far have concluded that the law does not work and is hurting people,” said York University law professor Alan Young, the lawyer for the women who launched the constitutional challenge.
Valerie Scott, one of the litigants, said that prostitutes have a sense of belonging for the first time. “I feel like a debutante,” she said. “I feel like a citizen.”
Ms. Scott said that brothels have always existed in the shadows. “There is a brothel on every block in every city, and there always has been,” she said.
Nikki Thomas, executive director of SPOC, told reporters that prostitutes will be normal citizens who file income taxes, purchase investments and quietly go about their work. “We are not going to have fire and brimstone and sex workers raining down from the sky,” she said.
The Court of Appeal noted on Monday that Parliament is not precluded from enacting new prostitution laws provided they do not heighten the danger to prostitutes.
With reports from Karen Howlett and Anna Mehler Paperny
A Taxing Situation: Ontario’s HST June 17, 2010Posted by rogerhollander in Canada, Economic Crisis, Humor.
Tags: Canada, economy, government, hst, Humor, humour, ontario, sales tax, tax dollars, taxes, taxpayers
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TIPS ON HOW TO SPEND YOUR HARMONIZED SALES TAX SOP
The Fight to Save Ontario Hospitals February 12, 2009Posted by rogerhollander in Canada, Health.
Tags: canada health, canada hospitals, Conservative Party Canada, health, health care, healthcare, liberal party, medical services canada, ontario, ontario government, ontario health, ontario health coalition, private sector health, privatization, roger hollander, single payer, SUSAN ROSENTHAL
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by Susan Rosenthal – Canada
“People First,” International Health Workers for People Over Profit (IHWPOP)
As the fight for a single-payer medical system heats up in the United States, Canada’s single-payer system is being dismantled to support corporate profits.
On January 30-31, two-hundred representatives meet in Toronto for a “Strategy Summit on Ontario’s Planned Hospital Cuts, Downsizing and Restructuring” convened by the Ontario Health Coalition. The OHC includes more than 400 labor and community groups that are committed to defending and improving the publicly-funded, publicly-administered health-care system.
The Strategy Summit was called in response to planned funding cuts that will affect every hospital in the province. If the cuts go through, Emergency Departments will close, local birthing services will be eliminated, hospital departments and beds will be lost, paramedical and support services will be privatized and fees for hospital patients and visitors will increase.
The goal of the meeting was to organize a province-wide campaign to stop the loss of these services, and the first order of business was to counter the lies that justify the cuts.
The Cuts are Not a Response to the Recession
Back in 1994, the Ontario government presented its plan to transform the medical system into a cash-cow for the private sector.
“To have the effective launching pad it needs, the health industries sector must expand its share of its own home market. Steps must be taken to ensure that, as in other countries, the domestic market supports the development of globally competitive companies.”(1)
One of these steps was to scrap regulations that ensured a minimum level of daily care for nursing home patients. Major cuts to funding and services followed.
The cuts were so unpopular that the Conservative Party was voted out of office in favor of the Liberal Party. In turn, the Liberal Party has betrayed its election mandate and planned this round of even deeper cuts.
In 2006, before the recession began, the Liberals passed the Local Health System Integration Act to dismantle the public hospital system under the guise of “integration.” The province was divided into 14 geographic areas, each of which was assigned a Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) with the power to reorganize and cut regional medical services.
Economists warn that hospital cuts will deepen the effects of the recession, because every lost hospital job will cause a second job loss in the community. Moreover, increasing wait-times for medical services will cost billions more dollars in lost work time and productivity.
The Cuts are Not about Improving Hospital Efficiency
Hospitals are not being cut to make them more efficient, but to support the profitability of the private sector.
Ontario hospitals are the most “efficient” in the country. Between 1981 and 2008, the hospital share of the Ontario health budget fell from 52 percent to 37 percent.
The Ontario government has cut funding for health and social services in order to support corporate profits. Low corporate tax rates mean that only 15 percent of Ontario’s GDP goes to government funding, compared with 17 percent for the rest of Canada. As a result, Ontario has the lowest per-capita government expenditure: $6,905 in 2007 compared with $8,692 for the rest of Canada.
Hospital cuts also help to move medical services (and money) from the public sector to the private sector. This is accomplished in a two-step process.
First, hospitals are funded below the level required to match the rate of inflation and population growth. Years of under-funding have pushed half of Ontario hospitals into deficit and 70 percent are expected to be in deficit by next year. Second, hospitals are forced to cut services to balance their budgets.
By Canadian law, medical services provided in hospital must be publicly funded and provided free of charge. Once these services leave hospital, they can be taken over by the private sector and provided for profit……….continue reading The Fight to Save Ontario Hospitals
Susan Rosenthal works as a physician in the Toronto area.