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Ottawa to table prostitution bill ‘well before’ December deadline, MacKay says

Sex trade workers and supporters of the rights of sex trade workers attended a small celebration organized by Maggie's: The Toronto Sex Workers Action Project held at Allen Gardens in Toronto on December 20, 2013 following the unanimous decision by Supreme Court of Canada which strikes down all three prostitution laws. Many people in attendance carries red umbrellas, the international symbol of the rights of sex trade workers, said one woman.

Peter Power/The Globe and Mail

Justice Minister Peter MacKay says the government will introduce its new prostitution legislation well ahead of a December deadline.

Speaking in Halifax, MacKay said Ottawa has already started to draft the legislation, but more consultations must happen with police and provincial governments.

He wouldn't say when the bill would be introduced, but vowed that it would be "well before" the one-year time frame it was given.

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The Supreme Court of Canada struck down the country's anti-prostitution laws late last year, ruling that laws banning street soliciting, living on the avails and keeping a brothel are unconstitutional.

But the court gave the government a year to come up with a new legislative umbrella before the ruling comes in force.

That means the current laws will remain in the Criminal Code until December.

MacKay said the new legislation will continue to protect women from violence and sexual abuse.

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