All Resources > Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law Reform (CASWLR) v. Attorney General Analysis

Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law Reform (CASWLR) v. Attorney General Analysis

The continued violation of sex workers’ rights—and the dismissal of their lived experiences and general humanity—is demonstrated in the September 2023 Ontario Superior Court’s dismissal of a constitutional challenge against the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act (PCEPA). This legislation will continue to put sex workers in danger.

CASWLR v. Attorney General (2023) addresses several criminal laws relating to sex work in Canada. Applicants argue that these laws unjustly violate the rights and freedoms of those engaged in sex work, increasing their risk of harm and negatively impacting their overall wellbeing. Opponents argue that the laws are necessary to prevent abuse and do not cause harm to sex workers.

The written decision for this case privileges the opinions of law enforcement, anti-trafficking groups, religious organizations and sex work abolitionists at the expense of the lived experiences and insight provided by sex workers, sex worker support organizations, allied organizations and empirical researchers

SWAN’s Recommendations


Decriminalize sex work in Canada to ensure sex workers have access to their basic human rights, including health and social services and access to legal and labour protections. Do this by:


Repealing PCEPA to prevent the harms it causes to sex workers, putting them at risk of violence and exploitation, as well as at risk of criminalization, arrest, detention and deportation.


Repealing the IRPR ban on sex work to prevent the harms caused to im/migrant sex workers, such as detention and deportation.


Stop the conflation of sex work and human trafficking and/or child sexual exploitation.

See here for a backgrounder on this case.

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