If the Ontario Court of Appeal does not agree to give the government more time to consider an appeal, it could mean the end for a number of laws that effectively criminalized prostitution.
A September ruling by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice struck down laws against keeping a common bawdy house, communicating for the purposes of prostitution and living on the avails of the trade.
The government is requesting a stay until a proper appeal can be heard.
Michael Morris, a lawyer for the federal government, said if a stay isn't granted Saturday, it will be the start of a "social experiment unprecedented in this country."
Prostitution is not illegal in Canada, but nearly everything related to it is. Lawyers who fought for the end of those laws said the adjustment would mean safer conditions for sex-trade workers.
In a 131-page ruling released in September, Justice Susan Himel determined the laws created a dangerous environment for sex-trade workers. "I find that the danger faced by prostitutes greatly outweighs any harm which may be faced by the public," she wrote.
The struck-down provisions deal with adult prostitution. Prostitution laws dealing with those under the age of 18 remain unaffected.
Dominatrix Terri-Jean Bedford had originally asked the court to rule on the Criminal Code laws relating to prostitution and called the decision to strike the laws down "emancipation day" for sex-trade workers. The government argued that prostitution is inherently dangerous, no matter where it is carried out. It has also argued that striking down the laws would make Canada a sex tourism destination.
Prostitution laws in Ontario could be lifted Saturday - CTV News