Legal Rights Under Challenge: Comparing SCC Decisions on Sex Work and MAID
Presented by Dr. Alex Wellington.
This project is devoted to exploring points of comparison between two of the most hotly debated Supreme Court decisions in recent years: Bedford v Canada (December 2013), finding unconstitutional sections of the Criminal Code concerning activities relating to prostitution/ sex work and Carter v Canada (February 2015), finding unconstitutional provisions of the Criminal Code prohibiting assisted suicide. One intriguing point of commonality concerns the relevance of gender for litigants and trial judges issuing dramatically innovative decisions. Another is the incorporation of substantial testimony from experts across multiple jurisdictions, and most significantly, lived experiences of predominantly female participants in sex work, and a diversity of persons seeking medical aid in dying. Thematically, both cases concerned the pursuit by litigants of legal rights to obtain the social power to engage in contested social practices. Each case highlighted the impoverishment of criminal prohibitions at achieving harm reduction in its own way
Dr. Alex Wellington, Department of Philosophy, Ryerson University, has undergraduate and graduate degrees in Philosophy and Law (from York University), and research interests in conceptual and policy issues relating to theories of human rights, moral and legal.