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Although the single mother of four lives in small-town Saskatchewan, her job had her regularly interacting with strangers, both from within Canada and from other parts of the world, and she did not want to risk bringing COVID home to her children. Merlot — the name she uses for work, which CBC News agreed to use in this piece over concerns for her and her family's safety — decided to stop working in February, shortly before the provincial lockdown.

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Like many Canadians, Merlot's decision to mitigate risks and focus on her family's safety resulted in a steep loss of income. It's a common misconception that Canadian sex workers cannot, or should not, file taxes on their income because their industry exists in what many consider to be a legal grey area, with fears over arrests and other reprisals despite prostitution itself no longer being illegal in the country. They should, and they can get in trouble if they don't file their tax returns.

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You have to file your taxes, I have to file my taxes, everyone has to contribute. But Merlot, who registered her work as a formal business after the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act came into force insaid sex workers who want to file their taxes face a of barriers.

This year, only those who were able to navigate the tax filing process had access to critical financial support. Valerie Scott, a Toronto-based sex worker and legal co-ordinator for advocacy group Sex Professionals of Canada, said the current legal status of Canadian sex workers makes it feel too risky for many in the industry to file taxes at all.

We're sitting ducks. If you step to the left, your children can be taken away. If you work at home, a neighbour with a grudge can call the snitch. If you rent, they can inform your landlord, because you're allowing an illegal act to take place in your apartment. Privacy laws prohibit the CRA from sharing the information it collects, including with police, immigration or border agents.

Still, Scott believes the "grey area" legal status for sex workers and uncertainty about whether or not they should file taxes has forced many to choose between the risks of continuing to work or severe economic hardship during the pandemic. A spokesperson for the federal justice minister said the government is examining whether the current sex work laws are meeting their objectives.

She said the upcoming five-year review of prostitution laws will allow Parliament to "examine the full range of effects that this legislation has had since its coming into force. Rappaport said that to the best of her knowledge no parliamentary committee has begun the review process for the bill so far. Rowan Reid, an Edmonton-based sex worker, worried about how she would cover her expenses after she decided to stop working in March.

But as a taxpayer, she was relieved to find out more stable support was on its way when CERB was announced. I'm tired of the stereotypes that we don't. Without CERB, Reid Mature canadian online sex she would have had no choice but to keep working throughout the pandemic and might have had to compromise her standards for screening and interacting with potential clients. This has had dire consequences for many in the industry.

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They don't want to work during this pandemic, and they don't want to move into a shelter during a pandemic. Anne Margaret Deck, vice-chair of the board for sex workers' rights group Maggie's Toronto, said her organization has seen a similar situation unfolding. Marielle Hossack, a spokesperson for Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough, said the government is working on addressing the needs of vulnerable populations during this pandemic. While some sex workers have moved to online work, that has become more difficult in recent years.

Intended to reduce sex trafficking, the laws make websites criminally responsible and legally liable for the content they host. Because of this, many websites that sex workers used to advertise their services, screen clients and warn others about bad or dangerous clients have been shut down worldwide.

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Those who have continued to work in person throughout the pandemic, including Scott herself, say they are doing what they can for themselves, their clients and their contacts to mitigate the chances of contracting COVID, but it's an imperfect system. Some people are even wearing masks while they're having sex with each other. It's not terribly sexy, but it helps. Although the case s in Alberta are increasing, she needs the income. The rigorous screening requirements she has implemented for clients have not been well received across the board, so she is earning much less than usual and is worried about having to take even more risks this winter.

I'm in control of who I see, I'm in control of my rate, I don't do a single bloody thing that I don't want Mature canadian online sex do. Merlot has not gone back to sex work. Instead, because of the other financial support she was able to access as a mature student and a single mother, she has been able to concentrate on her studies as a psychology major at the University of Saskatchewan. Looking back on what CERB meant for her and her family, Merlot wishes some kind of financial safety net could be available to more sex workers, and not just during times of crisis. She has a passion for arts journalism, science reporting, and social justice movements.

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julia. Saskatchewan For Canadian sex workers, CERB was a lifeline — if they could get it It's a common misconception that Canadian sex workers cannot, or should not, file taxes on their income because their industry exists in what many consider to be a legal "grey area," but doing so gave some sex workers access to CERB during the pandemic.

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Social Sharing. This story was originally published on Oct. But it is not illegal to sell sexual services in Canada. That said, the government has acknowledged "it is difficult to engage in prostitution without committing a criminal offence. Under the act, sex workers are considered victims of sexual exploitation.

The act, which went into effect in Dec. Tax workshops for sex workers offered by Vancouver group. Pandemic forces shift in how Sage House helps women doing survival sex work. Julia Peterson.

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