Brampton Looking to Amend Some Sex-Related Laws


Declaring that the adult entertainment industry has proliferated everywhere is hardly a controversial statement, and Brampton is no exception to that proliferation. You just need to look into quiet corners of the city to find that adult film store discreetly tucked away in some strip mall, the 'boutique' massage parlor offering more than just a backrub, or the gentleman's club offering lonely wanderers the promise of companionship or other pleasures of the flesh, for a price.

It may be surprising to learn that the business of sex has become, no pun intended, a "hot" topic in the last few years, with the issue of legalizing prostitution and the rights of sex workers going all the way to the Supreme Court and into the form of federal legislation. If it can reach the highest court in the land, then Brampton would hardly be immune to dealing with the matter.

With a current by-law on the books governing how they operate them and their licensing requirements, Brampton officials are looking to amend the current by-law overseeing the licensing of adult entertainment establishments in Canada's ninth largest city. The revisions will look into expanding licensing requirements for the current category of adult entertainment business in the city.

These are the current Brampton city by-laws (No. 1-2002 as cited in the city's press release) for the licensing (circa 2002). There are primarily two definitions in the licensing by-law that could be categorized as falling under the industry.

Adult entertainment parlour”, meaning any premises or part thereof in which is provided, in pursuance of a trade, calling, business or occupation, goods or services appealing to or designed to appeal to erotic or sexual appetites or inclinations which include:

  • Goods or services of which a principal feature or characteristic is the nudity or partial nudity of any person
  • Goods or services in respect to which the word “nude”, “naked”, “topless”, “bottomless”, “sexy”, or an other word or picture symbol or representation having like meaning or implication as used in any advertisement.

Body-rub parlour” includes any premises or part thereof where a body-rub is performed, offered or solicited in pursuance of a trade, calling, business or occupation, but does not include any premises or part thereof where the body-rubs performed are for the purpose of medical or therapeutic treatment and are performed or offered by persons otherwise duly qualified, licensed or registered so to do under the laws of the Province of Ontario.

The proposed amendments will now include the following:

  • Licensing Operators: In addition to licensing parlours and owners of strip clubs, the city will license operators, such as those managing these businesses), and require that the licensed owner or licensed operator must be on premises at all times.

It's one thing to just license the owners of a strip club or massage parlour, but those owners are not necessarily on site at all times. Licensing the operators who run the day-to-day business and requiring that they are present on their premises in order to be able to deal with problems or issues that may arise.

  • Licensing Adult Entertainers: Requirement that entertainers must be licensed also has been added.

If you're going to license the operators as well as the owners, why not the actual people doing the work also?

The proposed amendment also seeks to expand licensing of adult video stores to include all adult merchandise, such as videos and other products, and establishing two categories of licences:

  • A Class A licence for stores in which the principal business is adult merchandise.
  • A Class B for those businesses in which the portion of floor area devoted to the display of adult merchandise is less than 10 per cent of the total area devoted to the display of all merchandise.

So this proposed amended by-law covers not only stores that sell exclusively adult entertainment products, but those stores in which only a part of the store, such as those bookstores with a room in the bank covered by a curtain, would be licensed as well. Not sure if those partial stores selling adult merch exist anymore, but that's the general idea.

And in case you were wondering, the proposed amendments as they stand address actual physical places providing adult entertainment products and services. It doesn't seem to address the proliferation of online adult content such as pornography, which a number of people see as a systemic problem in the present socio-cultural psyche, and online adult content is in another governmental jurisdiction altogether.  

But if you have a question about that or any other questions pertaining to these proposed amendments, the revised Adult Entertainment By-law will be presented to Council on April 12. Adult entertainment businesses and the general public of Brampton have an opportunity to provide their comments on these amendments.

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