Canada City Proposes Adult Crackdown

Tod Hunter
BARRIE, Ontario — City officials are considering adopting a wide-ranging law that would impose fines for adult entertainment workers who violate the city's licensing laws.

A list of 119 offenses relating to behavior, record-keeping and complying with city licensing regulations for the sex industry is also part of the law. Fines for strip clubs and escort services — and their workers — in violation of the new ordinances would range from $150-$400.

"We don't issue an abundance of fines, but it's a tool available to our officers," said Brenda Russell, Barrie's manager of municipal law and prosecution. Law enforcement officials also have the choice of filing criminal charges instead of imposing fines. People who have been charged can choose to be tried in court.

Barrie has four licensed escort agencies, 11 licensed escort drivers and 15 licensed escorts. Escort agencies in the city have annual licensing fees of $3,000, and escorts and drivers have an annual license fee of $150. The fees are to help city officials ensure that escorts are 18 or older, and that their drivers have safe driving records and don't have criminal records.

A woman who owns a licensed escort agency in Barrie told the Barrie Examiner that most of the city's escort services aren't licensed and fines are rarely levied. She estimated that there are about 10 escort services in the city, adding that higher fees and more categories for offenses will only drive more escort agencies underground and keep them unlicensed.

Barrie Mayor Dave Aspden said regulating the sex industry is important, but agreed that raising the penalties may not lead to more licenses.

"There's always a possibility you will drive business underground in certain categories," he said. "But the fines are stiffer."

The application to set new fines now goes to the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General.

Barrie is located 70 miles north of Toronto and has a population of around 100,000.