Public Nudity and The Law

 

Judges have been redefining the 80 year old laws regarding public nudity / indecency and dismissing cases where the nudity is non-sexual. Here are a few of their comments...
 

  • Justice Stuard... "public nudity by itself is not an indecent act. To be an offence... the unclad person must act in a base or shameful manner..." R. v. Hecker

 

  • Justice Carole Baird Ellan... "the actions of the accused were void of sexual content in that she did not act in a sexually provocative manner..." R. v. Sinclair

 

  • Justice Gould... "mere nude sunbathing is not of sufficient moral turpitude to support a charge for doing an indecent act..." R. v. Beaupré

 

  • Justice Coulter Osborne... found that baring her breasts was not harmful to anyone and noted, “there was nothing degrading or dehumanizing in what the appellant did. The scope of her activity was limited and was entirely non-commercial. No one who was offended was forced to continue looking at her..." R. v. Jacobs

 

  • Judge Eugene Lewchuk... "their behavior did not violate community standards..." R. v. Godron & Rice


The above rulings are called ‘case law’. These rulings take precedence over the literal interpretation of the criminal code. Essentially judges are modifying the law to allow public nudity so long as it is non-sexual.

It appears the attitude of judges reflects the increasing tolerance of Canadians toward public nudity. A 2013 Expedia poll found 59% of Canadians are comfortable with seeing nudity at the beach and a 2014 fcn.ca poll found 1 in 4 Canadians have been naked at the beach or plan to be in the future.

Also, each year, with the full knowledge and support of police and city councils:

 

  • World Naked Bike Rides throughout Canada

  • Naked Polar Bear swims countrywide

  • Official clothing optional beaches in Vancouver ( Wreck Beach ) and Toronto ( Hanlan's Point ) plus hundreds of unofficial beaches throughout Canada

  • Naked Gay Pride parades

  • Nude swim nights at public pools in Kelowna, Vancouver, Victoria, Ottawa, Edmonton, Drumheller, Toronto and many others

  • Special events such as naked bungee jumping, zip-lining, etc


And finally, Penticton city councillors are on record acknowledging the decades old traditional naturist activities at 3-Mile. The clothing optional aspect of this beach was also an official part of the City of Penticton tourism literature until recently.

 

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