Montreal Court Says Sex Toys Are Not Health Products, Shops Must Close Early

July 30, 2015
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Montreal Court Says Sex Toys Are Not Health Products, Shops Must Close Early

In a perfect world, any kind of sex accoutrement would be available whenever we want it. There are the more pressing everyday needs, like condoms or lube, but you never know what you might be in the mood for. Is it unreasonable to want sex shops to open 24/7? Perhaps it’s not necessary, but of all the activities that we try to fit into our lunch break, going for anal beads may not be at the top of the list.

In Quebec, however, the rules are strict about opening hours. The provincial law requires most commercial establishments to close by 9PM on weekdays and 5PM on Saturdays and Sundays.

Three Montreal sex shops were not very happy about that, so in hopes of stumbling into a loophole they chose to be a little bit flexible with their closing time. Their argument? Well, considering they do sell products like creams, vibrators, condoms and lubricants, they claim they should be open as late as pharmacies can; as they, too, provide hygienic and sanitary products.

Québécois authorities have a different opinion. A Quebec Superior Court determined that the items sold at these establishments do not constitute health or hygiene products, and therefore the stores need to stick to the commercial curfew.

The operators of Séduction (5220 Métropolitain Blvd. E.) and the Romance boutiques (145 Curé-Labelle and 14 Pont Viau in Laval) received an injunction ordering to adhere to the rules, or face over half a million dollars in fines.

Claude Perron, owner of three sex shops in Montreal, is obviously not happy with the decision and took the issue to court, trying to set a precedent in his favor. Judge Louis Gouin dismissed the “health” and “urgent” arguments quickly.

The stores have received over 200 (!) notices of infraction over the years, all of them contested, which sounds almost funny when you think about it. Two hundred!

“Let’s face it, people don’t usually use sex toys at 7 AM,” Perron told VICE. “It can happen… but usually people need sex toys at night and that’s when we’re forced to close.”

To be fair, they sort of got away with it for years, Quebec laws just happen to be finally tightening their grip now.

“We should consider consumer demand,” Perron told La Presse (in French.) “For example, people who buy home improvement items should have the right to go to Home Depot or Rona before 8 [AM]”

That’s likely not going to happen either — you can breathe, French-Canadian Home Depot employees who’d prefer to sleep late.

What we do know is that at least the conversation is happening, and that’s a step. Having a 24-hour sex shop is not necessary, but let’s face it, it’s fucking handy.

In the meantime, some options might be available.

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