I have heard of some sex workers or escorts signing a non disclosure agreement with the person who is hiring them. Or their agency already has a policy in place. Since paying for sex isn't legal in Canada, would such policies or NDAs be enforceable? For example would it be breach of contract if a escort signed an NDA then told her friends she slept with you?

Charlie Sheen had this NDA but I don't think money was involved, and I'm not sure if it was considered enforceable anyway.

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    On the one hand, contracts against public policy are usually void. On the other, NDAs are often used in settlements, even those alleging potentially illegal acts (such as sexual harassment). In general, the enforceability of a NDA seems to be (US bias) not that it can't cover an illegal act, but that it can't cover telling government officials. So, I believe, so long as it makes it explicit that it doesn't forbid conversations with the police, etc., it make still be binding for telling her friends, or an online community.
    – sharur
    Feb 15 at 5:20

1 Answer 1


If correctly structured, probably

First, there is no issue with escorts in Canada. If you are in Toronto and need a plus one for the big gala dinner, you can hire a date provided sexual gratification is not part of the deal. An NDA as part of that sort of contract would be fine.

Similarly, in jurisdictions where sex work is legal, there’s also no problem.

So, we will just focus on contracts where one of the fundamental obligations involves an illegality. This doesn’t have to be prostitution, it could be a contract for murder, or the supply of illicit drugs, or the supply of unpasteurised milk.

One of the requirements for a valid contract is legality of objects. A contract for an illegal purpose is void. See What is a contract and what is required for them to be valid?

Therefore, an NDA that was a term of such a contract is also void.

However, an NDA that was a separate contract, even a collateral contract, would be enforceable because NDAs do not have illegal objects.

This can probably best be illustrated by an example. Let's imagine there is an establishment where people can go for food, drink, entertainment, and socialise - we'll call it the club. As part of the contract for using the club or being an employee or supplier to the club or its patrons, there is an NDA not to reveal anything that happens in or is associated with the club. There is no reason to believe that this NDA would not be a valid and enforceable contract - subject to the normal laws that limit such agreements.

Now, if visitors entered other agreements that were void, with each other or with the club - such as for the supply of sex or illegal drugs - this would not, on its own invalidate the NDA contained in the other contract.

If a court decided that the whole operation was a sham and that the club was merely a front for a brothel, they may find the original contract is void as being against public policy or, it quite likely may be an irrelevancy, because people engaged in a joint criminal enterprise have very few rights against one another anyway. However, if the club is primarily a legitimate business, then there would be no reason to impugn the original contract.

  • Anything stopping you from paying only for the NDA? Say 10% more than others pay for having sex?
    – gnasher729
    Feb 15 at 9:34
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    @gnasher729 an NDA may not have to be paid for - a mutual NDA would have the promised silence as consideration from both parties - I won’t tell if you won’t tell. If it were a seperate valid contract, there’s no reason why it wouldn’t be enforcable.
    – Dale M
    Feb 15 at 9:36
  • ...as long as the NDA doesn't cover not talking in a manner that would be illegal, e.g. mandatory reporting
    – Trish
    Feb 15 at 9:40
  • @DaleM What I meant was: Instead of paying for (sex + NDA), you could pay for the NDA and get the sex for free. Which could avoid legal problems. Obviously both sides would want to make sure that both payment and sex happen, but that problem is there anyway.
    – gnasher729
    Feb 15 at 10:08
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    @gnasher729 if you agree to pay an inflated price nominally for one thing but with the mutual understanding that you will actually be getting two things then you've just agreed to pay for two things.
    – phoog
    Feb 16 at 2:54

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