The age of consent is the age at which a young person can legally agree to sexual activity. Age of consent laws apply to all forms of sexual activity, ranging from kissing and fondling to sexual intercourse. The age of consent to sexual activity is 16 years. In some cases, the age of consent is higher for example, when there is a relationship of trust, authority or dependency. In other words, a person must be at least 16 years old to be able to legally agree to sexual activity.
Understanding Consent for Sex: What it means for you
To help protect youth from sexual predators and to fight child sexual exploitation, which has become increasingly prominent in the age of the Internet, the Government of Canada has passed new legislation increasing the age of consent for sexual activity. From until recently, the age at which a youth could consent to nonexploitative sexual activity was 14 years 1. With the recent change to the criminal code of Canada, the age of consent for nonexploitative sexual activity is now 16 years. Nonexploitative activity is defined as sexual activity that does not involve prostitution or pornography, and where there is no relationship of trust, authority or dependency between the persons involved 1. A coach, spiritual leader, teacher, school principal, guidance counsellor or family member are all examples of persons in a position of trust or authority with youth. For exploitative sexual activity prostitution or pornography, or where there is a relationship of trust, authority or dependency , the age of consent is 18 years. The spirit of the new legislation is not to regulate consensual teenage sexual activity.
For youth under 18 years old, there are different rules for when you can legally consent to sexual activity, depending on your age. Read more below about what Canadian law says about what age you have to be to give valid consent to sexual activity. In Canada, for any sexual activity or sexual touching to be legal, it has to be done with the voluntarily permission of every person involved.
Age of consent law in Canada refers to cultural and legal discussions in Canada regarding the age of consent , which was raised in May as part of the Tackling Violent Crime Act. In May , the Canadian government passed a bill to raise the age of consent from 14 to 16, while creating a close-in-age exemption for sex between 14—15 year olds and partners less than 5 years older, and keeping an existing close-in-age clause for sex between 12—13 year olds and partners less than 2 years older. In , the age of consent was raised from 12 to