In Canada, we’re lucky to have reasonably progressive laws- on paper at least. The Criminal Code of Canada defines most of the laws relating to sexual violence. Unfortunately, it is a pretty confusing document. It’s full of legal jargon and the key points are scattered in many sections. To save some time, we’ve translated the key points into something a bit easier to understand.
First, when it comes to consent, the law is very clear that:
- You can only consent for yourself.
- You actually have to be able to give consent. That means you have to be awake, conscious, and sober enough to make a clear decision.
- People in positions of trust, power or authority can’t abuse their position to get sexual activity.
- If you imply no through your words or behaviours that’s just as good as saying “NO”.
- You have the right to change your mind and stop anytime for any reason during sexual activity.
As for the age of consent, here’s a quick run down:
- Under 12: are unable to consent under any circumstance.
- Ages 12-16: some flexibility for “close in age” and peers.
- 16 is the official age of consent.
- Young people under 18 years old are protected from exploitation.