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The age of consent, also known as the "age of protection", refers to the age at which a young person can legally consent to sexual activity.All sexual activity without consent, regardless of age, is a criminal offence.The documents on this site were originally prepared for general distribution to Canadian Parliamentarians to provide background and analysis of issues that may arise in the course of their Parliamentary duties.
It was raised from 14 years on May 1, 2008 by the .
However, the age of consent is 18 years where the sexual activity "exploits" the young person -- when it involves prostitution, pornography or occurs in a relationship of authority, trust or dependency (e.g., with a teacher, coach or babysitter).
Whether a relationship is considered to be exploiting the 16 or 17 year old will depend upon the nature and circumstances of the relationship, e.g., the age of the young person, the age difference between the young person and their partner, how the relationship developed and how the partner may have controlled or influenced the young person.
As well, 16 and 17 year olds cannot consent to sexual activity that involves prostitution or pornography.
The contains offences that protect everyone against all forms of sexual assault (section 271); sexual assault with a weapon, threats to a third party or causing bodily harm (section 272); and aggravated sexual assault (section 273), voyeurism (section 162), obscenity (section 163) and trafficking in persons (section 279.01).
Staff of the Parliamentary Research Branch (PRB) of the Library of Parliament work exclusively for Parliament conducting research and providing analysis and policy advice to Members of the Senate and House of Commons and to parliamentary committees on a non-partisan and confidential basis.