Consent & Age of Consent

What is Consent?
The Criminal Code of Canada defines consent as a voluntary agreement between two people to engage in a specific sexual activity at a specific time.

  • Consent that is obtained through pressure, fear, force or threats of force (either to yourself or to someone else), is not voluntary consent.
  • No means no.
  • Saying yes to one sexual activity does not mean yes to every sexual activity.
  • If a person is a child, is drunk, has passed out, is asleep, has been drugged, or is dependent on the abuser, s/he are unable to give consent.
  • The person must give an overt indication of consent (for example saying, "yes").
  • Silence, passivity or ambiguous conduct does not imply consent.

Also, remember that:

  • Consent is based on choice.
  • Agreeing to having sex because of guilt, pressure, sense of obligation or just to fit in with the group is not true consent.
  • Consent is possible only when there is equality between both people.

Consent cannot be used as a defence if:

  • Someone else (a third party) says “yes” for the person.
  • The person is not capable of giving consent because they are a child, are drunk, are passed out, are asleep, have been drugged, are dependent on the abuser, etc.
  • The accused abuses a position of trust, power or authority, such as a teacher, an older sibling, a parent, a babysitter, a relative, a coach.
  • The victim says “no”.
  • The victim says “yes” and then withdraws or takes back consent. At any time a person may change her/his mind. At the point a person withdraws consent, continuing the sexual activity becomes a criminal act.
  • The accused was drunk or high.
  • The accused did not determine if the victim consented or said "yes".

Consent means saying “yes” because you want to!! “No” always means no. If someone tells you to stop a sexual activity, and you continue with it, you are committing a crime. There is no such thing as implied consent.



For current information about the Sexual Assault from the Canadian Department of Justice please see: