Age of Consent

What is Consent?

Consent is a crucial aspect of any sexual encounter. It means that all parties involved have given their explicit and informed agreement to engage in sexual activity. The absence of a "no" doesn't mean a "yes."

Consent is feeling…

  • Willing
  • Certain
  • Comfortable
  • Sober
  • Informed
  • Respected

Consent is not feeling…

  • Pressured
  • Confused
  • Scared
  • Drunk or high
  • Ignored
  • Disrespected

The person initiating sexual activity needs to take reasonable steps to establish consent and actively seek it. This includes ensuring that the other person is capable of giving consent, is not under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and is not coerced or pressured into sexual activity.

Recognize nonverbal signs of refusal

  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Crying
  • Pushing away
  • Shaking head no
  • Silence
  • Not being responsive

If there is any uncertainty or doubt about whether or not the other person is consenting, it's crucial to stop and ask: "Is this okay?"

Consent Can Be Withdrawn At Any Time During Sexual Activity

Just because you initially agreed to engage in sexual activity with someone doesn't mean you can't change your mind later. Additionally, consenting to one type of sexual activity doesn't automatically mean that you consent to any other types of sexual activity.

The Law and Consent

The legal age of consent in Canada is 16 years old. 

Exceptions: Persons under 16 years can have consensual sex with someone close in age.

  • 12-13 year olds (two-year age difference)
  • 14-15 year olds (five-year age difference)

Individuals under 18 years old cannot consent to sex where the older consenting party is in a position of trust, authority, dependency, or there is an element of exploitation (pornography, prostitution, etc.). Even when the consenting parties are close in age.


Please consult the following resources if you have been a victim of sexual assault:

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