WHAT IS CONSENT?
A consenting person is someone who is lucid and aware of what’s going on, and who is able to give, take back, or refuse their consent at any time during a sexual encounter, for each sexual act performed.
Consent must not be forced, and it must be voluntary and informed.
If the person is threatened, under the influence of a substance (drugs, alcohol, medication), or sleeping, consent cannot be given freely. Therefore, there is considered to be no consent.
Silence is not considered to mean consent and should never be interpreted as a “yes.”
According to the laws currently in effect, specific terms apply to minors:
All acts or forms of sexual contact with people under the age of 16 are considered to occur without consent and are therefore illegal.*
The Criminal Code provides for an exception for persons aged 14 or 15, who may give their valid consent as long as their partner is:
- not more than five years older;
- not in a position of trust or authority towards them;
- not a person with whom they are in a relationship of dependency;
- not in a relationship with them that is exploitative.
Twelve- and thirteen-year-olds can consent if their partner is less than two years older and if the above conditions are met.
A person can refuse at any time to participate in a sexual act or to continue engaging in it. A person can indicate their refusal or withdraw their consent with simple words or actions.
As soon as someone says or does something to indicate their refusal to continue with a sexual act, the other person must immediately stop the act. If the person continues the act despite the refusal, this constitutes sexual assault.