Defining Consent

Consent is a vital component of any sexual encounter. It signifies that all parties involved have provided their clear and informed permission to participate in sexual activity. The absence of a "no" does not imply a "yes."

Consent entails feeling Consent does not entail feeling...
Willing Pressured
Certain Confused
Comfortable Scared
Sober Intoxicated or high
Informed Ignored
Respected Disrespected

The individual initiating sexual activity must take reasonable measures to establish and actively seek consent. This involves ensuring that the other person can provide consent, is not under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and is not coerced or pressured into sexual activity.

Identifying nonverbal signals of refusal

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

In cases of uncertainty or doubt about the other person's consent, it is crucial to stop and ask, "Is this okay?"

Consent Can Be Revoked at Any Time During Sexual Activity

Consenting to engage in sexual activity with someone initially does not mean you cannot change your mind later. Furthermore, consenting to one type of sexual activity does not automatically imply consent to other forms of sexual activity.

Consent and the Law

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

Exceptions: Individuals under 16 years can engage in 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 holds a position of trust, authority, or dependency, or when exploitation is involved (pornography, prostitution, etc.), even when the consenting parties are close in age.


If you have been a victim of sexual assault, please consult the following resources:

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