Whats the age limit for dating legally in canada


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A coach, spiritual leader, teacher, school principal, guidance counsellor or family member are all examples of persons in a position of trust or authority with youth. For exploitative sexual activity prostitution or pornography, or where there is a relationship of trust, authority or dependency , the age of consent is 18 years. The spirit of the new legislation is not to regulate consensual teenage sexual activity.

To this effect, there are a few notable exceptions to the law:. Children younger than 12 years of age can never consent to sexual activity with anyone, of any age, regardless of whether they say they do.

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As before, all nonconsensual sexual activity, regardless of age, constitutes a sexual assault. Exploitative sexual activity, sexual assault or sexual activity with anyone younger than 12 years of age or between 12 and 16 years of age, except as above, should raise child protection concerns.

What is Consent?

All Canadian provinces and territories have child protection legislation with mandatory reporting laws for suspected cases of child maltreatment. It is important for physicians counselling sexually active youth to enquire about consent and the age of their partner.

Canadian Law and Youth Age of Consent to Sexual Activity

As always, as a means to safeguard the trust relationship that exists between physician and patient, it is advisable for physicians to discuss the limits of confidentiality with all their young patients before entering into such conversations. As the new legislation gets implemented, child welfare agency responses to such concerns may differ from province to province.

Each relationship will be assessed differently, but will factor in 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. This provision is in place to ensure that consensual relationships are truly consensual. Similarly, 16 and 17 year olds cannot consent to prostitution or pornography, as each of those is viewed to be exploitative. Section of the Criminal Code states that the age of consent for sexual intercourse is 18 years.

However, this law has been deemed unconstitutional and discriminatory, and has not been enforced since In November the Minister of Justice introduced a bill to remove the provision from the Criminal Code.

Age of consent for sexual activity in Canada

Ron Ellis Blog My Expertise is at your fingertips. Police also discovered hundreds of pornographic images of children on a laptop computer that Beckham had brought with him from Texas. Beckham was arrested and held without bail. In Beckham's home state of Texas , the age of consent is 17 and violators can face prison terms of up to 10—20 years. In Canada, sexual activity with children as young as 14 until May was legal as long as it was consensual and the adult is not in a position of authority or dependency. The boy, who reportedly suffered from social anxiety disorder and had shown signs of being suicidal, insisted during interviews with the police that the sex with Beckham was consensual.

Ontario Women’s Justice Network

Consequently, the only crime Beckham could be prosecuted for in Canada was a relatively minor offense of possession of child pornography. In November , Beckham pleaded guilty and was sentenced to the time already served. He was then ordered deported back to the United States. After being notified of his arrest in Canada, Immigration and Customs Enforcement ICE agents searched Beckham's home in Woodlands, Texas where they discovered a massive quantity of child pornography on his computer, with some depicting children less than 12 years old engaged in sexual acts with adults.

After returning to the United States, Beckham was immediately arrested and held without bond. In July , Beckham pleaded guilty to a federal charge of transporting child pornography to Canada, [12] [13] although his lawyer argued unsuccessfully that Beckham's behaviour was the result of diminished capacity. In November , Beckham was sentenced to 17 years in prison, to be followed by lifetime supervision.


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This case raised concerns that child molesters, not just in Canada but also from abroad, were taking advantage of Canada's low age of consent to sexually exploit vulnerable children while escaping criminal prosecution. These activists also criticized the bill, because it does not address the issue of equality, maintaining the present Canadian age of consent for anal sex outside of marriage at Hillary Cook, spokeswoman for gay rights group Egale Canada believes the bill is " an attempt to score partisan points ".

The Canadian AIDS Society has stated that "increasing the age of consent could result in young people being more secretive about their sexual practices and not seeking out the information they need.