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age of consent

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Definition: Beginning May 1, 2008, the age of sexual consent in Canada is 16 years old.

The age of consent in Canada is the age at which the criminal law recognizes the legal capacity of a young person to consent to sexual activity. Under the Criminal Code of Canada anyone under the age of 16 cannot legally consent to any form of sexual activity, from kissing to intercourse. It means that adults are criminally liable if they have sex with someone under that age. The offence carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

The law has a "close-in-age" exemption of less than five years, which permits teens to engage in consensual sex with a partner who is less than five years older as long as the older partner is not in a position of trust or authority and the relationship is not exploitive.

The age of protection for exploitive sexual activity, such as sexual activity involving prostitution, pornography, or a relationship of trust, is 18. The age of consent for anal sex is also 18.

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