LAWS GOVERNING THE SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN.

Legal Age of Protection

The “age of protection” or “age of sexual consent” refers to the age at which the criminal law recognizes the legal capacity of a young person to consent to sexual activity.

Below this age, all sexual activity with a young person, ranging from sexual touching to sexual intercourse, is prohibited. The age of protection targets those who prey upon the vulnerability of youth. The age of protection in Canada is 16 years old.

Criminal Code of Canada

It is illegal for an adult to engage in sexual activity with a person under the age of 16 years. There are exceptions for young people who are close in age to each other. Close-in-age exceptions exist to protect against the criminalization of consensual sexual activity between peers.

  • It is illegal for an adult to engage in sexual activity with a person under the age of 16 years. There are exceptions for young people who are close in age to each other. Close-in-age exceptions exist to protect against the criminalization of consensual sexual activity between peers
  • A 14- or 15-year-old can engage in a sexual relationship with another person who is less than 5 years older.

It is illegal for any adult in a position of trust or authority to engage in sexual activity with another person under the age of 18 years.

It is illegal for any person to engage in sexual activity without the consent of another person of any age.

It is illegal for any person to sexually exploit another person under the age of 18. This includes prostitution, pornography, or where the relationship of trust, authority, dependency or any other situation that is exploitative of a young person exists. The Criminal Code of Canada lists several offences in relation to child and youth sexual exploitation.