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Age of Consent (July 2006)

Adopted by the Canadian AIDS Society’s Board of Directors, July, 2006.

Currently, the Government of Canada is exploring increasing the legal age of consent for sexual activity from 14 to 16 years of age. The Canadian AIDS Society does not support this action.

The Canadian AIDS Society is concerned 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. This will place youth at an increased risk of contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

Furthermore, the proposed amendments to the age of consent do not address an existing law prohibiting anal intercourse for individuals under the age of 18. Age of consent should be universal and not discriminate by type of sexual activity.

The Criminal Code of Canada already protects people under the age of 18 from sexual relationships that happen under circumstances of exploitation, pornography, prostitution or in relationships of trust, authority or dependency.

Passed by Parliament in July 2005, Bill C-2 created new protections for youth under 18 years of age against exploitative sexual activity. Bill C-2 takes into account the nature and circumstance of the relationship, including the age of the young person, the difference in age between the youth and the other person, how the relationship evolved, and the degree of control or influence exercised over a youth under 18.

The average age of first sexual intercourse is 14.1 years for boys and 14.5 years for girls as reported in the Canadian Youth, Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS Study (2003) by the Canadian Council of Ministers of Education. In 2000, 29% of all positive HIV tests in Canada were reported by youth ages 15-29. Young people between the ages of 15 and 19 already have the highest rate of sexually transmitted infections in Canada.

The Canadian AIDS Society believes that the Canadian government should be focussing their efforts on promoting consistent, comprehensive HIV/AIDS and sexual health education across Canada. The best way to protect and support youth is to ensure that education and services are available to inform them about their rights and options, and the risks and benefits of engaging in sexual activity. Educating youth to make informed choices that are right for them is better addressed through parental guidance and comprehensive sexual health education than by using the Criminal Code.


Age of Consent (July 2006). © Canadian AIDS Society. Published 07/27/2007. Updated 03/09/2011. Web. Retrieved 08/27/2016 from