What Is Consent?

Section 273.1(1) of the Criminal Code defines "consent" , for the purposes of the offences of sexual assault, sexual assault with a weapon, and aggravated assault, as the voluntary agreement of the complainant to engage in the sexual activity in question.

Consent is not validly obtained where:

  • Consent is expressed by someone other than the complainant;
  • The complainant is incapable of consenting (i.e. unconscious, mentally ill, or so affected by drugs or alcohol that they did not know what they were doing)
  • Consent was obtained in advance to sexual contact (i.e. where the person gave consent then fell asleep);
  • The accused induces the complainant to engage in sexual activity by exercising a position of trust or authority;
  • The complainant expresses, by words or conduct, a lack of agreement to engage in the activity; or
  • the complainant, having consented to engage in sexual activity, expresses, by words or conduct, a lack of agreement to continue to engage in the activity.


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