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Motion to raise age of consent to 16

As Xtra West goes to press, the House of Commons is expected to vote on a private member’s motion Sep 28 to raise the age of sexual consent from 14 to 16 years.

Conservative MP Nina Grewal made the motion Mar 10. Grewal’s motion is not expected to pass. Even if it did, as a private member’s motion, it is not binding on Parliament and has no effect on law, but it does signify the will of the House of Commons.

Canada’s Criminal Code sets the age of consent at 14 years, which means people can legally consent to have sex once they turn 14-unless they want to have sex with someone older than 18 years.

The Criminal Code says sex is allowed between a 14-year-old and an over 18-year-old, as long as the older person “is not in a position of trust or authority towards the complainant, is not a person with whom the complainant is in a relationship of dependency and is not in a relationship with the complainant that is exploitative of the complainant.”

The “exploitative” part was added Jul 20 with the passage of Bill C-2. No definition of exploitative has yet been tested in the courts.