Frequently Asked Questions

In Canada Section 273.1 provides a definition of consent for the purposes of the sexual assault offences and for greater certainty, sets out specific situations that do not constitute consent at law.

Subsection 273.1(1) defines consent as the voluntary agreement of the complainant to engage in the sexual activity in question. Conduct short of a voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity does not constitute consent as a matter of law.

For greater certainty, subsection 273.1(2) sets out specific situations where there is no consent in law; no consent is obtained:

  • where the agreement is expressed by the words or conduct of a person other than the complainant
  • where the complainant is incapable of consenting to the activity
  • where the accused induces the complainant to engage in the activity by abusing a position of trust, power or authority
  • where the complainant expresses, by words or conduct, a lack of agreement to engage in the activity, or
  • where 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.

Consent is specific, informed, reversible, and enthusiastic. 

Yes! If you thought you might be comfortable doing something, but realize you are not, you can change your mind at any point.  

Covert or forced administration of a substance in order to facilitate nonconsensual sexual contact.

Proactive: When a perpetrator covertly or forcibly administers an incapacitating or disinhibiting substance to a victim for the purpose of sexual assault. For example, Flunitrazepam (Rohypnol) or Gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB). 

Opportunistic: when a perpetrator takes advantage of a victim that is profoundly intoxicated by his or her own actions to the point of near or actual unconsciousness. 

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