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Age of Consent Position Statement

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Canadian Federation for Sexual Health supports the current age of consent and the provisions of current legislation*, which protect young people from sexual exploitation.

Canadian Federation for Sexual Health does not support raising the age of consent to sexual activity from 14 years to 16 years, as there is no evidence that this increased restriction on individual rights will increase protection of youth from sexual exploitation or provide any other benefit sufficient to justify the intrusion into personal privacy and consensual activity. Rather, the prospect of legal sanction and third party disclosure could seriously discourage youth from accessing preventive and therapeutic health services and other forms of information and assistance.

Canadian Federation for Sexual Health believes that the age of consent should be universal, without regard to gender or type of sexual activity. The current law makes discriminatory distinctions among various types of sexual activity that are not supportable on health or other objective grounds. Furthermore, the distinction is a barrier to comprehensive sexual health education.

Canadian Federation for Sexual Health believes that, at any age, consent should be informed. CFSH further believes that the best way to protect and support young people is to ensure that they have access to accurate, comprehensive, timely and non-judgmental sexual health education and services that inform them about their rights and options, and the risks and benefits of engaging in sexual activity.

* This statement refers to the legal age of consent before the Tackling Violent Crime Act was enacted in Canada on May 1st, 2008. 

Updated November 2, 2010 , JL

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