Consent for the purposes of sexual assault is defined under section 273.1 of the Criminal Code. Consent means that the complainant voluntarily agreed to engage in the sexual activity in question. Consent needs to be clearly communicated through the words and/or actions of the complainant consented to.
Consent needs to be present at the time the sexual activity took place. Consent also needs to be ongoing and can be withdrawn by the complainant at any time. Additionally, if someone consented in the past, that is not sufficient consent for present or future sexual touching.
Under section 273. 1(2) of the Criminal Code, no consent is obtained if:
- the agreement for sexual activity was made by anyone other than the complainant;
- the complainant is unconscious;
- complainant is unable to consent;
- the accused abuses their position of trust, power or authority, and induces the complainant into engaging in the sexual activity;
- the complainant expressed by their words or conduct a lack of agreement to engage in the sexual activity; and
- the complainant having consented, later expresses a lack of agreement to continue to engage in the sexual activity.