Age of Consent: Young People, Sex and the Law

Canadian law says that the age of consent for sexual activity is 16 years old. This law protects young people from sexual exploitation.

By law, adults (18 or older) cannot have sexual relations with people under 16.

There are exceptions for people who are close in age. These exceptions make sure the law does not label consensual sexual activities between young people as criminal offences. It is not a criminal offence if:

  • a young person aged 14 or 15 consents to sexual activity with someone less than 5 years older;
  • a young person aged 12 or 13 consents to sexual activity with someone less than 2 years older.

These exceptions only apply if the older person is not in a position of authority or trust and there is no exploitation.

The law also says that young people under 12 cannot give consent at all.

If you need help

If you need help, contact PEI Rape and Sexual Assault Centre, Victim Services, or Kids Help Phone. See More Info

For more information, contact Community Legal Information.

Important! By law, adults cannot have sexual relations with a person aged 16 or 17 if the adult is in a position of trust or authority over the young person. This would include coaches, teachers, and employers.