Sports provide a rich environment for young athletes to meet other passionate athletes. When they practice their sport, athletes from different age groups spend time with each other. It might even happen that young athletes are almost the same age as their coach.
It is crucial to understand that if a person is in a position of authority or trust (in a coach-athlete relationship, for example), then the consent of the underage athlete IS NEVER RECOGNIZED under the law.
It is equally important to understand how the law interprets sexual consent. Rules vary depending on the age of the people involved and the relationship that exists between these people.
- In Canada, the minimum age of consent to engage in sexual activities is 16 years old.
- If a person is in a position of authority or trust relative to an underage teenage (under 18 years old), the consent given by that teenager to engage in sexual activities can never be recognized under the law.
- However, if both people who wish to engage in sexual activities are underage, sexual consent is recognized:
- if the youngest of both partners is 12 or 13 years old, if the oldest partner is less than 2 years older and if the oldest partner is not in a position of authority, trust or exploitation;
- if the youngest of both partners is 14 or 15 years old, if the oldest partner is less than 5 years older and if the oldest partner is not in a position of authority, trust or exploitation.
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