No sex please until we're 16, Canada says
CANADA: Seeking to crack down on sexual predators in the era of the
Internet, Canada's government brought in legislation would raise the
legal age of consent for sex to 16 from an unusually young 14.
Justice Minister Vic Toews said changing the law will bring Canada's
standards into line with those in several other countries, and he
complained Canada's relatively low age of consent has attracted sexual
criminals from more restrictive countries.
But the proposal, first outlined in April, will also allow youngsters
to have consensual sex with people up to five years older or younger,
even if that means one partner is aged 14 or 15.
"Our goal in this legislation is not to criminalize teenage youth who
may be involved in sexual activity with their peers," Toews told
reporters in Ottawa.
"It is to make the law more effective in protecting vulnerable young
people from adult sexual predators."
Consent standards vary around the world in terms of age, gender and
sexual orientation. In most U.S. states, the age of sexual consent is at
least 16 and in some cases - Arizona is one example - it is as old as
Toews predicted that the move would find broad support among
Canadians, with police forces across the country and with lawmakers from
all political stripes.
However, some advocacy groups, including the Canadian Federation for
Sexual Health, have already expressed concern about changing the law in
The federation, formerly Planned Parenthood, has said there is no
evidence that raising the age of consent will improve protection for
young people, and warned it may discourage young people from seeking out
birth control options or other assistance.
Toews introduced legislation in the House of Commons on Thursday, the
last day of proceedings before Parliament's summer break, so debate will
start only after Parliament resumes on Sept. 18. Calgary, Friday,