Learn about your right to make choices about sex and relationships, and about the laws in Canada that protect you.
Consent means getting permission to do something. It’s freely given and means people agree to do something together. Anyone can change their mind at any time.
Consent to sex means partners agree to sexual activity and everyone understands what they’re agreeing to. Partners must give and get consent every time they have sex.
Sexual activity includes kissing, sexual touching, and sexual intercourse (oral, anal, and vaginal sex). You have the right to decide to have sex or not.
cannot give consent if they are:
You can talk about consent by asking questions like:
Ask, listen for the answer, and accept when someone says no. Consent is about choice.
Everyone has the right to make choices about sex. Consent laws are to protect you and help you enjoy healthy relationships.
Sexual activity without consent is
In Canada, age of consent means the age when a youth can legally agree to sexual activity. Age of consent laws apply to all forms of sexual activity, ranging from kissing and fondling to sexual intercourse.
The law says a 16-year-old can consent to sexual activity, except if the:
By law, you must be 18 to have sex with a person in a position of authority.
What if I'm 14 or 15 and thinking of having sex?
According to the law, a 14 or 15-year-old can consent to sexual activity if the partner is less than 5 years older and not in a position of authority.
What if I'm 12 or 13?
According to the law, a 12 or 13-year-old can consent to sexual activity if the partner is less than 2 years older and not in a position of authority.
Children under 12 years old cannot consent to any type of sexual activity. Having sex with a child younger than 12 is against the law and is sexual abuse.
In Alberta, people younger than 18 can get healthcare without a parent's permission if they are a mature minor.
A mature minor means you fully understand:
How well you understand information is more important than how old you are.
You have the right to:
If you're a mature minor, healthcare providers can only share information with your parents (including if you went to a clinic) if they have your permission.
When people know about consent, they are more likely to have healthy, happy, and enjoyable relationships.
Parents and caregivers can start talking about consent with children when they are young. This prepares children for healthy conversations about sexual consent when they are older. Learn more at
Teaching Sexual Health.
We can all practice consent by:
Talk to a parent (or an adult you trust) if you've had:
If you have questions, need to find a sexual health clinic near you, or want more information, call Health Link at 811 anytime, day or night, to talk to a registered nurse.
Current as of: January 5, 2023
Author: Sexual & Reproductive Health, Alberta Health Services
This material is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified health professional. This material is intended for general information only and is provided on an "as is", "where is" basis. Although reasonable efforts were made to confirm the accuracy of the information, Alberta Health Services does not make any representation or warranty, express, implied or statutory, as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, applicability or fitness for a particular purpose of such information. Alberta Health Services expressly disclaims all liability for the use of these materials, and for any claims, actions, demands or suits arising from such use.