Legal dating age restrictions


26-Dec-2014 15:05

That age limit has not changed and remains in place today, with narrow exceptions for consensual activity between young persons less than two years apart in age. For example, the Badgley Report notes that seduction of a girl over 12 and under 16 "of previously chaste character" was made an offence in 1886.The offence was retained in the 1892 Criminal Code, in respect of girls between 14 and 16, and remained in force until 1920, when the offence was changed to prohibit "sexual intercourse." After 1920, the question of who was more to "blame" became an issue that could lead to acquittal but the offence remained in force until 1988.The history of age of consent laws in Canada has evolved considerably in the past century so that the existing Criminal Code prohibitions against sexual contact with children bear scant resemblance to those that were in place as recently as 20 years ago.As pointed out in the 1984 Badgley Report on Sexual Offences Against Children, Canada has a long history of prohibiting sexual intercourse with young females, regardless of their consent.In addition to those offences reviewed above, the "seduction" of a female under 18 "under promise of marriage" was made an offence in Canada in 1886 and amended in 1887 to apply to females under 21.In 1920, the offence of "seduction" (without reference to promise of marriage) was made applicable to girls "of previously chaste character" between 16 and 18.The documents on this site were originally prepared for general distribution to Canadian Parliamentarians to provide background and analysis of issues that may arise in the course of their Parliamentary duties.They are made available here as a service to the public.

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With the advent of the Criminal Code in 1892, the strict prohibition against sexual intercourse was retained for girls under 14 (not married to the accused) and the law was strengthened to make an accused’s belief about the young woman’s age irrelevant.

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Amendments to the Criminal Code in 1988 repealed the aforementioned unlawful intercourse and seduction offences.

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