Glossary of Terms and Definitions

Glossary Term: Consent


The active, ongoing, informed, conscious and voluntary agreement to engage in physical contact or sexual activity. It is the responsibility of the person wanting to engage in sexual activity to obtain consent from the other and to recognize that consent can be withdrawn at any time.

  • Consent must be affirmatively given and cannot be assumed by an individual's silence or inaction.
  • Consent cannot be implied by a current or past relationship, by consent to another activity, by failure to say "no" or by the absence of perceived resistance.
  • Consent cannot be obtained through abuse of a position of trust, power or authority.
  • A person is unable to give consent when they are incapacitated by alcohol and/or drugs. The Respondent's mistaken belief that there was consent, formed due to their own intoxication or impairment from drugs or alcohol, is not a defense to the allegation of sexual violence/misconduct.
  • A person's sexual reputation or sexual history cannot be relied upon to establish that consent was given for any other sexual activity.
  • A person is incapable of giving consent if they are asleep, unconscious, drugged, or otherwise unable to communicate.
  • There is no consent where there is coercion, manipulation, force, threats, or intimidation towards any person, or where there is fraud or withholding of critical information that could affect a person's decision to consent.
  • A person is incapable of giving consent if they are under the legal age of consent as defined by the Criminal Code of Canada.
  • The fact that consent to a sexual relationship was given in the past does not mean that consent is deemed to exist for all future sexual activity.
  • Consent cannot be assumed within the context of relationships, including dating or marriage.
  • A person can withdraw consent at any time during the course of a sexual encounter therefore consent must be ongoing.
  • A person may be unable to give consent if they have a mental disability.
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