The Great Youth Criminal Justice Act Debate

The Act goes into force April 1, 2003

YCJA

YOA

Criminal Code

April 2003

Notice to Teachers:

This part of the debate contains mature subject matter which may be appropriate for high school students but probably not elementary students. Please use your discretion.

Note 2007: See Bill C-22 Amendments to the Criminal Code

New: December 2010: Enter Your Comments and Opiniion Respecting the YCJA

Resolved that: 

The age of consent for sexual intercourse in Canada should be raised to 18. Anyone who engaged in sexual intercourse (male or female even with consent) under age 18 would be guilty of an offence.

The Criminal Code of Canada would be amended as follows:

150.1 (1) Where an accused is charged with an offence under section 151 or 152 or subsection 153(1), 160(3) or 173(2) or is charged with an offence under section 271, 272 or 273 in respect of a complainant under the age of eighteen years, it is not a defence that the complainant consented to the activity that forms the subject-matter of the charge.

This would protect persons under age 18 from all sexual predators. However, it would also prohibit sexual activity among adolescents.

What do you think? What about kissing, fondling, breast touching, and other sexual activities? Should these be permitted under age 18? Can these activities constitute "sexual assault"? These activities are physical contact with a sexual purpose and if consent is no defence, the behaviour constitutes sexual assault.


City:
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada 
Date:
06 January 2003
Time:
10:21:29

Comments

This proposal has been raised in the past by the Canada Family Action Coalition. The following current comment concerning lobbying of the Minister of Justice can be found at their website at www.familyaction.org/Articles/action-issues/age-of-consent/press-rel-dec5.htm:

"little progress has been made in the age of consent issue. The focus on the relationship and the perpetrator's behavior is a plus but it is still legal for a 45 year old man to have sex with a 14 year old boy or girl - that is a fact . That is troubling. That is not child protection. Protecting children means that there can be no defenses for having sex with them . And this new legislation does not limit the defence sufficiently.

The Canada Family Action Coalition has produced a brochure which can be found at: 

CFAC's Age of Consent Brochure (PDF Format - Acrobat Reader required to open this file)

The brochure suggests that members of the public send a note to the Minister of Justice urging, among other things:

"Canadians do not vote, consume alcohol, fight

wars or engage in other adult activities legally

until age 18. Sexual activity is an adult

activity with adult consequences including

disease and pregnancy."

Moderator's Note:

It is interesting that the CFAC doesn't advocate that Canadians should not be prosecuted for criminal offences until age 18. Perhaps the real issue is equality before the law. Why shouldn't young persons have the same rights as adults, including sex?

For archives of a previous discussion of this topic please see www.lawyers.ca/tgyad/debates/oct99.htm.

 


City:
Kitchener, ON
Date:
14 January 2003
Time:
21:52:50

Comments

what happens if both parties are under the age of 18? Are they both charged? I think young children from the ages of 12 to 18 are already suffering from enough confusion, hypocrisy and frustration that was brought on by the Young Offenders Act. You can leave home at 12 but you can't work. You can smoke at 16 (bylaw that is still in effect) but you can't buy the stuff until you are 19, you can't drink until you are 19 (unless you are in your own home and your parent allows you to), you can't buy a lotto ticket until you are 18 yet you can get a driver's license at 16 (graduated at that) which can seriously harm or even kill someone and you can't vote until you are 18. When you are 16 you can quit school without your parent's consent, get a job, get an apartment but wait, that is all you can do. Get real with the laws and make them uniform and then maybe you won't have so many frustrated, confused and angry children trying to find ways to get around all the double talk and hypocrisy.


City:
Belfast PEI
Date:
21 January 2003
Time:
22:19:47

Comments

This would be a living nightmare. An 18- year old senior would be a sexual predator for even kissing his 17-year girlfriend. The gun registry was bad enough, but this is just some- thing else. At sixteen you should be able to have sex with whoever you want and move out on your own if you like. Under a new oppressive law like this 16 and 17 year olds, who are almost adults, could be removed from their homes and treated like little children. Give me a break!


City:
Burlington
Date:
22 January 2003
Time:
17:45:11

Comments

I think its preposterous to think that once you reach the magical age of 18, you mysteriously become responsible enough to handle all these rights and responsibilities. I know plenty of 16 and 17 year olds who are mature enough to handle the responsibility, as well there are many 18 year olds who aren't mature enough. At the age of 16 or 17 you should be able to have sex with a consenting mate who is close in age. under this law a 17 and 18 year old couple could not have sex but a 18 and 19 year old could. its funny the way the policy makers see the world.


City:
Burlington
Date:
23 January 2003
Time:
23:45:29

Comments

I think kids shouldn't be having sex until they are married


City:
Dallas
Date:
27 February 2003
Time:
20:06:10

Comments

leave as is as long as they have consent


City:
Cambridge
Date:
17 March 2003
Time:
13:23:48

Comments

I think the age limit for sexual intercourse should be 18 also. I am 15 and I have lots of guy and girl friends. And most of them have already had sex. And without condoms but they got lucky no little babies yet. But I do think that its ok to have oral sex among high school kids from grade 10-12. It totally normal but it should not be taken to far.

 


City:
Ajax
Date:
31 March 2003
Time:
21:17:40

Comments

I believe that the age of consent should be raised to 18 when someone above the age of 18 would like to have intercourse with a young person. People under the age of 18 are still going through very emotional and unstable times and are not in the right frame of mind to consent to sexual activity with an adult over the age of 18. Once they mature they will then be able to make clear and responsible decisions regarding their sexual activity and take responsibility for any decisions made.


City:
Wolfville, NS
Date:
03 April 2003
Time:
13:39:45

Comments

I have read some of the comments that have been made on this topic, and feel that those who have put their "2 cents" worth in are obviously young themselves.

The laws have blurred many lines when it comes to responsible behaviors. We have been preaching "RIGHTS WITHOUT RESPONSIBILITIES" for quite some time now. I have seen society as a whole go down the toilet. The Law wants the parents to be responsible for their children without rights and the children to have rights without responsibilities. Once the child has made a decision based on whatever knowledge they have they will follow through on those choices. They will not stop to think of the consequences. Unless society is consistent on what rights and RESPONSIBILITIES they have the lines will continually be blurred, not only for the youth but for the adults as well.

Adult choices are just that choices!...if you make them be prepared to accept the consequences without crying like the children you truly are. Adult games should not be played by children.


City:
Brampton
Date:
07 April 2003
Time:
23:38:20

Comments

Honestly, changing the age of consent would do nothing but take time away from our already overworked justice system. There's no need to charge and prosecute people who are exercising natural urges. Young people have been sexually adventurous since the beginning of time, changing the age of consent would just be taking a perfectly natural activity and making it a crime. Most of the people I know lost their virginity before the age of 18, and to call these people criminals is laughable. They're good hard-working members of society.


City:
Brampton
Date:
07 April 2003
Time:
23:45:06

Comments

I fully believe the children of Canada should not be subjected unto the horrors of sex until 18. Back in my day you couldn't participate in relations until thine beard touched thine chest. Now if you'll excuse me I have to tend to the barn with Ezekiel then it's off to ye olde butter churn.


City:
Winnipeg Manitoba
Date:
08 April 2003
Time:
14:42:36

Comments

This is ridiculous! I agree with some that it's a good way to overstuff the goddamn jail! Everyone is responsible for their own problems, so, leave those people alone if they love each other- of more than friends-- ALONE!!! if the person thinks it's unsafe (about sex that is), run away  if s/he is forcing you. 


City:
11235
Date:
21 April 2003
Time:
11:15:19

Comments

it is a good point of view


City:
St.Marys Ontario
Date:
23 April 2003
Time:
11:14:39

Comments

I think you R all Stupid and should get a life let people be people! and if people are not mature enough to have sex so be it people do have to learn some way even if it is the hard way I am 17 and so this would mean next year I wouldn't be able to date a person a year younger than me give me a break people! I so think it is gross for a 50 year old year to like young people but shouldn't the parents be looking in to that? and I don't think it is wrong for someone in grade 11 to date a grade 9 or someone in grade 12 to date someone in college like second year I wouldn't think it was wrong for a 17 yr to date a 21 year old but I would think it was wrong if a 15yr old dated a 35 year old it makes a lot of difference so maybe you should move it up to 15 or 16 but not 18!


City:
NYC
Date:
25 April 2003
Time:
21:22:32

Comments

I love to see how many people comment on this sort of thing with no knowledge of biology or psychology. Also, it is not unheard of for people to marry their HS sweethearts, or people they met at a young age. This would mean that even if a couple truly loved each other and planned on getting married, they would not be able to engage in any type of sexual conduct until both of them were over 18. And yes, it is presented as sex right now, but it is so vague it would only be a matter of time until the loopholes were opened up and kissing became an arrest able offense. People need to grow up and cast aside the veils of ignorance and fake innocence they all adopt. I've known people perfectly capable of handling "adult" things at the age of 12. Most people I know have already been exposed to so much harshness that this is nothing but a barrier for the 'adults' that don't like the way reality looks and won't view it without rose tinted glasses. When people who govern and make decisions like this (including parents, not just politicians) start living in the real world then maybe they will see just how ridiculous this sort of thing is. As it stands I don't even feel these people have the right to terrorize people the way they do (yes, parents again included).


City:
Kirkland Lake, ON
Date:
27 April 2003
Time:
18:36:40

Comments

Hi all! I was browsing the net since my psychology class is having this type of debate. My view is that raising the age of consent to the age of 18 would limit people from a lot of good experiences in life; however, people should be mature enough to know not only what they are getting into, but also the consequences. The Ontario Marriage Act states that a person can get married at 16-17 providing that they have consent from their parents. So, they an get married but not have sex?? There is a lot of problems with that picture.

Also, looking at the male and female anatomy and psychological growth, most females are fully mature at the age of 16 while males are not far behind. Therefore, if their mind and body are physically capable, they are mature enough to have a job, drive a car, live on their own, and think responsibly, then they should be able to make the decision about whether they should have sex or not. Waiting another year or two would be stupid.

There is also the problem with abortions. With more young people engaging in sexual intercourse, there are more babies (yes I believe that a fetus is a person) being murdered everyday. I believe in the right to life, and if the age of consent was raised then perhaps the abortion rate would decline--even a little bit. Maybe it would also reduce many of the STD's that are 'floating' around out there.

Sex is not something to be taken lightly. Young people are just discovering who they are and how much responsibility they can handle. Sex involves not only physical, but mental and emotional levels as well.

I do not believe that that Ontario should raise the age to 18; however, they should raise it to 16. It should not stay at 14 and let younger children be sexually exploited. (Basically saying that any adult may have sex with a 14 year old providing that they have 'consent' and even that is a vague term in the Criminal Code). The justice system should tie up all the loose ends so that young people do not end up falling through the holes.

Personally, I am 17 years old, I have a boyfriend, and we are both going to wait until marriage before engaging in sexual intercourse.

There's my two cents, :)


City:
kirkland lake
Date:
29 April 2003
Time:
19:43:31

Comments

I don't agree with this at all! Doing this would just raise the amount of people who are having underage sex, it will also raise the amount of people being charged with statutory rape. Raising the age to 18 takes away the right of teenagers to make their own decisions, and to live their own lives. Some people are married by the age of 18, so why shouldn't they be able to have sex by that age. Finally doing this, would criminalize teens having sex with other teens, that is not even close to being acceptable. Two willing consenting teens should not be punished for deciding to have sex.


City:
Richmond, BC
Date:
05 May 2003
Time:
23:07:20

Comments

I think that this rule is right, and that adolescents should be protected from sexual assault.


City:
Edmonton/Devon
Date:
07 May 2003
Time:
11:04:34

Comments

If this law ever comes into effect. I'll be the first to break it. If i were to ever get charged for kissing my 17 year old gf and im 18. I would fight this charge until there was nothing left of me. This code will not stop any rape or assault or anyone over 18 to someone under 18. It happens now, it will still happen. If people want to have sex or enage in sexual content it is them, not you or us. It is only are concern if someone comes to you and tells you that it is a problem. If you do not want to be involved in sex or sexual content then do not hang out with that crowd or get your self into a situation where that will happen. Plus I agree with the guy or girl from Burlington. Sex should be saved for marriage. once you are married, god says the bed is open for you and your wife. We need to exploit the good sound of saving sex until marriage. that is the things that should be taught in the schools. not Oh, its ok to have sex before marriage, just wear a condom. Thats so much more crap than any of us can take. If everyone had sex before marriage and were supportive of condoms like the damn Liberals are. This world would be in more terror and hell. Let kids be how they are. They will learn. But we need to teach them the ways of preventing this sexual content ways of life. If every helped together to stop this sex before marriage, this world would be a better place and divorces would be reduced by at least 20% im going to guess. Thanks


City:
LaSalle ON
Date:
10 May 2003
Time:
23:52:42

Comments

Is it just me or is it 1894?? What is next..how many of our basic fundamental rights can the government take away? Or is it because the people at question in this law are under legal voting age and not "adults"? Is that why it's alright to take away their rights? No matter how much insane amounts of control the government has on society people are still people and follow natural drives to procreate and maintain our society, thus having sex.


City:
Eagle River
Date:
14 May 2003
Time:
02:00:05

Comments

I do not believe that adult activities should take place when your 18. I mean please like anyone is going to listen, its a natural thing. Some people think that teenagers are to young to know anything, but we know alot more than you would think. I mean sure there are some who arent quite that smart and have sex every day with 30 different people. Because everyone is doing it and they think its some kool thing.But thier are also people who know when they are emotionaly and physicaly ready to have sex. so why dont you let them decide, after all its thier bodies.


City:
Ottawa
Date:
24 May 2003
Time:
19:59:45

Comments

Im am shocked at this post. 18? Let's just put everyone in jail why don't we?

I can undersatnd the theory behing this; however, there would be very proper youths charged.

I am in the process of graduating high school and going to the US with a FULL athletic scholarship.

I work at a pool, lifeguarding and teaching swimming lessons. I am a respectable person and have respectable friends.

BUT, guess we need people like this charged/in jail since I had sex at 17.

PLEASE Let's be reasonable.


City:
Mississauga
Date:
27 May 2003
Time:
18:55:14

Comments

Okay...what's next? By now, the government has gone way past the point of simply infringing on our fundamental rights and freedoms! The only things accomplished by raising the legal age of consent would be (as stated before) filling up jails with 18 year old, hormone crazed "sexual predators". Intimate choices like at what age to begin having sex, have absolutely nothing to do with the government and everything to do with being allowed the right to freely make your own, unobstructed choices about what you feel you should do. Changing the legal age would only assist in putting a strain on a great many teenage relationships (ei: my own). I have an 18 year old boyfriend and we have been going out for a year and a half. However, my birthday is later in the year, through no fault of my own, obviously, and this law would only make it more difficult for people like me to continue on in our relationships. My view on this subject is that if a person thinks that they are mature enough to make a decision as to whether or not they should have sex, they should be mature enough to deal with the consequences that can come from sex (diseases, pregnancy etc.) and thus, should think carefully before making their own decisions, not having a government that knows nothing of the lives of teenagers make their decisions for them.


City:
Edmonton/Devon
Date:
28 May 2003
Time:
11:36:07

Comments

So im back again. This law will stop nothing. This law will just put more people in jail cells and cost the tax payers more money in the long run and cost more to the government. If you are ready to have sex and now what the consequences are then do it for yourself and for the other person. But do not think of yourself first, do it for a reason. Do it for the better of your gf or bf. If you love the person and are emotionaly and physicaly ready to have sex with the person you love then do it. If you are not ready then do not do it. Never do anything you will regret, ever. Regret will just hurt us more and more. so if you do regret, just forget and think of it as a lesson. Sometimes sex is more than just sex. The feeling and emotionals involde with sex is more than the actual feeling. Feelings are the thing we need most in life, we need to be loved and having sex will never give you love or recieve love. If your not going to save sex until marriage, atleast think of that person more and more before you have sex. If you do decide to have sex then it should be the person you are going to marry. Think before you do anything. The feeling is greater than the sex. The actraction after the sex is the most wonderful feeling ever and the words I Love You are the best thing in the world to here from your gf. Sitting there after it, looking into her eyes, you know you love her, if you do love her. You know that she is the one for you and you will marry her in time. When you are old enough to prosose (ask her to marry you) you will do it. That day will also be a day to remember and never forget that day. You will look back at the first day you met her and remember it like it was yesterday and you will feel happier than anything and anyone. That feeling is so great and when you know that she wants to marry you to and you both mean it. People these days do not think that youth do not know what true feelings are and think we are to young for relationships marriage. But when you find that person you will know that they are for you. We are young but we know our feelings and what we want to do. We to have dreams adn goals in our life. Do not destroy out goals and dreams in life by taking this law into effect. We are young and hopefully know what we are doing. I sure know what i am doing with my life. Just remember, dont regret it, if you think you will ever have regrets, then dont do it. But if you love them and are marriage or engaged or what to marry them and they want to marry you too, then do it for both of you. Make sure it wont ruin anything. This law will not stop Love and the attraction it brings between a male and female. You can not stop love and do not try to control love either. Love is what comes naturally. Love is caring for the person and being there for them through everything and being able to work it out with out quiting. Being beside them all the time and asking them if anythings wrong and just being there for them when they need you most. Love is a feeling, NOT sex. Sex just might bring the attraction more closer and bring you together more emotionaly. Abstence should still be considered by all people who are not sure of their life or who they love and dont know if its the right person. Abstenece should be exploited in schools all around the country and the world. But do not try to control us. We are us, you are not us. you do not know our feelings and what we are going through and how we feel towards are gf or bf. let us be in peace. teach us the good ways, but if we are not willing to change we will not change. Teach us right, but don't try to force anything of us. We will make the right choice for us hopefully. We are what we want to be too. we will be at your age soon and think about this too but not until then i will think about where i am at now. regret nothing in your life, love who you want to love.


City:
Calgary
Date:
30 May 2003
Time:
18:23:30

Comments

I agree i think that this would protect all who engages is sexual contact now.


City:
Newarak Nj
Date:
03 June 2003
Time:
13:25:25

Comments

you people are crazy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


City:
Burlington
Date:
15 June 2003
Time:
04:48:13

Comments

Just a practical question which is connected to this debate.

My best friend (26) is going out with a 17 year old girl, and yes, they do have (safe) sex. Against my advice they have kept the fact that they are dating a secret from her mom, and lo and behold ... she finds out. Not about them having sex, but about them dating. She is furious and makes them break up, threatening to involve the police if she finds out they still get together in any kind of way.

So obviously she suspects them having sex, but the question is, would she indeed be able to do anything about this situation, legally?

In my opinion it is terribly sad to see these two people hurt so much because of the girl's mother (who refuses to talk to him). She says they can do anything once she turns 18, but that will take another 9 months.

These two people love each other very much. I wonder how anyone could see that as a crime.


City:
new york city
Date:
28 June 2003
Time:
16:01:31

Comments

what is the age of consent to have sex?



Revised: 09 Dec 2010 10:56:22 -0500 .