"In fact, it's so much more technical than that it's hard for people to understand," Ms. Among the exemptions, sex between peers under 16 is okay, as long as neither is in a position of authority and they are 12 or older.
and Canadians Addressing Sexual Exploitation (CASE). One of the motivators for the reform of these laws in Canada was the case of Dale Eric Beckham.
But in that respect the law has not changed, says Ms. In the case of, say, a 15- and a 19-year-old, if the 19-year-old is the skating coach, "it would be a crime, as it has always been." "The fact that it's less than five years doesn't make it automatically legal.
It just means that it's not automatically illegal." Another area of concern for critics is that it remains illegal for anyone under 18 to participate in anal intercourse - critics say this targets gay male teenagers - even though the law has been struck down as unconstitutional by many provincial courts of appeal.
"When you call it the age of consent, that's misleading to kids, who will think it's not permitted, that it's a crime to be sexually active before the age of 16," says Martha Mackinnon, the executive director of Justice for Children and Youth, a Toronto legal aid clinic serving low-income youth.
"A huge concern is that kids won't seek medical help, won't seek counselling, they won't seek birth control.
In Canada, sexual activity with children as young as 14 (until May 2008) was legal as long as it was consensual and the adult is not in a position of authority or dependency.