section 265(3)


This section states that even if a person does not resist, their lack of resistance does not constitute consent if it was due to force, threats, fear, fraud, or authority.


265(3) For the purposes of this section, no consent is obtained where the complainant submits or does not resist by reason of (a) the application of force to the complainant or to a person other than the complainant; (b) threats or fear of the application of force to the complainant or to a person other than the complainant; (c) fraud; or (d) the exercise of authority.


Section 265(3) of the Criminal Code of Canada provides guidelines for determining when consent to sexual activity has not been obtained. Consent is a critical component of sexual activity and requires that both parties freely agree to engage in the activity. Section 265(3) outlines four particular types of situations that would render consent invalid - (a) the application of force to the complainant or to a person other than the complainant; (b) threats or fear of the application of force to the complainant or to a person other than the complainant; (c) fraud; or (d) the exercise of authority. The first two categories - violence and threats of violence - are relatively straightforward and are intended to protect individuals from being forced or coerced into sexual activity against their will. The third category of fraud is somewhat more complex and refers to situations where sexual activity is obtained through deception. For example, if someone lies about their sexual history or their contraceptive use in order to convince someone to engage in sexual activity, that would constitute fraud. The fourth category, the exercise of authority, refers to situations where someone in a position of power uses their authority to coerce someone into sexual activity. This could include situations where, for example, a boss pressures an employee to engage in sexual activity in exchange for a job promotion or a teacher pressures a student to engage in sexual activity in order to improve their grades. Overall, Section 265(3) of the Criminal Code of Canada is designed to protect individuals from being forced or coerced into sexual activity against their will. By outlining specific situations where consent is not considered valid, the law makes it clear that sexual activity should always be based on freely given and enthusiastic consent.


Section 265(3) of the Criminal Code of Canada plays a crucial role in defining the limits of consent in sexual relations. It establishes that in situations where a complainant does not resist or submits to sexual acts due to the use of force, fear, fraud or authority, no valid consent has been obtained. This provision has significant implications for sexual assault cases where the accused may claim that the complainant had given consent for the sexual activity. Section 265(3) recognizes that there may be circumstances where a complainant is incapable of giving valid consent due to coercion or deception. For instance, if a perpetrator threatens to harm the complainant or her family, such pressure would deprive the complainant of free will, making any subsequent sexual activity non-consensual. Similarly, if an individual exploits his or her authority or position of power to coerce the complainant into sexual acts, this would also preclude any true consent. The framework provided in section 265(3) acknowledges power imbalance and coercion in sexual relations and holds the offenders accountable. This provision also reflects the Canadian legal system's recognition of the multifaceted nature of consent and the need to ensure equity and justice for all parties. The provision's breadth and applicability emphasize the importance of obtaining true, voluntary, and informed consent in all sexual relations, regardless of the parties' identities or social status. Moreover, section 265(3) of the Criminal Code of Canada assists in fighting rape culture in society by reinforcing the legitimacy of the idea of unequivocal consent. The current social climate has seen discussions arise over the contentious nature of what constitutes consent. The clarity provided by the idea of no valid consent being gained through coercion, threats, force or deceit removes any doubt regarding what is or is not a violation of another person's autonomy and right to bodily integrity. The legal framework laid out by section 265(3) is a powerful tool in preventing sexual misconduct by ensuring accountability for un-consented sexual activities. However, it is paradoxically not foolproof in its implementation, as a wide range of factors may challenge a claimant's right to receive justice, including societal stigma and the power dynamics present in the criminal justice system. In conclusion, Section 265(3) of the Criminal Code of Canada serves as a legal framework that protects individuals' right to consent in sexual relationships. The essential role it plays in the prevention of sexual abuses highlights the Canadian legal system's ongoing efforts to protect the vulnerable from predators. It is critical to recognize the nuances of consent and to empower and educate individuals about their rights and responsibilities. By doing so, we would create an environment where the idea of true, voluntary, and informed consent is upheld for all sexual relationships, to the benefit of all.


Strategic Considerations when dealing with Section 265(3) of the Criminal Code of Canada Section 265(3) of the Criminal Code of Canada defines the scope of what constitutes as non-consensual sexual activity. It outlines various situations where a complainant's submission without explicit consent does not qualify as consent. As such, it is an important section to consider in any sexual assault or sexual harassment case. From the perspective of a defense attorney, strategic considerations include the following: 1. Build a strong case, based on facts A defense attorney needs to establish a strong factual foundation in any case that involves an accusation of sexual assault or harassment. In this context, the burden of proof is on the Crown, and it is the defense attorney's job to ensure that their client is protected from wrongful accusations. This may involve fact-finding, identifying witnesses, reviewing available evidence, and challenging the prosecution's case if necessary. 2. Challenge the Crown's interpretation of the evidence The Crown will present the evidence, including witness testimonies and any other proof of non-consent. The defense attorney must be familiar with the law, including Section 265(3), and knowledgeably challenge the Crown's interpretation of the evidence from a legal perspective. For instance, if the prosecution views a complainant's submission in the absence of consent as an admission of guilt, the defense attorney can use legal arguments to establish how Section 265(3) applies to the case. 3. Identify potential witness and character evidence to support the defense Where there is insufficient documented evidence, character evidence can be introduced to demonstrate that the accused's actions do not align with the behavior of a predator. Additionally, identifying potential witnesses, especially those who may have observed the events that allegedly occurred, can be invaluable with respect to backing up the defendant's narrative while discussing Section 265(3). 4. Consider alternative charges Given the possible application of the consent-based provisions under Section 265(3), counsel should explore other possible charges that may be levied, including ones that relate to less serious offenses such as assault or battery. It is worth noting that an offense as permitted by this section may still constitute another offense such as assault. Strategies to employ under Section 265(3) of the Criminal Code of Canada In addition to strategic considerations, defense attorneys can take the following strategies as they relate to Section 265(3): 1. Argue for a lack of credible evidence If there is no physical or corroborative evidence, and/or the complainant does not have sufficient clarity beyond any reasonable doubt, the defense attorney can argue that there is insufficient evidence to establish the non-consensual nature of the act. 2. Call into question conflicting testimonies If there are conflicts in the testimonies provided by various witnesses (including the complainant), the defense attorney must dramatize those inconsistencies and contradictions to try and create doubt. 3. Challenge the psychological credibility of complainant Given that the complainant is the sole witness of what occurred (in some cases), the defense attorney can to argue that the complainant's testimony is not credible due to mental health issues, alcohol or drug use, or personal agendas. Additionally, if there are past events in terms of mental health issues or other related personal issues, these may be leveraged to question the complainant's psychological stability. In conclusion, judicial decisions in relation to non-consensual activities within the Criminal Code of Canada require a strong understanding of the facts and law behind Section 265(3). Given the complexity of these cases and the devastating impact they can have, it is essential that defense attorneys are familiar with the strategies outlined above and carry out strategic and comprehensive preparation the moment they take on such a case.