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.

In June 2006, the Canadian government proposed a bill to raise the age of consent from 14 to 16, while creating a close-in-age exemption for sex between 14-15 year olds and partners less than 5 years older, and keeping an existing close-in-age clause for sex between 12-13 year olds and partners less than 2 years older.

The intention of the bill is to target "sexual predators" and pimps.

The Age of Consent ranges from as low as 11 to as high as 20 years old across the world.

Click any country for details, or view countries with the highest & lowest ages of consent.

The exemptions become invalid if a third person is present of if the act does not take place in private. A close in age exemptions, commonly known as "Romeo and Juliet law" in the United States, is a law designed to prevent the prosecution of underage couples who engage in consensual sex when both participants are significantly close in age to each other, and one or both are below the age of consent.

Depending on the situation, the Canada close-in-age exemption may completely exempt qualifying close-in-age couples from the age of consent law, or merely provide a legal defence that can be used in the event of prosecution.

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This will place youth at an increased risk of contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections." They referenced a Globe and Mail article who highlighted the opinions of Martha Mackinnon (Justice for Children and Youth, executive director) who had expressed concern this would decrease the pursuit of condoms.

This proposal has received criticism from different organizations and individuals.

Consequently, the only crime Beckham could be prosecuted for in Canada was a relatively minor offense of possession of child pornography.