A History of Canadian Sexual Assault Legislation
1900-2000


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Assault

Note: Assault has been an offence in the Criminal Code since 1892, but was not included in this website until 1982, when the offence of "Rape" was abolished and replaced by the hierarchy of sexual assault offences, which were categorized under assaults rather than sexual offences.


An Act to amend the Criminal Code in relation to sexual offences and other offences against the person and to amend certain other Acts in relation thereto or in consequence thereof, S.C. 1980-81-82-83, c. 125, s. 19.

[Assault]
244. (1) A person commits an assault when
        (a) without the consent of another person, he applies force intentionally to that other person, directly or indirectly;
        (b) he attempts or threatens, by an act or gesture, to apply force to another person, if he has, or causes that other person to believe upon reasonable grounds that he has, present ability to effect his purpose; or
        (c) while openly wearing or carrying a weapon or an imitation thereof, he accosts or impedes another person or begs.
    [Application]
    (2) This section applies to all forms of assault, including sexual assault, sexual assault with a weapon, threats to a third party or causing bodily harm and aggravated sexual assault.
    [Consent]
    (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.
    [Accused's belief as to consent]
    (4) Where an accused alleges that he believed that the complainant consented to the conduct that is the subject-matter of the charge, a judge, if satisfied that there is sufficient evidence and that, if believed by the jury, the evidence would constitute a defence, shall instruct the jury, when reviewing all the evidence relating to the determination of the honesty of the accused's belief, to consider the presence or absence of reasonable grounds for that belief.

[Assault]
245. Every one who commits an assault is guilty of
    (a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for five years; or
    (b) an offence punishable on summary conviction.

[Assault with a weapon or causing bodily harm]
245.1 (1) Every one who, in committing an assault,
        (a) carries, uses or threatens to use a weapon or an imitation thereof, or
        (b) causes bodily harm to the complainant,
is guilty of an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for ten years.
    [Definition of "bodily harm"]
    (2) For the purposes of this section and sections 245.3 and 246.2, "bodily harm" means any hurt or injury to the complainant that interferes with his or her health or comfort and that is more than merely transient or trifling in nature.

[Aggravated assault]
245.2 (1) Every one commits an aggravated assault who wounds, maims, disfigures or endangers the life of the complainant.
    [Punishment]
    (2) Every one who commits an aggravated assault is guilty of an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for fourteen years.


Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46, ss. 265-268.

[Assault]
265. (1) A person commits an assault when
        (a) without the consent of another person, he applies force intentionally to that other person, directly or indirectly;
        (b) he attempts or threatens, by an act or a gesture, to apply force to another person, if he has, or causes that other person to believe on reasonable grounds that he has, present ability to effect his purpose; or
        (c) while openly wearing or carrying a weapon or an imitation thereof, he accosts or impedes another person or begs.
    [Application]
    (2) This section applies to all forms of assault, including sexual assault, sexual assault with a weapon, threats to a third party or causing bodily harm and aggravated sexual assault.
    [Consent]
    (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.
    [Accusedís belief as to consent]
    (4) Where an accused alleges that he believed that the complainant consented to the conduct that is the subject-matter of the charge, a judge, if satisfied that there is sufficient evidence and that, if believed by the jury, the evidence would constitute a defence, shall instruct the jury, when reviewing all the evidence relating to the determination of the honesty of the accusedís belief, to consider the presence or absence of reasonable grounds for that belief. R.S., c. C-34, s. 244; 1974-75-76, c. 93, s. 21; 1980-81-82-83, c. 125, s. 19.

[Assault]
266. Every one who commits an assault is guilty of
    (a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years; or
    (b) an offence punishable on summary conviction. R.S., c. C-34, s. 245; 1972, c. 13, s. 21; 1974-75-76, c. 93, s. 22; 1980-81-82-83, c. 125, s. 19.

[Assault with a weapon or causing bodily harm]
267. (1) Every one who, in committing an assault,
        (a) carries, uses or threatens to use a weapon or an imitation thereof, or
        (b) causes bodily harm to the complainant,
is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years.
    [Definition of "bodily harm"]
    (2) For the purposes of this section and sections 269 and 272, "bodily harm" means any hurt or injury to the complainant that interferes with the health or comfort of the complainant and that is more than merely transient or trifling in nature. 1980-81-82-83, c. 125, s. 19.

[Aggravated assault]
268. (1) Every one commits an aggravated assault who wounds, maims, disfigures or endangers the life of the complainant.
    [Punishment]
    (2) Every one who commits an aggravated assault is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years. 1980-81-82-83, c. 125, s. 19.


Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1994, S.C. 1994, c. 44, s. 17.

[Assault with a weapon or causing bodily harm]
267. Every one who, in committing an assault,
    (a) carries, uses or threatens to use a weapon or an imitation thereof, or
    (b) causes bodily harm to the complainant,
is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years or an offence punishable on summary conviction and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding eighteen months.

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