Understand Consent is a tri-campus initiative. Find resources at the University of Toronto Scarborough or at the University of Toronto Mississauga.

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual violence, support and resources are available.

See a full list of compiled on and off campus resources.

If your situation is not urgent, call the Sexual Violence Prevention & Support Centre at 416-978-2266.


Understand consent It's about consent
Consent tips Tips on asking for consent
Consent resources Understand consent and build healthy relationships

Understand consent

It’s about consent

  • From hugging and touching to sexual contact, understanding consent is an important part of any relationship.

Consent must be given, not taken.

  • Consent is the informed agreement to take part in intimate activity. If you want to be intimate with another person, it is your responsibility to ask first.

It must be clear, verbal and voluntary.

  • Silence or the lack of resistance is not consent.
  • Someone who is coerced, intimidated, forced or threatened to take part in intimate activity has not consented.

It’s needed every time.

  • Consent to one activity does not constitute consent to any other activity. It is required each time, regardless of previous intimate contact.
  • Consent can be withdrawn at any time.

It can only be given while lucid and alert.

  • Someone who is asleep, unconscious or impaired cannot give consent.

Any form of intimacy with another person without their consent is assault.

Understand consent

Consent tips

Tip 1: Communication is key

  • Keep you and your partner safe. Show respect for YES and NO messages.
  • People change their minds. If someone says stop, respect it.
  • Watch for non-verbal messages that show discomfort, such as lack of eye contact, crossing arms, or not responding.
  • Consent must be clear and voluntary.

Tip 2: Consent is enthusiastic

  • You are excited for your partners, and your own, enjoyment.

Tip 3: Consent is ongoing

  • If you are initiating the act (from hugging and touching to sexual contact), or change from one act to another, you are responsible for asking for consent along the way. 


Yes messages to listen for:

  • I am ready to…
  • I feel good about this.
  • I want you to…
  • Yes, that would be great…
  • I feel the same way as you.
  • I am ready to…

No messages to listen for:

  • I’m not sure if I want to
  • I think I’ve had too much to drink
  • I’m worried/scared
  • That hurts
  • I’m not sure if I’m ready


Tip 4: Consent cannot be given when under the influence

  • Canadian law tells us consent cannot be obtained if the person is incapable of consenting to the activity
  • There is no consent when your partner is unconscious, incoherent, staggering or not aware of their environment
  • Consent cannot be given on behalf of another person
  • You and your partner have never talked about having sex when you were sober, and you’re not sure they would agree to it if they were sober.

Tip 5: Violence can happen in relationships

  • Violence or sexual assault in a relationship is frequently part of a pattern of power and control that builds over time. This can include and intimate partners, as well as someone in a position of authority like a supervisor at work or school.

Consent resources