What Is Sexual Assault in Canada?

November 17th, 2022
What Is Sexual Assault in Canada?

Sexual assault in Canada is defined in the Canadian Criminal Code under federal law. As such, the crimes are the same across all provinces. Unlike the law in many other countries—which specifically defines body parts involved in sexual assault—under Canadian law, any assault which has a sexual nature, sexual intent, and/or violates the sexual integrity of a victim may be considered sexual assault.

In addition to the general definition of sexual assault, the crime may be further divided and summarized as either Level 1, Level 2, or Level 3. Level 1 sexual assault involves minor injuries or no injuries. Level 2 is defined as sexual assault with a weapon and/or threats and/or bodily injury. Level 3 is Aggravated Sexual Assault which results in severe injuries, and endangering the victim’s life.

Please note that these are not the only charges that may be brought against someone who is charged with sexual assault, as various others charges could potentially apply depending on the nature of the crime. Please also note that it may be difficult or impossible to quantify the psychological injury to a sexual assault victim. It is well known that sex crimes are vastly underreported by victims, so statistics on the incidence of sex crimes is less than reliable.

For the individual being charged with sexual assault, this is a very serious crime, steadfastly prosecuted in all provinces. We recommend that you hire a skilled defence lawyer as soon as possible and make no statements to police until you have spoken to your lawyer. There are serious long-range ramifications of being found guilty of a sex crime.

If you are charged with any kind of sex crime, please contact Gagan Nahal for a free consultation in Vancouver at (604) 527-4769. Mr. Nahal’s law practice focuses on criminal defence law, he has extensive experience in these areas of the law.


Gagan Nahal is a criminal defence lawyer based in Surrey, British Columbia, although he has represented clients across Canada. He works vigorously and tirelessly defending his clients. 

If you have any questions about this article or you would like to talk to Mr. Nahal, please call him directly at (604) 527-4769.