It is now illegal for adults in Canada to have sex with a partner under the age of 16, one of the new provisions of the Tories' violent crime law that came into effect on Thursday.

The Tackling Violent Crime Act raises the legal age of sexual consent in Canada to 16 from 14, the first time it has been raised since 1892.

But the law includes a "close-in-age exception," meaning 14- and 15-year-olds can have sex with someone who is less than five years older.

The Tories said they raised the age, in part, to deal with internet predators. The new law puts Canada's age of consent in line with those in Britain, Australia and most of the United States.

Gun crime punishment increased

The act also includes higher mandatory prison sentences for those committing serious gun crimes.

Those convicted of using a gun while committing a violent crime such as attempted murder, aggravated sexual assault and kidnapping will be automatically sentenced to five years for a first offence and seven years for a second offence.

As well, those accused of gun crimes will find it tougher to get bail. The new law  places "reverse onus" bail conditions on those accused of gun crimes.

Previously, the Crown had to prove to a judge that those accused of gun crimes should be detained. The new legislation now requires the accused  to prove to a judge why they should be released from jail while awaiting trial.