The Great Youth Criminal Justice Act Debate

The Act goes into force April 1, 2003

YCJA

YOA

New: December 2010: Enter Your Comments and Opinion Respecting the YCJA

March 2003

Do zero tolerance policies make sense ?

Resolved that s. 20 of the Young Offenders Act and s. 42 of the Youth Criminal Justice Act be amended to require that young persons found guilty of weapons offences or violent offences must go to jail.

Here's what the Education Act of Ontario says:

309.  (1) It is mandatory that a pupil be expelled if the pupil commits any of the following infractions while he or she is at school or is engaged in a school-related activity:

1. Possessing a weapon, including possessing a firearm.

2. Using a weapon to cause or to threaten bodily harm to another person.

3. Committing physical assault on another person that causes bodily harm requiring treatment by a medical practitioner.

4. Committing sexual assault.

5. Trafficking in weapons or in illegal drugs.

6. Committing robbery.

7. Giving alcohol to a minor.

8. Engaging in another activity that, under a policy of the board, is one for which expulsion is mandatory. 


City:
Mississauga
Date:
20 November 2002
Time:
13:30:22

Comments

I believe that zero tolerance policies make no sense whatsoever. Canada's system of justice is based on prosecution in the name of Her Majesty the Queen, prosecution by fair Crown Attorney's using Crown discretion as to what serves the interests of justice. Findings of guilt in Canada are made only after a clear guilty plea with the assistance of counsel or after a fair trial where the onus is always on the Crown beyond a reasonable doubt. Judges weigh aggravating and mitigating factors argued and presented by competent counsel. Well-exercised discretion is at the centre of our system. Politicians who want to take away that discretion in favour of zero tolerance are misguided.


City:
Mississauga
Date:
20 November 2002
Time:
14:01:43

Comments

Zero tolerance in a school setting makes even less sense. School authorities (if there are any left after budget cuts of Vice-Principals and Secretaries) should use discretion in every situation. They should not simply expel because the policy demands that they should. There is a great deal of difference between a child bringing a gun to school and a child bringing a hockey stick to school. There is a great difference between a knife brought to school for violent purposes and a screwdriver brought to school to use in a science project. All are weapons and all could result in not just suspension but perhaps expulsion under this legislation.

Suppose a child brings a .005 beer to school thinking it's pop and gives it to another student. Should the child be expelled?


City:
Brandon, MB
Date:
22 November 2002
Time:
13:53:38

Comments

I believe that a zero tolerance policy offers some preventative incentive, however, individual circumstances create exceptions to every rule. Quite frankly, I can't see zero tolerance being much of a determent to someone who is set on committing a violent/criminal act. We need to use education as a tool. Many kids think it's "cool" to break the rules, show them that it isn't. And if we need zero tolerance to make examples of a few of them, so be it. I'd rather see a child jailed for taking a weapon to school, whether or not he intends to use it as such, than have another incidence like Littleton.


City:
Thornhill
Date:
26 November 2002
Time:
12:23:26

Comments

I think that the zero-tolerance has gone to far, someone has to draw the line somewhere and it has to be soon. Students have been suspended for ridiculous things and it getting out of hand. I personally think that teachers and principals are having fun suspending students because they do it so much. I come from a very strict school and i have been picked on since i got here. The principal will not stop harassing me and I have been suspended for the most ridiculous things such as: being asked to wear a yellow t-shirt because my shirt was to short. I said I will pull up my pants and they called that "opposition to authority" and i was suspended for one day. This has gone to far, somebody has got to draw the line.


City:
Toronto
Date:
03 December 2002
Time:
21:46:25

Comments

this act affects ALL students, not even considering their situations or whether they are good or bad. now this doesn't very "right" to me...


City:
Edmundston
Date:
09 December 2002
Time:
13:09:35

Comments

I think that the zero tolerance policies make sense. Kids shouldn't be able to get away with committing crimes since they are able to understand what they are doing even though they are not of age to make their own decisions.


City:
Vulcan,AB
Date:
07 January 2003
Time:
16:00:18

Comments

I think that if a student of any age does the above then yes, they should be expelled. I agree completely with the zero tolerance law. I wouldn't want my daughter in a unsafe school, where the students are not punished. I have zero tolerance in my home, so I expect the same from school.


City:
bartlett
Date:
16 January 2003
Time:
17:23:46

Comments

I was stopped for busted licence plate light and looking at my skin color he assumed i was drunk


City:
Barrie
Date:
03 February 2003
Time:
01:06:55

Comments

Zero tolerance policies do not make sense. It is unreasonable and illogical. Using the example of the school's zero tolerance policy, one can conclude that schools obviously didn't take into account the law. A key word used numerous times over and over in the law is 'reasonable'. How can a school give the same degree of punishment to the actions of 'Giving alcohol to a minor' and then to 'Committing physical assault on another person that causes bodily harm requiring treatment by a medical practitioner'. These two actions are extremes of one another. It just doe not make any sense.


City:
Monticello, MN
Date:
05 February 2003
Time:
20:38:55

Comments

I am a ninth grade student at Monticello High School and I think that zero tolerance policies should be tough, but not excessively. I also believe that the policies should have a reasonable amount of leeway toward certain happenings.


City:
Belfast, PEI
Date:
15 February 2003
Time:
22:27:47

Comments

I believe that children and youth nowadays get away with a lot more that young people even twenty years ago did. Serious cases of bullying should definitely be dealt with with accordingly, possibly even with jail time. Being under 18 doesn't give anyone the right to get away with anything. This is something that holds little value in our bleeding heart society. I think all violent young offenders should not only be sentenced to jail but they should also have their names published. Many would be humiliated and would turn away from crime. The bottom line is that young people have to be made accountable for their mistakes no matter what it takes.


City:
dallas
Date:
27 February 2003
Time:
20:07:37

Comments

some things yes and some no


City:
Sudbury
Date:
04 March 2003
Time:
18:20:32

Comments

Zero tolerance policies are based on misguided idealism and purposeful intolerance. They offer questionable deterrence, eliminate any realist reaction too the thousands of different situations those 8 activities represent and allow us to feel righteous at the price of some boy or girl's life.

Zero tolerances applied in schools, domestic violence courts, and to end police profiling makes for good sound bites and policy manuals but is immaturely simplistic and sidetracks us from dealing with basic underlying causes.

We can work towards greatly reducing (but probably never eliminating) these problems only if we use reason, rigour and compassion. Not by relying on naive, feel-good, mean-spirited absolutes.


City:
Moosonee ON
Date:
06 March 2003
Time:
10:03:04

Comments

Drinkers these day don't know how to drink happily like we used to.


City:
Lake Cowichan
Date:
11 March 2003
Time:
12:31:23

Comments

My 13 year old son was the victim of a violent assault. The problem started three years ago and the principal did nothing. Now we are going to court because he was attacked in the classroom. I do not agree with kids 13 and under going to jail, there are better ways out there. We need to get to the root of the problem, not compound it by adding more negativity to enforce the already low self esteem this child is suffering from.

 


City:
Cardston, Ab
Date:
02 April 2003
Time:
20:04:35

Comments

I think that if someone does a crime they should serve the time. If a Teen say murdered someone and didn't get a really bad sentence and got to go out on parole would you really won't them out on the streets walking around when they had murdered someone?


City:
Date:
05 April 2003
Time:
12:43:38

Comments

i am glad that the yoa became more stricter it was to lenient before now 

Editor's Note: What makes the YCJA better? What changes do you like?


City:
Toronto
Date:
19 April 2003
Time:
11:52:09

Comments

I STRONGLY AGREE WITH ZERO TOLERANCE.


City:
Dundas
Date:
21 April 2003
Time:
06:31:21

Comments

As I read through all the comments I would find it difficult to believe that those that object to the the zero tolerance rule(s) have children. My child is 8 years old and already the bullying starts. There is a child in her class that is experiencing diffuculty at home and is now taking it out on her classmates. The bullying varies from "I won't be your friend if ....." to actually physical contact. The majority of the children in her class are scared of her and just recently my child insisted that the bully be invited to her birthday party because otherwise the bully would be very mean to her and let me remind you that we are talking about 8 year olds!!!! If it wasn't for the fact that I know this child well and her situation I would have insisted that the school enforced the no tolerance rule(s). My worry is as they get older what will this bully resort to to get the other children to conform to her way(s) of thinking?? For those that do not believe in zero tolerance this type of behaviour only escalates into more serious behaviours which can be very damaging to other children and their psyche. You should keep your no tolerance bashing to yourselves until you have children of your own who are tragically affected by another child's bullying and then tell us all what you think!


City:
new  york
Date:
01 May 2003
Time:
11:15:24

Comments

I think you should add some recent cases having to do with the topics. Also I think you should add some debate topics and proffessional opinions abot the subjects but I still think this web site is very helpful to me when I want to catch up on some of the current events


City:
Jackson
Date:
01 May 2003
Time:
14:11:21

Comments

when you turn eighteen you should be able to do and drink what you please. I can fight your m f n war when im eighteen but i can't drink until twenty-one. 


City:
LaSalle ON
Date:
11 May 2003
Time:
00:08:14

Comments

I agree with Dundas, I am a well-adjusted,self sufficient (well sort of) grade 11 student. I know that in age lies wisdom but it is because of my young age that I agree with zero tolerance. I was a victim of bullying for the simple fact that i let it get to me and I took it. I was a obvious victim. This made my entire elementary career horrific. This should no longer occur and cease to exist...I'm not sure if zero tolerance is the way but it is a start.


City:
Vancouver
Date:
15 May 2003
Time:
14:18:34

Comments

I definitely think that discretion should be used on the part of the administration. in some cases, an offence that by policy requires expulsion isn't that significant an infraction. For instance, trafficking illegal drugs. that is not a very serous offence, as there is no direct victim to it. discretion should still be used in that situation though. there is significant difference between trafficking marijuana than, say, crystal meth. I think that discretion is the entire basis of the school system, and the administration cannot be governed by an all-encompassing rule when every situation in every school is unique, and each warrants a different approach and consequence.


City:
 
Date:
21 May 2003
Time:
12:37:18

Comments

0 tolerance is good, it alows people to know their bounderies, and all the things that are listed are wrong!


Comments

You have omitted the regulation that offers mitigating circumstances when expulsion is not mandatory, in Ontario schools. This regulation offers broad  powers of discretion and leaving it out on your website gives a false presumption of zero tolerance that is neither a legislative or regulatory requirement under the Education Act!

ONTARIO REGULATION 106/01

SUSPENSION OF A PUPIL

When suspension not mandatory

1.  For the purposes of subsection 306 (5) of the Act, the suspension of a pupil is not mandatory if,

(a) the pupil does not have the ability to control his or her behaviour;

(b) the pupil does not have the ability to understand the foreseeable consequences of his or her behaviour; or

(c) the pupil's continuing presence in the school does not create an unacceptable risk to the safety or well-being of any person. O. Reg. 106/01, s. 1.

ONTARIO REGULATION 37/01

EXPULSION OF A PUPIL

Definition

1.  In this Regulation,

"strict discipline program" means a program approved by the Minister as a strict discipline program. O. Reg. 37/01, s. 1.

When expulsion not mandatory

2.  For the purposes of subsection 309 (3) of the Act, the expulsion of a pupil is not mandatory if,

(a) the pupil does not have the ability to control his or her behaviour;

(b) the pupil does not have the ability to understand the foreseeable consequences of his or her behaviour; or

(c) the pupil's continuing presence in the school does not create an unacceptable risk to the safety of any person. O. Reg. 37/01, s. 2.

Return to school after expulsion

3.  (1)  A pupil who is subject to a full expulsion under Part XIII of the Act may attend a school in Ontario if he or she successfully completes a strict discipline program or has satisfied the objectives required for the successful completion of a strict discipline program. O. Reg. 37/01, s. 3 (1).

(2)  The determination of whether a pupil has satisfied the objectives required for the successful completion of a strict discipline program must be made by a person who provides a strict discipline program. O. Reg. 37/01, s. 3 (2).

Appeals

4.  (1)  The Child and Family Services Review Board is designated for the purposes of subsection 311 (5) of the Act to hear and determine all appeals from decisions of boards to expel pupils. O. Reg. 37/01, s. 4 (1).

(2)  After hearing an appeal from a decision of a board, the Child and Family Services Review Board may do any of the following things:

1. Confirm the board's decision.

2. Modify the type or duration of the expulsion.

3. Impose, change or remove conditions that must be satisfied if the pupil is to return to school in Ontario following an expulsion.

4. Overrule the decision of the board and reinstate the pupil. O. Reg. 37/01, s. 4 (2).

(3)  If the Child and Family Services Review Board overrules the decision of the board and reinstates the pupil, it may order that any record of the expulsion of the pupil be expunged if the Child and Family Services Review Board considers it appropriate in the circumstances. O. Reg. 37/01, s. 4 (3).

Disclosure of information

5.  (1)  The board that expels a pupil under the Act may disclose his or her pupil record to a person who provides a strict discipline program to the pupil if,

(a) the pupil consents to the disclosure, if he or she is an adult; or

(b) the pupil's parent or guardian consents to the disclosure, if the pupil is a minor. O. Reg. 37/01, s. 5 (1).

(2)  The person who provides a strict discipline program to the pupil may disclose personal information about the pupil to the board that expelled the pupil or to any board to which the pupil applies to return to school if,

(a) the pupil consents to the disclosure, if he or she is an adult; or

(b) the pupil's parent or guardian consents to the disclosure, if the pupil is a minor. O. Reg. 37/01, s. 5 (2).




City:
Mississauga ON
Date:
29 October 2003
Time:
10:31:56

Comments

Parents should get more involved in criminal proceedings and try to understand more of what their child is dealing with and what they need to do to improve the way the child is acting. Parents should attend counseling with their child to udnerstand them more and find a better way to help them out at home.



Revised: 09 Dec 2010 11:42:27 -0500 .