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The Great Youth Criminal Justice Act Debate

The Act went into force April 1, 2003

New Discussion Group sites have been established 

Do you have an opinion to express?: 

Late 2010 Topics: Extra-Judicial Measures, Prosecuting 10 Year Olds, Meaning of "Counsel", and Parents' Rights

2011 Topics: Should My Child Plead Guilty, and Prosecuting 16 and 17 Year Olds 

Interesting links can be found at both sites.

See also the International Drinking and Driving Debate



The black and white view of youth criminal justice

Police searches of young persons on the sidewalk


January 2002 - Age of Criminal Responsibility

February 2002 - Child Protection or Criminal Justice Model

March 2002 - Rights Prior to and During Interrogation

April 2002 - Parents' Rights on Arrest of Child

September 2002 - School Uniforms

November 2002 - Making Adults as Accountable as Young Persons

December 2002 - Prosecuting 10 and 11 year olds as criminals

January 2003 - Prosecuting 16 and 17 year olds as adults

February 2003 - Interrogation of Young Persons

March 2003 Zero Tolerance

April 2003 Should the Age of Consent be Raised to 18?

May 2003 Young Persons Going to Jail

June 2003 Preemptive Strikes Against Bullies

July 2003 Decriminalization of Marijuana

November 2003 Young Criminals Ages 10 and 11

December 2003 Extrajudicial Sanctions and Alternative Measures

January 2004 Conferences under the YCJA

February 2004 Young persons with poor understanding of counsel

March 2004 Parents more involved in procedure of YCJA

April 2004 Bail release for young persons

May 2004 Knowledge of Canadian trial procedures by young persons

September 2004 The black and white view of youth criminal justice


Index to the Youth Criminal Justice Act

Criminal Lawyers' Association C-7 Written Submissions

YCJA Case Briefs for CLA Members

Letman Oral Submissions re C-7 17:1120-30, 1200, 1210-15, 1235-40

Index to Justice Committee C-7 Discussions

Senate Hearings:

The Successful Defendant, The Unsuccessful Defendant and The Burlington Youth Court 

Constitutional Validity?

Department of Justice Links

YCJA Explained

    15. Contempt against youth justice court
    16. Status of offender uncertain
    17. Youth justice court may make rules

    18. Youth Justice Committees

    41. Youth Sentences
    Brampton Youth Court Sentencing Database (Ages 12 -15)
    Reported Sentencing Cases Ages 12 - 17


    41. Recommendation of conference
    42. Considerations as to youth sentence
    43. Additional youth sentences
    44. Custodial portion if additional youth sentence
    45. Supervision when additional youth sentence extends the period in custody
    46. Exception when youth sentence in respect of earlier offence
    47. Committal to custody deemed continuous
    48. Reasons for the sentence
    49. Warrant of committal
    50. Application of Part XXIII of Criminal Code
    51. Mandatory prohibition order
    52. Review of order made under section 51
    53. Funding for victims
    54. Where a fine or other payment is ordered
    55. Conditions that must appear in orders
    56. Communication of order
    57. Transfer of youth sentence
    58. Interprovincial arrangements
    59. Review of youth sentences not involving custody
    60. Provisions applicable to youth sentences on review

    61. Adult Sentence and Election

    See also Department of Justice Flow Charts

    61. Age for purpose of presumptive offences
    62. Imposition of adult sentence
    63. Application by young person
    64. Application by Attorney General
    65. Presumption does not apply
    66. No election if youth sentence
    67. Election - adult sentence
    68. Proof of notice under subsection 64(4)
    69. Paragraph (a) ``presumptive offence'' - included offences
    70. Inquiry by court to young person
    71. Hearing - adult sentences
    72. Test - adult sentences
    73. Court must impose adult sentence
    74. Application of Parts XXIII and XXIV of Criminal Code
    75. Inquiry by the court to the young person
    76. Placement when subject to adult sentence
    77. Obligation to inform - parole
    78. Release entitlement
    79. If person convicted under another Act
    80. If person who is serving a sentence under another Act is sentenced to an adult sentence
    81. Procedure for application or notice

 83. Custody and Jail

83. Purpose
84. Young person to be held apart from adults
85. Levels of custody
86. Procedural safeguards
87. Review
88. Functions to be exercised by youth justice court
89. Exception if young person is twenty years old or older
90. Youth worker
91. Reintegration leave
92. Transfer to adult facility
93. When young person reaches twenty years of age
94. Annual review
95. Orders are youth sentences
96. Recommendation of provincial director for conditional supervision of young person
97. Conditions to be included in custody and supervision order
98. Application for continuation of custody
99. Report
100. Reasons
101. Review of youth justice court decision
102. Breach of conditions
103. Review by youth justice court
104. Continuation of custody
105. Conditional supervision
106. Suspension of conditional supervision
107. Apprehension
108. Review by provincial director
109. Review by youth justice court
    114. Youth justice court, review board and other courts
    115. Police records
    116. Government records


    117. Access to Records

    117. Exception - adult sentence
    118. No access unless authorized
    119. Persons having access to records
    120. Access to R.C.M.P. records
    Schedule to Section 120
    121. Deemed election
    122. Disclosure of information and copies of record
    123. Where records may be made available
    124. Access to record by young person

    125. Disclosure of Information in a Record

    125. Disclosure by peace officer during investigation
    126. Records in the custody, etc., of archivists
    127. Disclosure with court order


    146. General law on admissibility of statements to apply
    (1)common law voluntariness
    (2)no oral or written, on arrest, detention, or R&PG an offence
    (b)clearly explained
    (i)no obligation to make a statement 
    (ii)may be used in evidence against
    (iii)right to consult parent and counsel
    (iv)statement must be made in presence of persons consulted
    (c)reasonable opportunity to consult
    (i)with counsel
    (ii)with parent
    (d)if consult, reasonable opportunity to make statement in presence of persons consulted
    (3) spontaneous
    (4)waiver of 2c or 2d by (a) video/audio, (b)writing
    (5)waiver of 2c or 2d but technical irregularity
    (6)2b to d technical irregularity if not bring principle into disrepute
    (8)age mistake
    (9)person consulted under 2c not person in authority  
    147. Statements not admissible against young person-psych assessments
    148. Testimony of a parent
    149. Admissions
    150. Material evidence
    151. Evidence of a child or young person
    152. Proof of service
    153. Seal not required

    154. Forms, Regulations and Rules of Court

    157. Programs
    158. Prohibition on proceedings
    159. Proceedings commenced under Young Offenders Act
    160. Offences committed before this section in force
    161. Applicable sentence
    162. Proceedings commence with information
    163. Application to delinquency and other offending behaviour
    164. Agreements continue in force
    165. Designation of youth justice court
    Consequential Amendments
    166. Canada Evidence Act
    167-170. Contraventions Act
    171-174. Corrections and Conditional Release Act
    175-186. Criminal Code
    187-189. DNA Identification Act
    190-194. Extradition Act
    195. Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act
    196-197. Prisons and Reformatories Act
    198. Transfer of Offenders Act
    199. Repeal of R.S., c. Y-1
    Coming into Force
    200. Coming into force


    Read What Others Have Said

    15 Oct 2001


    I'm glad the name of the new statute does not imply that all young persons are offenders.

    29 Nov 2001


    I believe they should leave the YOA as it is! There is no need for harsher sentences for young people! How can they be accountable for their actions? Take a 15 year old, they are not allowed to drive, we don't let them vote..but we will throw him in the slammer?? I believe these young people need help, prison will make them commit more crimes. All this talk about victims in the new Act.. Let me ask you this? Are these young offenders not victims of circumstance? A child grows up in an abusive alcoholic home and commits a crime, he is punished and thrown in jail, how is this young person compensated for their life of trauma. Why did they commit the crime? The justice system is so worried about compensated the store owner from whom the YO stole from, but what about compensation for this young person's abuse?? Where is the justice? They should also leave sec. 56 alone, young people need the protection, they do not fully understand!

    Anne (Police Foundations Student)

    29 Nov 2001


    I think that the young offenders act should stay just the way it is. Teens today get into problems themselves they do not get pushed into making wrong decisions by other people. Even if someone else pushes/peer pressures them into it, that is for the court to decide. Teens need to be punished in some way. There has to be some sort of consequences for their actions and the current Young Offenders Act is just what they need. It shouldn't be changed, it is fine the way it is.

    01 Dec 2001


    Youth crimes must have consequences that fit the crime, and at the same time have meaning for the young people and their victims





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Stephen R. Biss, Barrister & Solicitor

470 Hensall Circle, Suite 303
Mississauga, Ontario
L5A 3V4

905-273-3322  or 1-877-273-3322


Advertisement. Any legal opinions expressed at this site relate to the Province of Ontario, Canada only. If you reside or carry on business in any other jurisdiction please consult a lawyer, solicitor, or attorney in your own jurisdiction. WARNING: All information contained herein is provided for the purpose of providing basic information only and should not be construed as formal legal advice. The author disclaims any and all liability resulting from reliance upon such information. You are strongly encouraged to seek and retain professional legal advice before relying upon any of the information contained herein.