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    Youth Criminal Justice Act

    The Youth Criminal Justice Act is a Canadian federal law that applies to people age 12 to 18 who are suspected of having committed a criminal offence or who break a federal law.

    The youth criminal justice system is different from the adult system. The Youth Criminal Justice Act holds young people accountable for their actions and encourages them to rehabilitate and reintegrate into society. One of the ways it does this is through extrajudicial measures, which are measures that do not involve going through the courts.

    The Youth Criminal Justice Act aims to:

    • prevent youth crime and hold young people accountable for their actions in ways that protect the public
    • promote young people’s rehabilitation and reintegration
    • reserve the most serious intervention for the most serious crimes and reduce incarceration of non-violent young people
    • What does the Youth Criminal Justice Act say?

      The Youth Criminal Justice Act states the following.

      • Young people have the right to retain and instruct counsel at any stage of the proceedings against them young people have this right to consult a lawyer during any consideration of whether they should receive extrajudicial sanctions
      • Parents should be informed of measures or proceedings that involve their children and should be encouraged to support them
      • Victims should be treated with courtesy and compassion and their interests should be taken into account
      • If a young person is being arrested or detained, the arresting officer must advise them without delay of their right to retain and instruct counsel
      • Exceptionally, the youth justice court can impose an adult sentence on a young person age 14 or older who has been found guilty of an offence for which an adult is liable to imprisonment of more than two years


    • What are my rights under the Youth Criminal Justice Act?

      The Youth Criminal Justice Act includes protection of:

      1. your right to receive the information and preparation necessary for any transfer
      2. your right to receive health and social services
      3. your right to communicate in all confidentiality
      4. your right to know the rules of your rehabilitation centre

      Consult the Youth Criminal Justice Act

    • The Commission’s role

      We can intervene for children in care if their rights under the Youth Criminal Justice Act are not being respected.