Youth Criminal Justice in Canada

Canada's Youth Criminal Justice Act

Came into effect April 1, 2003

Bill C-3, the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA), was introduced in the House of Commons on 14 October 1999 by the Honourable Anne McLellan, Minister of Justice. The bill is essentially the same as Bill C-68, first introduced in the previous parliamentary session on 11 March 1999. Bill C-3 would repeal and replace the Young Offenders Act (YOA), adopted by Parliament in 1982, in force since 1984, and amended in 1986, 1992, and 1995. (This Act had itself replaced the 1908 Juvenile Delinquents Act.) Bill C-3 was developed and based upon A Strategy for the Renewal of Youth Justice, released by the government in May 1998 as its response to Renewing Youth Justice, the April 1997 Report of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs.

You can read the act. click here to read Canada's Youth Criminal Justice Act

Canada's Youth Criminal Justice Act Preamble includes the rights of Canadian children under the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child  Read More ..

November 19, 2007 -  1st Reading

2nd Session, 39th Parliament,
56 Elizabeth II, 2007


An Act to amend the Youth Criminal Justice Act

Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:


1. Subsection 29(2) of the Youth Criminal Justice Act is replaced by the following:

(2) In considering whether the detention of a young person is necessary for the protection or safety of the public under paragraph 515(10)(b) of the Criminal Code, a youth justice court or a justice shall presume that detention is not necessary unless
(a) the young person is charged with a violent offence or an offence that otherwise endangered the public by creating a substantial likelihood of serious bodily harm to another person;
(b) the young person has been found guilty of failing to comply with non-custodial sentences or conditions of release; or
(c) the young person is charged with an indictable offence for which an adult would be liable to imprisonment for a term of more than two years and has a history that indicates a pattern of findings of guilt under this Act or the Young Offenders Act, chapter Y-1 of the Revised Statutes of Canada, 1985.

(3) If the youth justice court or the justice finds that none of paragraphs (2)(a) to (c) apply, the court or justice shall not detain the young person unless the court or justice is satisfied that there is a substantial likelihood, having regard to all of the relevant factors including any pending charges against the young person, that the young person will, if released from custody, commit a violent offence or an offence that otherwise endangers the public by creating a substantial likelihood of serious bodily harm to another person.

2. Subsection 38(2) of the Act is amended by striking out the word "and" at the end of paragraph (d), by adding the word "and" at the end of paragraph (e) and by adding the following after paragraph (e):
(f) subject to paragraph (c), the sentence may have the following objectives:
(i) to denounce unlawful conduct, and
(ii) to deter the young person and other young persons from committing offences. Link to House of Commons bill C-25

Link to House of Commons speeches regarding this bill will be provided on this website including a highlights web page.

Nunn Commission of Inquiry

The Honourable D. Merlin Nunn, Retired Justice of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, Commissioner.

What is the Nunn Commission of Inquiry?

The Nunn Commission    was convened on June 29, 2005 following the death of Theresa McEvoy, who was fatally injured in a car crash on October 14, 2004. Following an investigation, a young person was charged with multiple offences arising out of the fatal car crash. The young person was released from custody on October 12, 2004, two days before Ms. McEvoy's death.

By calling this Inquiry, the Province wanted an impartial review of these circumstances. The Commission's job was to understand what happened in this case. The Province provided the Commission of Inquiry with specific terms of reference, which allowed the Commissioner to examine what happened, including the procedures and practices that were followed while these charges were handled. The Commission considered why the young person was released from custody - by examining what the procedures were in cases like this one regarding releasing a young person charged with a crime, and whether those procedures were followed. It also considered whether those procedures were adequate.

The Commissioner was asked to look at actions of public officials involved. Did they do the right thing? And finally, the Commissioner made 34 recommendations for the future in the public interest.

Nunn Commission Report Image   PDF Click here  378 pages 2.62 MB

Hard copies are available for purchase through the Government of Nova Scotia's publications website at   

Nunn Commission of Inquiry website link

2007 - From the website of Canada's Justice Department Information on the Youth Criminal Justice Act


The Government of Canada is working to establish a renewed youth justice system - one that commands respect, fosters values such as accountability and responsibility and makes it clear that criminal behaviour will lead to meaningful consequences. A renewed youth justice system must also make a distinction between violent and non-violent crime and ensure that youth face consequences that reflect the seriousness of their offence. Finally, it must make every effort possible to prevent youth crime and to support youth, if they do become involved in crime, to turn their lives around. Establishing a youth justice system that promotes accountability and is Read More ..fective and reflective of current social values is key to regaining public confidence."

A Guide to the Youth Criminal Justice Act, 2007/2008 Edition

A Guide to the Youth Criminal Justice Act, 2007/2008 Edition provides the text of the Act with section-by-section commentary on legal and operational implications, for police officers, youth workers, and anyone who wants to understand how the Act is implemented. It is a must have for anyone dealing with youth, and who needs to understand how the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) is implemented.

It captures key developments and features an overview of the youth criminal justice system in Canada, a Table of Concordance of the YCJA to the Young Offenders Act, the YCJA procedural flowchart, and other day-to-day checklists for police officers. The 2007-2008 edition also includes the Summary of the Nunn Commission of Inquiry Report, released in December 2006.

This is an annual publication. The 2007/2008 edition was released June 2007.

Catalogue No. 978-0-433-45668-1
Price $52.00
Format Softcover
Pages 298

Link to federal publications

Report from the Library of Parliament
Parliamentary Research Branch (PRB) of the Library of Parliament works exclusively for the Canadian Parliament conducting research and providing analysis and policy advice to Members of the Senate and House of Commons and to parliamentary committees on a non-partisan and confidential basis.

Youth crime law to get overhaul
Ottawa to consult with provinces on possible amendments
Won't appeal Quebec ruling declaring parts unconstitutional
Toronto Star, May 2, 2003

Quebec viewed the federal law as overly harsh, infringing on provincial jurisdiction and violating the legal and human rights of young people. The province challenged its constitutionality by referring the matter to the Quebec Court of Appeal.

A court tribunal ruled on March 31, 2003, that two sections of the Act, dealing with sentencing a minor as an adult, and having a youth's identity publicly disclosed, violated Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Criminal Code of Canada
            PART I
Child under twelve

13. No person shall be convicted of an offence in respect of an act or omission on his part while that person was under the age of twelve years.

R.S., c. C-34, s. 12; 1980-81-82-83, c. 110, s. 72. link click here

Nova Scotia Department of Justice website - Justice Learning Centre - The Youth Criminal Justice Act

The John Howard Society of Canada website

View / download their submission to the Justice Committee PDF Click here (101kb)

Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies (CAEFS) website

Their letter to the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs

Criminal Lawyers' Association Submissions

Senator Landon Pearson
Speech in the Senate of Canada

December 11, 2001, 3rd reading

Government of Saskatchewan - News Release, October 29, 1998

Stop Blaming Youth Say Provincial Children's Advocates

Provincial Children's Advocates expressed concern over the proposed changes to the Young Offenders Act at a national meeting held last week. The meeting of the Canadian Council of Provincial Children's Advocates was held in Edmonton, October 21 to 24, 1998, and focused on developing effective ways to assist children and youth, particularly youth in conflict with the law. Following this meeting, the Children's Advocates, representing six provinces in Canada, are urging Federal, Provincial and Territorial Justice Ministers, who are meeting in Regina today, to focus on positive ways to enhance youth justice in Canada. Read More ..

Speech for the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Vic Toews, Q.C.
Canadian Bar Association
Toward a Read More ..fective Justice System
August 14, 2006
St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador


Thank you, (MC), for your kind introduction. And thank you all for the warm welcome to St. Johns.

I appreciate the invitation to speak to you today. I'm sure you join me in expressing appreciation to the Canadian Bar Association and the many volunteers for the hard work they put into this worthwhile program and to this annual conference.  Read More ..


(Front page -  main headline)

Justice Minister Vic Toews thinks so. He wants the age at which courts intervene in a delinquent child's life lowered from 12

Minister: Goal is treatment, not jail

The Toronto Star, (Canada's largest daily newspaper in Canada's most populous city) LEGAL AFFAIRS REPORTER, TRACEY TYLER, Aug. 15, 2006.

ST. JOHN'S - Justice Minister Vic Toews says the Youth Criminal Justice Act may need to be changed so children as young as 10 and 11 who "run afoul of the law" can be brought to court.

Speaking to members of the Canadian Bar Association at their annual meeting here yesterday, Toews said he is considering amending the legislation to give judges authority over alleged young offenders at a much earlier stage than allowed currently. The act now applies to youths between 12 and 18. Read More ..

Wrong solution to real problem

Toronto Star, Aug. 19, 2006.

Letter to the editor

re: Courts not answer for kids, critics say, Aug. 16.

Justice Minister Vic Toews has identified a real problem but is offering the wrong solution. Hauling children as young as 10 before the criminal justice system is more likely to compound whatever mental health problems they have. Read More ..

Letter to the editor

Social inequality matter for us all

The Toronto Star, letter to the editor, by Marvin A. Zuker, Ontario Court of Justice, Toronto, Aug. 17, 2006.

re: Should 10-year-olds face a judge? Aug. 15.

With reference to Tracey Tyler's headline, I would suggest, with great respect to the minister of justice, that if the answer to crime in Canada is to lower the age of responsibility to 10 under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, then this is not the answer. Many young people today have no hope in their lives. Many think nothing about the consequences of their actions. It is as much about filling the gaps in community programs. It is as much about evening recreation events, summer jobs, and college tuition. We must begin by compensating for family disadvantage and look at the background and resources of families in need and children at risk. Read More ..

Court strikes down part of youth justice act

The Globe and Mail, By RICHARD BLACKWELL, March 25, 2006

Ontario's top court has struck down sections of the Youth Criminal Justice Act that forced some young offenders to prove that they shouldn't get adult sentences.

Three judges of the Ontario Court of Appeal said yesterday that those rules breach the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and that it should be up to the prosecutor to make the case that a serious youth crime should draw an adult sentence.

The judges also came out strongly in support of Canada's separate justice system for youth -- a message welcomed by activists who were concerned about pre-election calls from some politicians to have Read More ..ung people tried and sentenced as adults. Read More ..

New Youth Crime Act

Maclean's, ( national Canadian magazine ), by SUSAN MCCLELLAND, June 9, 2003

AT FIRST GLANCE, Greg looks much like the other inmates at the Toronto Youth Assessment Centre. Shoulder-length black hair pulled back in a ponytail, he's dressed in standard-issue burgundy T-shirt, sweatpants and running shoes with Velcro fasteners. But Greg is the boss of his cellblock, or what inmates call "the range" - and a symbol of what's wrong with prisons for kids. His territory isn't much to brag about: the cramped cells and cluttered common areas at TYAC smell of rotting food, sweat and smuggled-in cigarettes. Still, Greg (a pseudonym - like all the young offenders in this story, he can't be identified) enjoys the privileges of power. The previous night, he says, he was charged for beating up another inmate but was released from solitary confinement early because another kid on the range agreed to take the blame. And at dinner, a tall skinny kid gets him an extra slice of pizza and exchanges his milk for juice. "I hate milk," Greg explains to a visitor. Read More ..

Police, prosecutors brace for new youth crime law
Sweeping changes take effect April 1

National Post, Christie Blatchford, Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Read More ..

Law Times Article - Controversy over Youth Criminal Justice Act

Read More ..

Survey suggests teenagers at high risk for date violence

The Associated Press, August 27, 2001

Read More ..

Statistics Canada
Statistique Canada

December 1, 2005

Youth correctional services: Key indicators 2003/04

The number of young people in sentenced custody decreased by half, and the numbers on remand and probation have been reduced considerably since the introduction of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.   Read More ..

Supreme Court of Canada

Supreme Court of Canada
Court supreme du Canada

B.V.N. v. Her Majesty The Queen

Criminal law - Sentencing - Principles of sentencing under Youth Criminal Justice Act, S.C. 2002, c. 1 - Is general deterrence a principle to be considered in imposing a sentence under the Youth Criminal Justice Act?

Droit criminel - Détermination de la peine - Principes de détermination de la peine applicables lgard de la  Loi sur le système de justice pénale pour adolescents, L.C. 2002, ch. 1 - La dissuasion génale est-elle un principe qui doit tre pris en compte dans la détermination dune peine en vertu de la Loi sur le système de justice pénale pour adolescents? Read More ..

Youth Jails Canada

Youth jail 'alarming' to lawyers

A 300 member lawyers' group says a jail for youths in Toronto is a source of "great shock and alarm" and has called on Ontario Correctional Services Minister Monte Kwinter to shut it down.

History of the youth criminal justice system in Canada

From the Department of Justice - Canada

Click Here


Canadian Department of Justice - Laws Database

Canadian Department of Justice - Info on Youth Criminal Justice Act 

Canadian Press - Youth / Child Incarceration rates - jails Canada

Canadian incarceration rate rises for first time in more than a decade

Canadian Press
November 21, 2007

OTTAWA - The number of Canadians behind bars rose in 2005-06 for the first time in a decade, as Read More ..ults were jailed while awaiting trial or sentencing.

However, the average number of young people aged 12 to 17 in custody on any given day continued a decline that began with adoption of the Youth Criminal Justice Act in 2003.

From the website of Stephen R Biss B.A. LL.B
Ontario Criminal Lawyer

Police Searches of young persons on the sidewalk.

Do searches of young persons on the sidewalk contravene their rights under section 8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

 8. Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure.

Supreme Court of Canada decision R. v. Mann

R. v. Mann, [2004] 3 S.C.R. 59, 2004 SCC 52 (CanLII)

[Read the website]


Women who kill their children are given sympathy and sentenced to "treatment" while men who do the same thing are charged with murder and sentenced to life.

Perhaps it is not a coincidence that women are many times more likely to murder their offspring than men. 

Our Most Popular Web Page

Sex Offenders
Female Sexual Predators

Hundreds of them.... female teachers who sexually assaulted 12 year old boys. Read about a lesbian tennis coach who sexually assaulted her 13 year old female student.

Read how a 40 year old female sexual predator blamed a 7 year old boy whom she claimed was "coming on to me" and whom she "hoped to marry someday."  Read More ..

Paternity Fraud
UK National Survey

Paternity fraud survey statistics

Scotland's National Newspaper

96% of women are liars, honest

5,000 women polled

Half the women said that if they became pregnant by another man but wanted to stay with their partner, they would lie about the baby's real father.

Forty-two per cent would lie about contraception in order to get pregnant, no matter the wishes of their partner.

Why you shouldn't see VAGINA MONOLOGUES

Lesbian Pedophilia and the rape of girls

Don't attend performances.