The Youth Criminal Justice Act is the law that governs Canada's youth justice system. It applies to youth who are at least 12 but under 18 years old, who are alleged to have committed criminal offences. In over a century of youth justice legislation in Canada, there have been three youth justice statutes: the Juvenile Delinquents Act (1908-1984), the Young Offenders Act (YOA) (1984-2003), and the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) (2003-present). A set of amendments to the YCJA was adopted by Parliament in 2012. The purpose of this document is to explain the background of the YCJA, to provide a summary of its main provisions and the rationale behind them, and to highlight the experience under the YCJA.
On April 1, 2003, the YCJA came into force, completely replacing the previous legislation, the YOA. The YCJA introduced significant reforms to address concerns about how the youth justice system had evolved under the YOA. These concerns included the overuse of the courts and incarceration in less serious cases, disparity and unfairness in sentencing, a lack of effective reintegration of young people released from custody, and the need to better take into account the interests of victims. The YCJA provided the legislative framework for a fairer and more effective youth justice system. The amendments adopted by Parliament in 2012 aimed to strengthen the ways in which the youth justice system deals with repeat and violent offenders.
Preamble and Declaration of Principle
The YCJA contains both a Preamble and a Declaration of Principle that applies throughout the Act. The Preamble contains significant statements from Parliament about the values upon which the legislation is based. These statements can be used to help interpret the legislation and include the following:
Society has a responsibility to address the developmental challenges and needs of young persons. Communities and families should work in partnership with others to prevent youth crime...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document