Youth Criminal Justice Act (S.C. 2002, c. 1)

Act current to 2014-07-22 and last amended on 2014-04-01. Previous Versions

DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLE

Marginal note:Policy for Canada with respect to young persons
  •  (1) The following principles apply in this Act:

    • (a) the youth criminal justice system is intended to protect the public by

      • (i) holding young persons accountable through measures that are proportionate to the seriousness of the offence and the degree of responsibility of the young person,

      • (ii) promoting the rehabilitation and reintegration of young persons who have committed offences, and

      • (iii) supporting the prevention of crime by referring young persons to programs or agencies in the community to address the circumstances underlying their offending behaviour;

    • (b) the criminal justice system for young persons must be separate from that of adults, must be based on the principle of diminished moral blameworthiness or culpability and must emphasize the following:

      • (i) rehabilitation and reintegration,

      • (ii) fair and proportionate accountability that is consistent with the greater dependency of young persons and their reduced level of maturity,

      • (iii) enhanced procedural protection to ensure that young persons are treated fairly and that their rights, including their right to privacy, are protected,

      • (iv) timely intervention that reinforces the link between the offending behaviour and its consequences, and

      • (v) the promptness and speed with which persons responsible for enforcing this Act must act, given young persons’ perception of time;

    • (c) within the limits of fair and proportionate accountability, the measures taken against young persons who commit offences should

      • (i) reinforce respect for societal values,

      • (ii) encourage the repair of harm done to victims and the community,

      • (iii) be meaningful for the individual young person given his or her needs and level of development and, where appropriate, involve the parents, the extended family, the community and social or other agencies in the young person’s rehabilitation and reintegration, and

      • (iv) respect gender, ethnic, cultural and linguistic differences and respond to the needs of aboriginal young persons and of young persons with special requirements; and

    • (d) special considerations apply in respect of proceedings against young persons and, in particular,

      • (i) young persons have rights and freedoms in their own right, such as a right to be heard in the course of and to participate in the processes, other than the decision to prosecute, that lead to decisions that affect them, and young persons have special guarantees of their rights and freedoms,

      • (ii) victims should be treated with courtesy, compassion and respect for their dignity and privacy and should suffer the minimum degree of inconvenience as a result of their involvement with the youth criminal justice system,

      • (iii) victims should be provided with information about the proceedings and given an opportunity to participate and be heard, and

      • (iv) parents should be informed of measures or proceedings involving their children and encouraged to support them in addressing their offending behaviour.

  • Marginal note:Act to be liberally construed

    (2) This Act shall be liberally construed so as to ensure that young persons are dealt with in accordance with the principles set out in subsection (1).

  • 2002, c. 1, s. 3;
  • 2012, c. 1, s. 168.