Youth

Note: Information on this page may not be current. Refer to the COVID-19 Court Information page for Court procedures under the pandemic.

In Canada, there is a separate youth justice system for young people from the ages of 12 to 17 that are accused of committing a crime.

Understanding how the youth justice system works will help you to make decisions about how to deal with your situation.

This website is intended to provide information only. Being charged with a crime is serious, and you should speak to a lawyer about your options. If you are charged as a youth, you are entitled to a free lawyer through Legal Aid (1-866-845-3425). When you contact Legal Aid, they will explain more about the process for you.

Judicial Assignments

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Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA)

The Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) contains rules and procedures that apply to young people from the ages of 12 to 17 that are charged with a criminal offence.

The YCJA was created in order to ensure that the consequences for young people who break the law are balanced. One of the principles of the YCJA is that while young people must be held accountable for their actions, they should not be treated the same as adults. The YCJA emphasizes rehabilitation, or the opportunity for youth to mature, learn from mistakes, accept consequences and make amends.

The following links explain more about the YCJA:

More Information

These publications give more information about how the different steps in the youth court process work.

These publications are intended to provide information only. Being charged with a crime is serious, and you should speak to a lawyer about your options. If you are charged as a youth, you are entitled to a free lawyer through Legal Aid (1-866-845-3425). When you contact Legal Aid, they will explain more about the process for you.