Youth Criminal Justice Act
This federal law applies to youth between the ages of 12 and 18 who have committed an offence under the Criminal Code or who have contravened a federal law.
The youth criminal justice system is different from that of adults to the extent that it emphasizes youth rehabilitation and reintegration into society. La LSJPA favorise notamment les mesures extrajudiciares pour éviter à l'adolescent d'aller au tribunal.
In particular, the Act states that :
- A youth has the right to counsel at any stage of proceedings filed against him or her under this Act, as well as before and during any consideration of whether to use an extrajudicial sanction
- Parents must be informed of measures or proceedings involving their children, and be encouraged to offer them support
- The interests of victims must be taken into account, namely by treating them with courtesy and compassion
- Youths must be informed of their right to counsel when they are arrested
- In exceptional cases, a youth court can impose an adult sentence on a youth aged 14 and over convicted of a criminal act that carries a prison sentence of two years or more
The Youth Criminal Justice Act protects the following rights:
- right to be informed and prepared when transferred from one unit to another;
- right to receive social, health and educational services;
- right to confidentiality of communication;
- right to be informed of the rules to be followed in a rehabilitation centre.