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Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA)

Why a new youth justice act? In May 1998, the Government of Canada launched its Youth Justice Renewal Initiative. This initiative led to the development of the Youth Criminal Justice Act, or the YCJA, which became law in April 2003, replacing the Young Offenders Act (YOA).

The YCJA focuses on rehabilitation and reintegration and taking responsibility, as well as involving families and communities in the youth justice process, in ways that the YOA did not. Some history on the process and a chronology of youth justice in Canada is available on the Justice Canada web site.

Youth Criminal Justice Act

The Youth Criminal Justice Act is a piece of legislation that is under the jurisdiction of the Government of Canada. For a complete online version that can be searched for specific information, visit the Justice Canada web site.

The YCJA applies to young persons aged 12-17 inclusive at the time they are alleged to have committed an offence. The YCJA is the basis in law for having a youth criminal justice system that is separate and apart from the adult system.

YCJA Declaration of Principles

Unique to the YCJA is a Declaration of Principles (Pars. 3(1)(c)(i)(ii)(iii)(iv)) intended to be used in the interpretation of all aspects of the Act. Principles relating to specific sections of the Act are addressed in those sections. The overarching Declaration of Principles for the YCJA states that:

Measures taken against a young person must:

  • reinforce respect for societal values,
  • encourage the repair of harm done to victims and the community,
  • 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
  • respect gender, ethnic, cultural and linguistic differences and respond to the needs of aboriginal young persons and of young persons with special requirements.

Contact info

Youth justice

Phone: 867-667-3610

Toll Free (Yukon, Nunavut and NWT); 1-800-661-0408 ext. 3610

Fax: 867-667-3620

Mailing Address:

Youth justice (H-9A)
Health & Social Services, Government of Yukon
Box 2703
Whitehorse, Yukon  Y1A 2C6

Location: 305 Lambert Street | Whitehorse, Yukon [map]


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