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Youth justice - Definitions

Listing of Youth Justice definitions

Item Definition
Accused A young person who is accused of an offence.
Adjudication A decision or “finding” made by the Youth Justice Court regarding whether a person is guilty or not guilty of an offence for which charges have been brought before the Youth Justice Court; or a dismissal of charges; or an order against a defendant.
Adult A person who is neither a young person nor a child.
Adult sentence In the case of a young person who is found guilty of an offence, any sentence that could be imposed on an adult convicted of the same offence.
Agencies Includes any non-profit organization where youth are placed for purposes of completing treatment, programming, community service hours or fine-option programs.
Appeals A young person may appeal a guilty finding within a specific time limit. The Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) s. 37 outlines how decisions made by the Youth Justice Court may be appealed. Generally, a young person may appeal a conviction for a summary offence, without leave, on any ground. Such an appeal would be heard by the Supreme Court of Yukon. A young person may appeal a conviction for an indictable offence, without leave, on the ground that the trial judge committed an error of law, or, with leave, on any other ground. Appeals for indictable offences are heard by the Court of Appeal. Appeals generally proceed based on the trial record and court file. The Youth Worker does not give evidence on appeal, but his or her pre-sentence report forms part of the record and is available to the appeal court. Under YCJA s.37(11), no appeal is permitted from a youth sentence resulting from a review or other process under YCJA s. 59, 94, 95 or 96:
  • S. 59 youth justice court order following review of youth sentence not involving custody;
  • S. 94 youth justice court order following annual custodial review;
  • S. 95:
    • S. 97(2) additional conditions set by Provincial Director for supervision portion of youth sentence under s. 42(2)(n); and
    • S. 105(1) youth justice court sets conditions for conditional supervision; and
    • S. 96 order of youth justice court based on recommendations of the Provincial Director for conditional supervision.
An order made under s.98(3), s. 103(2)(b), s. 104(1) and s. 109(2)(b) YCJA for continued custody of a young person or a refusal to make such an order, shall be reviewed by the court or appeal on application made within 30 days of the decision (s.101 YCJA).
Arraignment Conducted in Youth Justice Court and consists of reading the Information or Indictment to the accused and calling him or her to enter a plea. At an arraignment the charges are read to the young person and he or she is called upon to enter a plea or make an election, whichever is appropriate. If the young person is not represented by counsel, the Youth Court Judge ensures that he or she understands the charges and is advised of his or her right to counsel.
Arrest The taking of a person into custody by legal authority. The provisions of the Criminal Code of Canada (CCC) that deal with the arrest of adults also apply to young persons. Sections 494 and 495 of the CCC specify the grounds for which a private person or peace officer may arrest and detain a young person without a warrant. If a young person is arrested without a warrant the Peace Officer may release him or her and compel the young person’s appearance at a later date in Youth Justice Court by way of summons or by issuing an appearance notice. If a young person is arrested with or without a warrant, he or she may be released on a promise to appear or a recognizance or detained in custody. If the Peace Officer decides not to release the young person, he or she must be brought before a Youth Justice Court within 24 hours, or as soon thereafter as possible.
Attorney General Refers to the Attorney General of Canada and his or her deputy and includes his/her agents or delegates such as federal crown prosecutors or crown counsel.
Bench Warrant (issued by Youth Justice Court Judge) Held – the warrant is held until the next court date. If the young person does not show at that time, the warrant is executed. Endorsed – the warrant is executed, RCMP informs the young person of the court date and releases him or her. Unendorsed – the warrant is executed and RCMP detains the young person until a show-cause hearing.
Case Management The process of organizing, coordinating, implementing and recording the involvement and information sharing of all persons/service providers significant to the young person.
Case Management Plan The Youth Worker’s overall work plan for every young person involved in youth justice. It is a plan for the entire sentence and targets the risk factors that reflect the young person’s risk of re-offending. A six-month review is required.
Case Manager Within youth justice, the designated Youth Worker is the case manager. The case manager is responsible for providing and/or coordinating all services relevant to the YCJA and the Young Persons Offences Act mandates, and for ensuring that all services provided are consistent with the case management plan.
CCC The Criminal Code of Canada consists of several parts that define and punish criminal offences, describe the elements of criminal liability, defence, excuse and exemption, and enact procedural provisions that govern the proceedings from institution through trial to final appear.
CCJS Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics.
CRIS Court Registry Information System: an integrated data system that details all court-related information (including court appearances, offences and sentences, searchable by accused’s name or court file number) regarding adults and young persons in the Yukon.
Charge A formal accusation of an offence as a preliminary step to prosecution.
Child A person who is or, in the absence of evidence to the contrary appears to be, less than 12 years old.
Child and Youth Advocate Act An act that creates the office of the Child and Youth Advocate whose duties and functions include providing assistance, support, advice and information to children and youth respecting government services.
Child Welfare Agency (S.35 YCJA) This includes any agency that assesses issues relevant to the safety and welfare of children or provides services that address these concerns. In Yukon, Youth Workers work with Social Workers in Family and Children’s Services and Regional Services.
Circle Sentencing Circle sentencing takes place in certain communities in Yukon. Generally, the young person applies to the sentencing judge for a circle sentence. The circle is usually organized by the community. The circle makes sentencing recommendations to the Youth Justice Court. In addition to the young person and his family or other support group, the circle may include the Youth Justice Court Judge, Crown Counsel, defence counsel, the victim, the Youth Worker, the Community Justice Coordinator, elders and other interested members of the community. Participants in the circle are all given an opportunity to speak. They may speak about the young person, the young person’s culture or community, the circumstances of the offence, their view of the appropriate sentence or available resources in the community. Circle sentencings may take some time. It is expected that participants will remain in attendance throughout the process.
Circuit Court Yukon is one judicial jurisdiction. Yukon judges have jurisdiction throughout Yukon and regularly preside over circuit courts in communities outside Whitehorse. Before each scheduled circuit court, a pre-circuit conference is held to discuss the upcoming circuit docket. A Youth Worker attends this conference when a young person is scheduled for sentencing.
Community Justice Committees A set of community-based justice organizations providing services to adults and young persons. Many have been authorized under the YCJA s. 10(2)(a) to deliver Extrajudicial Sanctions. Each committee has a coordinator.
Community Supervision The period of supervision in the community subject to conditions under YCJA s. 42(2)(n), forming the last one third of a custody and community supervision order. Conditions are set by both the Youth Justice Court Judge and the Provincial Director, under s. 97.
Conditional Supervision The period of supervision in the community with respect to presumptive offences under s. 42(2)(o),(q) or (r) of the YCJA, forming the last period of a custody and conditional supervision order. The young person is brought before a youth justice court at least one month before the end of the custodial portion for the Youth Justice Court Judge to set conditions, under s. 105(1) of the YCJA.
Conference (Section 19) A group of persons convened under s. 19 of the YCJA to give advice on appropriate extrajudicial measures, conditions for judicial interim release, sentences, including the review of sentences and/or reintegration plans.
Contraband An intoxicant, or, if possessed without authorization, a weapon, an explosive or a tobacco product or any other object or substance that is possessed without authorization and may threaten the management or operation of, or discipline, security or safety of persons.
Count A charge in an Information laid by the RCMP with the Crown. There may be more than one count/charge with respect to an alleged event.
Court Clerk Court clerks within the Court Registry, Department of Justice, acts as the administrative arm to the judiciary at all levels of court. They follow up on court decisions, rulings and orders by reviewing and issuing court documents and forwarding documents to appropriate persons. They also provide information to the public about proceedings. In court, they are responsible for the court file and exhibits, call maters to be addressed by the court, administer oaths or solemn affirmations, read charges, endorse the Information or Indictment and take notes of proceedings. Youth Justice Court clerks exercise all the powers ordinarily exercised by court clerks and in the absence of a Youth Justice Court judge exercise his or her powers of adjournment.
Court Registry A unit within the Department of Justice responsible for the administration of court services.
Court User Group In Yukon, the Chief Judge coordinates meetings on a quarterly basis, or more frequently, for the users of the court system. The meetings provide an opportunity for those who participate in the court on a professional basis to offer suggestions and recommendations on matters such as efficiency of court procedures.
Crown Counsel Public prosecutors in the Canadian legal system. They represent the Crown at all stages of the proceedings and at all levels of court.
Custody The portion of a custody and community supervision, or a custody and conditional supervision, order that is served in a secure and/or open custody setting at a youth custody facility. This is normally the first two-thirds of a custody and community supervision order, and is set by the court for custody and conditional supervision (for presumptive offences).
Defence Counsel The young person’s lawyer. S/he advises and represents the young person in the criminal justice system.
Detain Hold in custody while awaiting show cause, trial or sentencing.
Detention Order An order made by a Justice of the Peace or a Youth Justice Court Judge detaining a young person in custody for an indefinite period while adjudication and (if appropriate) sentencing processes are completed. Detention is presumed unnecessary if the young person could not, on being found guilty, be committed to custody on the grounds set out in s. 39(1)(a) to (c) of the YCJA.
Disclosure The communication of information other than by way of publication. This includes verbal, electronic, or written (hard copy).
Discretionary Power of the Crown The RCMP lay charges in Yukon. Crown can stay or withdraw those charges. Crown makes an election where there is an election available and Crown may refer a case to youth probation services and/or a Community Justice Committee.
Election The Youth Justice Court shall put a young person to his or her election, if s/he is charged with committing murder before turning 14 years of age, is charged with committing an offence when at least 14 years of age and the Attorney General has given notice of the intention to seek an adult sentence or if it is unknown if the person was an adult or youth and an adult charged with the same offence would have an election or a trial in a superior court.
Escape from Lawful Custody
Section 145(1)(a) of the CCC covers the offence of escape. Section 145(1)(b) is the offence of being unlawfully at large. An escape is an unlawful departure from legal custody. 
Escort To maintain custody of a person while the person is being transported.
Extrajudicial Measures (EJM) Measures other than judicial proceedings under the YCJA used to deal with a young person alleged to have committed an offence. EJM includes taking no further action, warnings, cautions, referrals (s. 6), and extrajudicial sanctions (s. 10). EJMs may be pre-charge (e.g., warnings, cautions or referrals) or post-charge (e.g., extrajudicial sanctions).
Extrajudicial Sanctions (EJS) An alternative to a court sentence whereby a young person who accepts responsibility for  the offence committed must meet the conditions (i.e., restitution, apology letter, community work service) in an EJS Agreement approved by Crown Counsel. A program authorized under s. 10 of the YCJA used in circumstances where, due to the seriousness of the offence, nature and number of previous offences committed by the young person, or any other aggravating circumstance, the young person cannot be adequately dealt with by a warning, caution or referral. Previously known as Alternative Measures under the Young Offenders Act.
Hybrid Offences Certain prescribed offences in the CCC that can be dealt with either summarily (summary conviction offence) or by indictment (indictable offence), at the discretion of Crown Counsel.
Indictable Offences Generally the more serious offences.
Information “laying an information” Proceedings against a young person are commenced by the laying of an Information or Indictment. These documents set out the charges against the young person and form the basis for the court proceedings. 
Intensive Rehabilitation Custody and Supervision
Youth justice court may make an IRCS order in respect of a young person when they have been found guilty of a serious violent offence, or the young person has been found guilty of an offence, in the commission of which the young person caused or attempted to cause serious bodily harm and for which an adult is liable to imprisonment for a term of more than two years, and the young person had previously been found guilty at least twice of such an offence. The young person must suffer from a mental illness or disorder, a psychological disorder or an emotional disturbance. A plan of treatment and intensive supervision must be developed for the young person and there must be reasonable grounds to believe that the plan might reduce the risk of the young person repeating the offence or committing a serious violent offence. Finally, the Provincial Director must determine that an IRCS is available to the young person and that their participation in the program is appropriate.
Judicial Interim Release The release from custody while awaiting trial or court appearance. (commonly referred to as “bail”)
Justice of the Peace (JP) A person duly appointed by the Chief Judge to perform specified duties in accordance with legislated authorities, which include hearing show-causes and remanding young persons, but (except for Whitehorse) does not include trials or sentencing.
Lieutenant Governor in Council Means the lieutenant governor acting by and with the advice of, by and with the advice and consent of, or in conjunction with, the executive council of the province indicated by the enactment, and in Yukon, means the Commissioner of Yukon acting with the consent of the Executive Council of Yukon and, in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, means the Commissioner.
Notice to Parent A parent must be notified when a young person is arrested and informed of the place of detention and the reason for the arrest. A parent must be given notice in writing of any summons, appearance notice, promise to appear, undertaking or recognizance issued in relation to or entered into by their child. Notices to parents must include the name of the young person, the charge against the young person, the time and place of appearance and a statement that the young person has the right to be represented by counsel. In certain circumstances notice may be given to a relative or other adult.  
Offence (YCJA) An offence created by an Act of Parliament, including the CCC, or by any regulation or bylaw under an Act of Parliament. In the case of young persons, the YCJA sets out the procedures and sentences for dealing with these offences.
Offence (YPOA) An offence created by a Yukon enactment (e.g., Liquor Act) or municipal bylaw. For young persons in the Yukon, the YPOA sets out the procedures and sentences for dealing with these offences.
Parent (YCJA) In respect of any young person, any person who is under legal duty to provide for the young person or any person who has, in law or in fact, the custody or control of the young person. This does not include a person who has the custody or control of the young person by reason only of proceedings under the YCJA.
Post-Charge A legal procedure occurring after an Information is laid (e.g., post-charge extrajudicial sanctions).
Pre-Charge A legal procedure occurring before an Information is laid (e.g., pre-charge extrajudicial measures).
Pre-Trial Detention Generic term that covers both remand and detention.
Presumptive Offence An offence committed, or alleged to have been committed, by a young person who has attained the age of 14 years, including murder, attempted murder, manslaughter, aggravated sexual assault or an offence designated by a Youth Justice Court Judge as a serious violent offence under YCJA s. 42(9), if two previous offences have been designated under this section under separate proceedings.
Program The level of organization below a Unit within Family & Children’s Services Branch. Each unit, e.g., Youth Justice, consists of several program areas, e.g., Youth Probation. See Section 1.2 for a full list of Youth Justice programs.
Program Activity Each program consists of a set of program activities. For example, the Youth Achievement Centre program includes various activities such as life skills, outdoors or educational.
Provincial Director (PD)   Under s. 2 of the YCJA, a person, group or class of persons or a body appointed or designated by or under an Act of the legislature of a province or by the lieutenant governor in Council of a province or his or her delegate to perform in that province, either generally or in a specific case, any of the duties or functions of a PD under the YCJA. In the Yukon, the Director of Family and Children’s Services is designated PD. Under s. 22 of the YCJA, the PD “may authorize any person to exercise the powers or perform the duties or functions” of the PD. Various duties and functions have been delegated by the Provincial Director to the Manager of Youth Justice, the Manager of Regional Services, the supervisors in Youth Probation and Regional Services, Custody Services, and Youth Workers. See P for details. For the purposes of the Youth Justice Manual, whenever there is a reference to the PD, the position authorized to carry out the duty or function is specified in brackets, e.g., “Provincial Director (Manager of Youth Justice or Manager of Regional Services)”, “Provincial Director (Supervisor of Youth Probation or supervisors of Regional Services)”, or “Provincial Director (Youth Worker), as the case may be. Note that many PD functions, especially those related to young persons in custody and supervision, have been authorized to Youth Justice but are not relevant to Regional Services. References to “Provincial Director (Manager of Youth Justice)”, or analogous references for other authorization levels, reflect this.
Publication The communication of information by making it known or accessible to the general public through any means, including print, radio or television broadcast, telecommunication or electronic means.
Reading of Information The Judge or Justice of the Peace (JP) causes the information or indictment to be read to the young person.
Recognizance A promise made by the young person before a judge or officer, with penalties for breach of it, by which the young person promises to observe some condition, such as to appear when required, to pay a debt, or to keep the peace and be of good behaviour.
Record Anything containing information, regardless of its physical form or characteristics, including microform, sound recording, videotape, machine-readable record, and any copy of those things, that is created or kept for the purposes of the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) or for the investigation of an offence that is or could be prosecuted under the YCJA.
Regional Services A Branch within the Department of Health and Social Services that provides the programs and services of that department to persons residing in communities other than Whitehorse. These programs and services include youth probation.
Rehabilitation A goal-oriented process over a specific length of time aimed at helping a young person to change his or her character or outlook so that s/he can function in society without committing other crimes or offences.
Reintegration Leave Formerly referred to as Temporary Absence under the Young Offenders Act (YOA). A provincial director may, subject to any terms or conditions s/he considers desirable, authorize, for a young person committed to a custody and supervision order, a reintegration leave for a period not exceeding 30 days (subject to renewal for another 30 days), with or without escort, for medical, compassionate, or humanitarian reasons or for the purposes of rehabilitating or reintegrating the young person into the community. For example, a reintegration leave allows the young person to attend school, work, day programs and treatment programs.
An order made by a JP or a Youth Justice Court Judge to hold a young person in custody until the date specified for the next court appearance.
Restorative Community Conference A facilitated process designed to give opportunity for people affected by crime to gather together to acknowledge the harm done to an individual or group of people and look at ways to repair the harm and determine who is responsible for this repair. Convening a conference: A conference is convened in accordance with the YCJA s. 19(1) when one of the persons listed in that subsection requests or directs a conference to be convened for the purpose of making a decision under the YCJA. Conducting a conference: A person who prepares and conducts the conference as referred by the convener is the facilitator of the conference. A facilitator is a person trained under the prescribed Restorative Community Conference Program training program to facilitate conferences under the YCJA. See reference to the “conducting of conferences” in YCJA s. 19(3). 
Right to Counsel Under YCJA s. 25, the arresting officer or officer in charge must advise the young person of his or her right to retain and instruct counsel and provide him or her with the opportunity to do so. The young person may exercise his or her right to counsel at any stage of the proceedings and during any consideration of whether to use an extrajudicial sanction instead of starting judicial proceedings.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) The RCMP investigate criminal offences. They gather the evidence and prepare reports detailing the evidence for the prosecutor. The RCMP lay criminal charges. Once criminal charges are laid, Crown Counsel prosecutes the case. Prosecutors may also be called upon to give legal advice to the RCMP about ongoing investigations.
Serious Violent Offence An offence in the commission of which a young person causes or attempts to cause serious bodily harm. The Crown Counsel may apply to have an offence designated by a youth justice judge as a serious violent offence under s. 42(9) of the YCJA.
Show-cause Hearings When the RCMP apprehends a young person for an alleged offence and holds him or her in custody, the young person is entitled to have a show-cause hearing before a Youth Justice Court Judge or JP within a 24-hour period. The hearing determines whether or not s/he will be detained, and, if applicable, the conditions of his or her release.
Statute A piece of legislation (also known as an Act) proclaimed by a legislative body under the appropriate authority.
Summary Conviction Offences Less serious offences, such as causing a disturbance (s. 175 CCC).
Temporary Restraint The RCMP have the right (no authorization is required) to hold a young person for a short period of time after an arrest. This facilitates questioning him or her. The RCMP has to notify the parents of the young person.
Transportation Conveying a young person by any means from point A to point B.
Undertaking The young person is released on a promise to appear in court with various conditions. Release is permitted when the JP or the Youth Justice Judge Court considers that the young person is not a danger to himself or herself or the community, and believes s/he will show up for his or her next court appearance.
Unit The level organization below Branch but above Program. In Family and Children’s Services Branch, there are a number of units, including Youth Justice, each with a program manager.
Victim Under the Victims of Crime Act, ”victim” means an individual who, as a result of an act or omission that forms the basis of an offence, suffers bodily or mental injury, emotional trauma, economic loss or deprivation of property.
Victim Services Department of Justice program that supports victims of adult or youth crime, primarily victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
Victim Witness Coordinator Federal program under which victims of and witnesses to crimes are supported throughout the legal process.
Working Days, Hours Monday to Friday, 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM, excluding statutory holidays. For example, in the case of a Provincial Director (PD) remand requiring a decision by the PD within 48 hours whether the young person is to be brought before Youth Justice Court or released (the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) s. 108): if the PD remand occurs at 2:00 on the Friday before a “three day weekend”, the young person must be released by the following Wednesday at 2:00 PM if the PD decides not to refer the matter to Youth Justice Court.
YOIS Young Offender Information System, the computer program for data collection at Health and Social Services, used by Youth Justice, regional and other departmental staff.
Young Person (YCJA) A person who is, or, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, appears to be 12 years old or older, but less than 18 years old and, if the context requires, any person who is charged under the YCJA with having committed an offence while he or she was a young person or who is found guilty of an offence under the YCJA.
Youth Justice The unit in Whitehorse, within Family and Children’s Services Branch, Department of Health and Social Services, that provides a full spectrum of youth justice services (see Section 1.6 for details).
Youth Justice Worker Staff of Whitehorse Youth Justice.
youth justice worker (non-capitalized) All staff of Youth Justice and Regional Services who provide or support youth justice services as appropriate to their job descriptions, duties and responsibilities.
Youth Justice Court Any court that may be established or designated by or under an Act of the legislature of a province, or designated by the Governor in Council or the Lieutenant Governor in Council of a province, as a youth justice court for the purposes of the YCJA. See s. 13(1) of the YCJA. In the Yukon, it is generally the Territorial Court of Yukon, but includes the Superior Court of criminal jurisdiction (Supreme Court of Yukon).
Youth Justice Court Judge A person who may be appointed or designated as a Judge of the Youth Justice Court or a judge sitting in a court established or designated as a Youth Justice Court. See s. 13(1) of the YCJA.
Youth Probation A program within the Youth Justice unit, through which a young person involved with the youth justice system under the YCJA or the Young Persons Offences Act (YPOA) is supervised by a Whitehorse Youth Worker.
Youth Sentence A sentence imposed under sections 42, 51, 59 or 94–96 of the YCJA, and includes a confirmation or a variation of that sentence.
Youth Worker As defined in YCJA s. 2: Any person appointed or designated, whether by title of Youth Worker or probation officer or by any other title, to perform any of the duties or functions or a Youth Worker under the YCJA. In the Yukon, the following job titles are designated as Youth Worker:
  • Manager, Youth Justice;
  • Supervisor, Youth Probation;
  • Youth Probation Officer;
  • Intensive Support and Supervision Officer;
  • Extrajudicial Sanctions Coordinator;
  • Manager, Regional Services;
  • Supervisor, Regional Services;
  • Regional Social Worker: and
  • Social Worker.
See also Provincial Director. Under the YCJA s. 22, Youth Workers (and others) are authorized to perform specified powers and duties of the PD through a formal authorization process.  
YCJA Youth Criminal Justice Act. Federal legislation that enacts special provisions that apply to young persons within the criminal justice system.
YPOA Young Persons Offences Act. Territorial legislation that sets out the provisions and procedures under which young persons are dealt with in regard to alleged offences under territorial statures.

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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