Youth justice - Planning for the Future
How long does a youth record last? Whenever a young person enters the youth justice system, a record will be opened in their name. This record will be “open”, that is, accessible, for a specified time period. Only a very limited range of persons will have access to the record during this time.
The length of time that a youth record remains open depends upon three things:
For a summary conviction offence (a minor offence such as causing a disturbance in a public place), records are kept for three years after a sentence has been completed. For an indictable offence (a serious crime which can range from theft over $5000 to first degree murder) records can be accessed for five years after a sentence has been served. This means that even if a sentence was completed when a youth was 17, their record will remain open at least until they are 22 years old. For violent crimes, the record can sometimes remain open for five years or more.
2 The sentence
The type of sentence will determine how long a youth record will last:
- Extrajudicial Sanctions will mean that a police record, rather than a court record, will be open for two years from the time a youth agrees to enter the program
- An absolute discharge will mean that a record lasts for one year after the judge’s decision
- A conditional discharge carries a record that lasts for three years after the judge’s decision
- Records for a summary conviction offence remain open for three years after the completion of a sentence, including probationary time
- records for an indictable offence are kept open for at least five years after the sentence (including probation) has been served. In cases of extreme violence, the records may be kept open much longer
3 Whether another offence was committed while the record was open
If a young person is convicted as an adult while their youth record is open, the youth record loses the confidentiality protections of the Youth Criminal Justice Act from that point.
Until an appeal period is complete, records will remain open. Even in cases of acquittal, the record will be open until all appeals are heard and decided. In this instance, the record will show that a charge has been laid and the youth found not guilty.
Travelling with a child who has a youth record
Travel within Canada is allowed with the exception of a situation when the youth is under specific order not to leave. While each country will have different rules, in times of political unrest the United States has had a policy that if a person has a criminal record, no matter how minor or how long ago the offence, entry to or transit through the United States may be denied. Current information on travel can be found through the Foreign Affairs Canada web site.
A country’s policy on border traffic can change almost overnight. It is important to talk to a Youth Worker and your child’s lawyer for advice and information to ensure that you understand the policies and implications.
Effects of a youth record on employment opportunities
Under the YCJA:
- Employers are not allowed to request a youth record from police, but they are within the law in asking an applicant to go to the police and get a statement that says a youth has no record.
- Most employers have the right to refuse to hire an applicant as long as their record is open – which can be up to five years after a sentence has been served.
Having a youth record should not stop anyone from looking for work.
Toll Free (Yukon, Nunavut and NWT); 1-800-661-0408 ext. 3610
Youth justice (H-9A)
Health & Social Services, Government of Yukon
Whitehorse, Yukon Y1A 2C6
Location: 305 Lambert Street | Whitehorse, Yukon [map]