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The Youth Justice programs provide structured programming for males and females between the ages of 12-17 who are in conflict with the law. Structured programming includes assessment and competency skill development. Additional programs assist youth to function more responsibly in the community, encourages opportunities for restoration and provides long-term sustainable solutions that reinforce core social values.

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Youth Justice Committees (YJC) are set up across the province of Ontario to provide support and direction to youths who have allegedly committed minor offences. YJC’s are professionally trained community members. The YJC’s meet with youths who have allegedly committed certain offences, the parents of the youth and the person harmed in order to negotiate an appropriate way for the young person to make amends for his or her action.

The measures imposed are unique to both the youth and the situation. Regardless of the amendable action any youth involved with the YJC must commit to:

  1. An apology; and
  2. Acceptance of responsibility and show remorse

Other measures may include:

  1. Performing a task for the person harmed;
  2. Work community service hours;
  3. Special projects (ie. Essays);
  4. Make a donation to charity;
  5. Adhere to a curfew; and/or
  6. Other measures as deemed appropriate by panel members

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The young person has an opportunity to prevent having a criminal record and gains an understanding of their behavior’s negative impact on others. Youths are then able to better appreciate the consequences and human cost of their action.

The community benefits as volunteers, who sit on YJC committee, develops skills that empower them to resolve these and future conflicts that may arise in the community.

The Justice System benefits from having an alternative, cost-effective process for dealing with many cases that may not find a positive, meaningful resolution in the courts, which ultimately reduces the cost to taxpayers.

When can a youth be referred?

To be eligible to  for referral to the Youth Justice Committee, youths must meet specific criteria

  1. Be 12 to 17 years of age
  2. Be prepared to accept responsibility for their actions
  3. Be made aware of their options and rights
  4. Be willing to participate

Who can refer youths to the program?

Referrals are made on a case by case basis and can be made by two (2) sources, depending on the situation:

  • The Police Service (local or OPP): Police referrals are generally made before charges are laid against the youth
  • The Crown Attorney’s office: Crown referrals are generally made after charges have been laid but before formal court proceedings have taken place.

Youths who do not agree with or fail to comply with measures are returned to the referral source for a resolution.