The Juvenile Justice Act (YCJA; French: The Youth Criminal Justice Act (the Act) is a Canadian law that came into force on April 1, 2003. It provides for the prosecution of minors for criminal offences. This Act replaced the Juvenile Offenders Act, which in turn replaces the Juvenile Justice Act. Prior to the YCJA, juvenile courts dealt with a large number of relatively minor crimes that did not require trial to hold the juvenile accountable. In addition, the extent to which cases were diverted from the court process varied considerably from province to province. Both the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Act provide for the right of young people to legal representation. The sentencing judge will also strive to impose a sentence that encourages young people to take responsibility for the consequences of their actions. [p.3, p.38 YCJA] According to article 42, paragraph 2, the twelfth penalty for juveniles is placement in a programme of support and intensive care.  This deprivation of liberty option has been included in the legislation, along with options such as reprimands and non-residential programs or attendance orders.  The YCJA abolished the process of transferring youth to adult court. Instead, the YCJA introduced a proceeding in which the juvenile court first determines whether or not the minor is guilty of the crime, and then can impose a sentence applicable to adults in certain circumstances. Offences punishable by an adult are offences committed when the minor was at least 14 years of age and for which an adult would be liable to imprisonment for more than two years.
The YCJA, as passed by Parliament in 2002, also provided that minors 14 years of age and older convicted of certain serious violent crimes would be sentenced to an adult sentence. In these circumstances, it is incumbent on the juvenile to convince the court that a juvenile sentence would be appropriate. On December 18, 2019, further amendments to the YCJA came into force to strengthen the current approach to youth justice and reduce the level of charges for crimes committed by the administration of justice (for example, bail violations). The amendments aim to further promote the use of alternatives to charging young people with a crime, reduce unnecessary and restrictive bail and punishment conditions, limit the use of prison sentences and increase the efficiency of juvenile courts. For a summary, see Clicklaw`s recent amendments to Canada`s Youth Justice Act. Comparisons of remand rates (i.e., the number of remand juveniles per 10,000 juveniles in the population) also indicate an increase in remand under the YCJA. According to statistics from the 10 provinces, the overall survey rate increased from 3.3 in 2003/2004 to 3.8 in 2009/2010 (see Figure 4). Paragraph (c) is intended to reflect social values while taking into account the unique circumstances of each person.  It describes the parameters within which actions against a young offender are determined: Why do we have the YCJA? The YCJA applies to youth between the ages of 12 and 17. A person is considered an adult at the age of 18 and a person under the age of 12 cannot be charged with a crime. The YCJA treats youth differently from adults because: Prior to the YCJA, the use of conferences increased in many parts of Canada to assist in decision-making for youth involved in the youth justice system.
In general, a conference refers to different types of processes in which interested or concerned parties come together to formulate plans to deal with the circumstances of each juvenile case. The conferences were held informally and without legislative power. § 59: Review of juvenile sentences without deprivation of liberty Under the Juvenile Justice Act, approximately 20 per cent of prison sentences were charged with “non-compliance” related to probation orders.  The Juvenile Justice Act revised these procedures, recognizing that most problems related to the violation of probation conditions were not criminal acts per se and that this endangered the integrity of the justice system itself. Therefore, the law views review, rather than an indictment, as a means of reducing reliance on detention while being as fair as possible to the offender in assessing the seriousness of a crime. Children under the age of 12 cannot be charged or tried for an offence under the Criminal Code or the YCJA. If a child under the age of 12 is caught doing something illegal, the police will likely inform their parents, who can then get help from the child`s school or a community agency. In more serious situations, the child welfare services of the Ministry of Children and Family Development may be involved. In R v C.D.
/ C.D.K. [2005 SCC 78], the Supreme Court of Canada confirmed that minors receive the most favourable interpretation of the penal provisions of the Act. In C.D/C.D.K., the Court held that “violent crimes” within the meaning of section 39 of the Act do not include arson; The author was therefore entitled to a more lenient injunction. [ibid., p. 85] In 2012, Parliament amended the YCJA to allow for youth sentencing, including targets for whistleblowing and specific deterrence. However, the inclusion of these objectives must not lead to a punishment that goes beyond a proportionate response or incompatible with the objective of the conviction and the above-mentioned mandatory penal principles, such as the choice of a sentence most likely to rehabilitate the juvenile. Sentencing Options 42(2)(q) Paragraph 42(2)(q) states the following with respect to custody and supervision for 1st and 2nd degree murder. Offenders convicted of 1st degree murder are liable to a maximum sentence of 10 years, including up to 6 years in prison and a period of conditional supervision in the community.  Offenders convicted of 2nd degree murder face a maximum sentence of 7 years, including up to 4 years in prison and a period of conditional supervision in the community.  Other legal considerations are that the Attorney General or a provincial director may request that the period of detention be extended. The extension may not exceed the remainder of the juvenile sentence.  At least one month before the end of the custodial portion of the sentence, the CJJ establishes the conditions for conditional supervision of the minor.
 Following the restorative justice paradigm, YYCs aim to “strike the right balance between accountability and community intervention.”  CJJs are widely used in Manitoba, Alberta and New Brunswick.