The Youth Justice System

The Youth Criminal Justice Act is the legal foundation upon which Canada's youth criminal justice system is built. Across the country, governments, police, lawyers, judges and others are working in close partnership with communities and families to prevent youth crime and to ensure a fair and effective youth justice system.

Under Canada's Constitution, the federal government is responsible for the criminal law, including youth justice legislation, while the provinces and territories are responsible for the administration of the criminal justice system.

The Federal Role

The Youth Criminal Justice Act is federal legislation that applies across the country. It is a key component of the federal Youth Justice Initiative, which also includes research and policy development, funding for youth justice programs and services, and other youth justice activities.

Regarding Legal Advice

The Department of Justice is not able to provide legal advice to members of the public on specific cases. If you require legal advice, you should speak to a lawyer. For information on how to obtain the services of a lawyer in your province or territory, please visit your provincial or territorial government website.

The Provincial and Territorial Role

Each Canadian province and territory is individually responsible for the administration of justice, including the implementation of the Youth Criminal Justice Act. This means that youth cases are handled by provincial or territorial agencies, such as provincial and territorial courts, youth correctional services, police, and community-based organizations. Provinces and territories are also responsible for programs such as legal aid and services for victims of crime.

Please visit your provincial or territorial government website for information on the youth justice system in your region.

For more information on Canada's system of justice.