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Young Offenders

Young offenders between the ages of 12 and 17 are governed by the Youth Criminal Justice Act. This legislation is substantially different than the legislation governing adult criminal offences. Young offenders can be charged with the same criminal offences as adults. However, the thrust of the legislation is to move young offenders away from a lifestyle of criminal behaviour. The Youth Criminal Justice Act seeks to reduce reoffending among young people and to assist in getting the lives of young offenders back on the right track.

Young people charged with criminal offences under the Youth Criminal Justice Act have the right to challenge the allegations at trial, just as adults do. However, often diversion programs can be established to help the young person get onto the right track and avoid the criminal justice system in the future.