• Nicholas BalaEmail author
  • Peter J. Carrington


Prior to 2003, Canada discretionary approach to youth justice resulted in the country having one of the highest rates in the world for use of courts and custody for adolescent offenders. The Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) came into force in 2003 and has significantly structured the discretion of police, prosecutors and judges, and been accompanied by very substantial reductions in youth charging and use of custody for adolescents and more use of community-based sentencing options; youth crime has fallen slightly. Canada’s federal parliament has jurisdiction over juvenile justice legislation, while provincial and territorial governments are responsible for the establishment of youth courts and the provision of services for young offenders, as well as jurisdiction over child welfare, so there is significant variation in the implementation of the law across Canada. There are concerns in Canada about such issues as overrepresentation of visible minority and Aboriginal youth in custody.


Juvenile justice, Canada Youth Criminal Justice Act (Canada) Community dispositions for youth, increased use Decline in youth custody 



This chapter reports analyses of data provided by Statistics Canada. The views expressed are those of the authors and do not represent the views of Statistics Canada. Preparation of this chapter was supported by a research grant to the second author from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of LawQueen’s UniversityKingstonCanada
  2. 2.University of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

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