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Canada

Nicholas Bala and Peter J. Carrington

INTRODUCTION: THE CONTEXT FOR JUVENILE JUSTICE IN CANADA

In Canada the federal parliament has jurisdiction to enact criminal law, including juvenile justice legislation, while responsibility for the establishment of youth courts and the provision of services for young offenders, as well as jurisdiction over child welfare, rests with the provincial governments.

Prior to the coming into force of the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) in 2003, Canada had a discretionary approach to youth justice and one of the highest rates in the world for juvenile court referrals and imposing custody in matters involving adolescent offenders (Doob & Cesaroni 2010). The YCJA significantly structured the discretion of police, prosecutors, and judges, resulting in substantial reductions in court referral and youth detention rates; more cases involving youth are being diverted from the courts and more use being made of community-based sentencing options—with no increase in youth crime rates.

This chapter reviews key provisions of the YCJA and leading precedents on juvenile justice in Canada, considers Canadian empirical research on juvenile offending, and analyzes the most recent Canadian statistical data on juvenile offending and the use of youth court.

N. Bala (*)

Faculty of Law, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON K7L 3N6, Canada e-mail: This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it

P.J. Carrington

University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1, Canada e-mail: This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

S.H. Decker, N. Marteache (eds.), International Handbook of Juvenile Justice, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-45090-2_5

 
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