Canada’S New Government Announces a Plan to Strengthen the Youth Criminal Justice Act

Canada’s New Government will be implementing a plan to strengthen the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA). The announcement followed a meeting with the Honourable Murray K. Scott, Attorney General and Minister of Justice for Nova Scotia.

“Our youth criminal justice system must effectively hold young offenders accountable for serious crimes with meaningful consequences, instil within them a sense of responsibility for their delinquent or criminal behaviour, and give them better opportunities for rehabilitation so that they do not re-offend,” said Minister Nicholson. “I fully intend to amend the Youth Criminal Justice Act to incorporate these very fundamental principles of justice”.

Canada’s New Government will

• amend the YCJA to include deterrence and denunciation as principles of sentencing;

• strengthen pre-trial detention within the YCJA; and

• launch a comprehensive review of the YCJA in 2008.

“Young offenders across Canada continue to commit serious crimes, and it is a problem. In Nova Scotia there was a fatal accident caused by a young offender out on bail, Toronto has witnessed recent shootings by young people, and Winnipeg faces an explosion in car thefts by troubled teens,” Minister Nicholson added. “For this reason, Canada’s New Government is serious about making the changes that are needed to better protect our communities”.

Minister Nicholson also stated the Government’s intention to defend the existing presumptive adult penalty provision in the case of R. v. D.B. before the Supreme Court of Canada in October 2007.

In addition to this plan to strengthen the YCJA, Canada’s New Government has

• introduced a National Anti-Drug Strategy;

• invested in crime prevention community projects across Canada that target youth;

• passed legislation to increase penalties for those convicted of street racing;

• introduced legislation to penalize for drug-impaired driving;

• passed legislation to end house arrest;

• introduced legislation to increase penalties for criminals using firearms;

• introduced legislation to better protect communities from repeat sexual and violent offenders; and

• announced a plan to protect Canadians from identity theft.

Canada’s New Government will continue to listen to and work with the provinces and stakeholders in order to address and respond to the problems posed by youth crime.

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