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Dedicated youth justice system

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Dedicated youth justice system

McGuinty government committed to making communities safer

Ontario introduced legislation today to create a single, youth-focused, legislative framework governing custody, detention and community programs for youth in conflict with the law aged 12 to 17 at the time of an offence.

The Child and Family Services Statute Law Amendment Act, 2008, if passed, will complete the government's transformation of Ontario's youth justice correctional system to a stand alone system completely separate from the adult system.  A key goal of this transformation is reducing the number of youth who re-offend and helping make communities safer.

A dedicated justice system for young people reflects the reality that young people in custody have different needs than adults in custody.

Quick Facts

  • Currently, in Ontario, youth 12 to 15 years of age at the time of an offence are governed by the Child Family Services Act, while those 16 and 17 years of age at the time of an offence are governed by the Ministry of Correctional Services Act. The legislation proposed today harmonizes these two pieces of legislation.
  • The McGuinty government has created a range of community-based and custodial programs to help reduce the number of youth in conflict with the law who re-offend.
  • By April 1, 2009, it is expected that all youth offenders will be located in dedicated youth justice facilities separate from adult correctional institutions.
  • Ontario’s Youth Opportunities Strategy supports at-risk youth in underserved communities through employment, training and mentoring programs.

Additional Resources


“Our government is committed to building stronger, safer communities by holding youth in conflict with the law accountable for their actions while providing the support they need to help them make better choices and lessen the likelihood they will re-offend.”

Deb Matthews

Minister of Children and Youth Services



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