Chapter 15 – Notes
Youth Criminal Justice Act – 2003
Canada boasts a federal Department of Justice, which embodies and reflects this convention. It
can be used in law and legislation to imply the impartiality of the system.
The Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees Canadian citizens and permanent residents the
following rights and freedoms: freedom of conscience and religion; freedom of thought, belief
and expression freedom of association; the right to vote; and the right to life, liberty, and
security of person.
It passed from a laissez-faire philosophy in which children were considered parental property, to
a humanitarian and sentimental rationale of children as a separate class of partially formed
individuals, to the current discourse of children as people entitled to individual rights.
Human rights and protections set out by the convention can usefully be divided into three broad
groups, often referred to as the ‘three Ps’: provision, protection, and participation.
Rights of provision imply that youth must be afforded basic welfare, which includes the right to
survival and development, education, and to be cared for by parents.
Rights and social goods are not equally distributed throughout the Canadian population. Socio-
economic status and class play a significant role: people on the margins are grossly
overrepresented in poverty and incarceration rates. Economic globalization, the dismantling of
the social welfare net, and the intensification of penal strategies have all contributed to greater
inequality and unequal distribution of scarce societal resources in favor of the affluent.
Poverty is not an equal opportunity oppressor. The council presented evidence that
marginalized populations and children in lone female-parented households are at the greatest
risk to experience poverty.
Individuals warehoused in Canada’s centre of detention are almost exclusively from the most
marginal classes. Instead of distributing welfare benefits to the poor and destitute, Canadians
have placed this class under the authority of the criminal justice system.
Throughout the 1990s, when the tendency to lock up juvenile offenders was at its peak, so too
was the erosion