Youth Court Statistics, 2008/2009

Warning View the most recent version.

Archived information

Archived information is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please "contact-us" to request a format other than those available.

by Shelly Milligan

Cases completed in youth court
Youth court caseload has stabilized
Drop in youth court caseload seen across the country
Ten offences accounted for over three-quarters of the total youth court caseload
Characteristics of youth appearing in court
Accused persons often older and male
Case processing
Youth court cases taking longer to complete
Overview of youth court case outcomes
About six out of ten cases result in guilt
The proportion of guilty cases reached a low in 2008/2009
Sentencing in youth court
Fewer youth are being sentenced to custody
Almost half of custodial sentences are one month or less
New YCJA sentences ordered in 7% of all guilty youth court cases
Probation is still the most common sentence for youth, but it too is on the decline
The use of probation varies greatly among jurisdictions
Summary
Methodology
Primary unit of analysis
Most serious offence and decision rules
Note concerning data revisions
Detailed data tables
References
Notes

In 1998, the Department of Justice Canada introduced a "Strategy for Youth Justice" which approaches youth justice with a more inclusive framework, focusing on public awareness, crime prevention, education, child welfare, health, family and the community (Department of Justice Canada, 2003 and 2005). Part of this new strategy was the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) which was implemented on April 1, 2003 and replaced the previous legislation of the Young Offenders Act (YOA).

The YCJA concentrates on integrating all areas of young peoples' lives including their mental health, education and welfare, while placing emphasis on rehabilitation and reintegration as well as the long-term protection of the public (Tustin and Lutes, 2006).

Some of the chief objectives of the YCJA are as follows: clear and coherent principles to improve decision-making in the youth justice system; more appropriate use of the courts, fairness in sentencing, and reduced use of custody so that the most serious interventions are reserved for the most serious crimes; clear distinctions between serious violent offences and less serious offences; and effective reintegration of youth into the community (Department of Justice Canada, 2003 and 2005).

One of the main features of the YCJA is the diversion of youth who have committed non-violent and minor crimes away from the formal court system by encouraging the use of extrajudicial measures. These measures are meant to provide timely and meaningful consequences and allow the community to participate in developing community-based responses to youth crime (Department of Justice, 2005; Taylor-Butts and Bressan, 2008). 

The analysis in this article is based on data collected from the Integrated Criminal Court Survey (ICCS) and the Youth Court Survey (YCS). Data on federal statute charges are collected by the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (CCJS) in collaboration with provincial and territorial government departments responsible for the administration of youth courts.

This article explores cases completed in youth courts, their characteristics, along with case processing and outcomes. Sentencing in youth court, for example, the proportion of cases sentenced to custody, the duration of custodial sentences, and the use of both the new YCJA sentences and probation are explored. The focus of this article is placed on the most recent year of data, 2008/2009, and some jurisdictional and trend analyses have been presented.

Cases completed in youth court

Youth court caseload has stabilized

Youth courts in Canada processed 58,379 cases involving 191,054 charges in 2008/2009. This represents a slight decrease (-0.6%) from the overall caseload in 2007/2008 but is 23% lower than in 2002/2003, the year prior to the enactment of the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA). The largest decline came in the first year of the new legislation, when youth courts disposed of 16% fewer cases. Since 2004/2005, the number of cases completed has remained relatively stable (Table 1, Chart 1).

Chart 1
Youth court caseload has stabilized

Description

Chart 1 Youth court caseload has stabilized

Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Youth Court Survey.

For several years prior to the introduction of the YCJA, (between 1991/19921 and 2002/2003), the number of youth court cases processed each year had already been on the decline. This was fuelled primarily by the steady decline in the number of crimes against property cases2 (such as theft, break and enter and mischief). This drop in these cases continued following the enactment of the YCJA (–32% from 2002/2003 to 2008/2009). All other categories of offences dropped significantly as well.

Following an upward trend during the 1990s, crimes against the person cases dropped 9% in the first year of the YCJA and 9% in the following year. In 2008/2009 there were 11% fewer crimes against the person compared with 2002/2003, the year prior to the enactment of the new legislation. Despite this decrease, crimes against the person cases are currently 10% higher than their low of 14,080 cases in 1991/1992.

Cases involving offences against other federal statutes,3 such as drug and YCJA/YOA offences, declined over the first three years under the YCJA. More recently, youth courts have started hearing more of these types of cases, experiencing overall annual increases of 5% in 2007/2008 and 4% in 2008/2009. Nevertheless, the number of these cases remains 30% lower than in 2002/2003 (Table 1).

Drop in youth court caseload seen across the country

Since the introduction of the YCJA, the drop in the youth court caseload at the national level has been seen across the country. Among the provinces and territories, there were seven jurisdictions where the caseload in 2008/2009 was at least 20% lower than in 2002/2003. Newfoundland and Labrador led the way with a drop of (–48%), followed by the Northwest Territories (-39%), British Columbia (-37%), Prince Edward Island (-31%), Ontario (-30%), Yukon (-26%) and New Brunswick (–22%). The remaining jurisdictions all experienced smaller declines (Table 2).

Although the youth court caseload in every province and territory was much lower than it was in the last year of the YOA, several provinces experienced an increase in their caseload from 2007/2008 to 2008/2009. Alberta youth courts completed 4% more cases, while Quebec, Manitoba, and Nunavut experienced increases of about 3%.  

Differences across the country in the reporting of criminal incidents to police, in procedures and eligibility requirements for police diversion and extrajudicial measures programs, and differences in provincial policy directing Crown discretion influence the volume and characteristics of the cases completed in youth courts. Pre-charge screening by the Crown is mandatory in New Brunswick, Quebec and British Columbia. Processes such as these serve to keep less serious cases out of the court system and reduce court workload. These factors should be considered when making inter-jurisdictional comparisons.

Ten offences accounted for over three-quarters of the total youth court caseload.

In 2008/2009, the types of cases processed in youth courts most often involved crimes against property (38%) and crimes against the person (26%). Cases involving offences against the administration of justice (11%), other Criminal Code offences (5%), and Criminal Code traffic offences (2%) were less frequent. Other federal statute offences, such as drug-related and YCJA offences, accounted for 18% (Table 3).

As in past years, a small number of offences accounted for a large proportion of the youth court caseload in 2008/2009. Together, 10 offences represented over three-quarters (76%) of the total youth court caseload (Chart 2).

Chart 2
Ten offences accounted for over three-quarters of the youth court caseload in 2008/2009

Description

Chart 2 Ten offences accounted for over three-quarters of  the youth court caseload in 2008/2009.

Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Youth Court Survey.

Four of the most frequent offences were in the category of crimes against property: theft accounted for 14% of the total completed caseload, while break and enter accounted for 8% and mischief and possession of stolen property for 7% and 6%, respectively.

Three offences in the category of crimes against the person were among the top 10 most frequent types of cases completed in youth court. Common assault cases accounted for 8% of youth court cases, followed by major assault4 (6%) and robbery (5%).

The remaining high volume cases involved offences under other federal statutes—YCJA offences (10%) and drug possession (5%), as well as an administration of justice offence—failure to comply with an order (7%).

Characteristics of youth appearing in court

Accused persons often older and male

Of all youth court cases in 2008/2009, 72% involved a male accused, while 21% involved a female accused. The sex of the accused was not recorded in 7% of the cases.  

Offences for which males had the highest involvement included sexual assault (92%), other sexual offences (88%), drug possession (85%), attempted murder (82%) and weapons offences (82%). The highest representation of females was found in cases of prostitution (44%), common assault (36%), and fraud (35%).

Youth who appear in court tend to be older. In 2008/2009, 12- to 15-year-olds accounted for 41% of youth court cases; whereas, 16- to 17-year-olds accounted for 57% (Table 4).5

Case processing

Youth court cases taking longer to complete

The median elapsed time to process a case in youth court (from the time of the youth's first court appearance to the date of case completion) was 119 days in 2008/2009. This is over a month longer than in the year prior to the enactment of the YCJA, 2002/2003, when it was 81 days. The largest part of this increase occurred in the first year of the YCJA when the median elapsed time rose to 106 days (Chart 3).

Chart 3
Median number of days to complete youth court cases has risen over time

Description

Chart 3 Median number of days to complete youth court cases has risen over time

Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Youth Court Survey.

In 2008/2009, homicide and attempted murder cases took the longest to complete, at 392 and 295 median days, respectively. Sexual assault and other sexual offences (including voyeurism and sexual interference) had median elapsed times of 254 and 192 days, respectively. The shortest median elapsed time occurred for the offence of being unlawfully at large (13 days) (Table 5).

In 2008/2009, about 5 out of every 10 cases (52%) were processed in 4 months or less, with 8% of cases taking longer than a year. Nine percent of cases were completed at the first court appearance.

Youth courts may be hearing lengthier cases as a result of less serious cases being diverted away from the court process as per the principles and objectives of extrajudicial measures under the YCJA. Less serious cases may not proceed to court, but rather be dealt with by police warnings or cautions and referrals to community programs. Further vetting of charges by the Crown may result in additional less serious charges being handled in some manner other than proceeding to court (e.g., Crown caution or extrajudicial sanction). 

Overview of youth court case outcomes

About six out of ten cases result in guilt

Cases with a finding or plea of guilt accounted for 59% of cases disposed of in youth courts in 2008/2009.6 One in five cases (21%) were withdrawn or dismissed. Proceedings were stayed in 19% of cases, and 1% resulted in an acquittal (Table 6).
 
The proportion of guilty cases varies considerably from one jurisdiction to another. The proportion of cases resulting in a guilty finding ranged from 42% in Yukon to 85% in New Brunswick (Table 6).

The proportion of guilty findings varied among offence categories.7 Cases where the youth was accused of being unlawfully at large were found guilty most often (90%), followed by impaired driving (85%), and offences under the YCJA (82%). Prostitution cases recorded the lowest proportion of guilty findings (25%), followed by attempted murder (35%), drug possession (38%) and disturbing the peace (43%) (Table 7).

There are several possible factors that influence variations in the proportion of cases found guilty. First, some jurisdictions use diversion programs to a greater extent and this may reduce the number and types of cases that proceed to court. Second, the use of stays and withdrawals varies across the country. Cases that are stayed or withdrawn are often indicative of charges set aside pending completion of extrajudicial/alternative measures or diversion programs, or the systematic use of these decisions for administrative purposes. Third, the use of pre-charge screening by the Crown, which occurs in New Brunswick, Quebec and British Columbia, may also affect the percentage of youth found guilty through increased vetting of charges.     

The proportion of guilty cases reached a low in 2008/2009

Since reaching a high of 70% in 1998/1999, the proportion of cases where the accused either pleaded guilty or was found guilty has been gradually declining. The figure for 2008/2009 (59%), is the lowest proportion since 1991/1992 when data were first collected for youth courts in Canada (Table 7).8

The proportion of cases resulting in guilt has declined for many different types of cases. However, much of the decrease comes from the higher volume cases, especially crimes against property cases, where the proportion fell from 69% of cases in 1998/1999 to 53% in 2008/2009. All of the offences within the property category have experienced declines in the proportion of guilty cases, including fraud, theft, and break and enter.

Sentencing in youth court

The YCJA provides legislative direction on sentencing by including statements of purpose, principles and factors that are to be considered when a judge imposes a youth sentence. In sentencing a youth under the YCJA, a judge is to consider a sentence that holds the youth accountable, ensures meaningful consequences for them, and promotes the youth's rehabilitation and reintegration into society. The sentence must be "proportionate to the seriousness of the offence".9 All reasonable alternatives to custody must be considered before a judge may impose a custodial sentence. For the most part, the use of custody is to be reserved for violent and serious repeat offenders.

Fewer youth are being sentenced to custody

Consistent with the objectives of the YCJA, not only are there fewer youth appearing in court, fewer are being sentenced to custody. In 2008/2009, 15% of all guilty cases resulted in a custodial sentence compared to 27% in 2002/2003 (Table 8).

All provinces and territories have experienced decreases in the proportion of guilty youth cases receiving custodial sentences since the first year of the YCJA. This, coupled with the declining number of guilty cases, has had an impact on the number of youth being sentenced to custody (Chart 4).

Chart 4
Fewer youth are being sentenced to custody

Description

Chart 4 Fewer youth are being sentenced to custody

Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Youth Court Survey.

Custody is frequently ordered for serious violent offences under the category of crimes against the person (Table 9). For example, in 2008/2009, 10 of the 31 guilty homicide cases (32%),10 4 of the 6 guilty attempted murder cases (67%) and 592 of the 1,671 guilty robbery cases (35%) resulted in a sentence of custody.

Custody is also frequently ordered for cases in which the youth was found guilty of being unlawfully at large. In 2008/2009, 326 of the 474 cases of being unlawfully at large (69%), received a custodial sentence.

Almost half of custodial sentences are one month or less

In 2008/2009, 48% of cases resulting in custody and supervision were for terms of 1 month or less and a further 26% were for terms of greater than 1 month to 3 months. In contrast, 8% of terms were longer than 6 months.11 In 2008/2009, the median sentence length was 36 days (Table 10).12

New YCJA sentences ordered in 7% of all guilty youth court cases

In 2008/2009, of the new sentences under the YCJA,13deferred custody and supervision orders were handed down most frequently. Of the 34,434 guilty cases, 1,304 (4%) received such an order (Table 9). Six offences account for two thirds (66%) of cases ordered to deferred custody and supervision—YCJA offences (15%), robbery (16%), major assault (13%), break and enter (9%), theft (6%) and, failure to comply (5%).

While the use of custody has become less frequent in youth court cases, the imposition of deferred custody and supervision order sentences has increased (Chart 5). Although accounting for only a small proportion of the total guilty sentences, deferred custody and supervision order sentences have more than doubled in both number and proportion since being introduced in 2003/2004.

Chart 5
The proportion of custodial sentences declined while deferred custody and supervison orders increased, Canada, 2003/2004 to 2008/2009.

Description

Chart 5 The proportion of custodial sentences declined  while deferred custody and supervison orders increased, Canada, 2003/2004 to  2008/2009.

Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Youth Court Survey.

The maximum sentence length of a deferred custody and supervision order sentence is 180 days as prescribed by the YCJA.14 In 2008/2009, the median sentence length for this sentence was 120 days, or approximately four months. 

In 2008/2009, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick had the highest proportion of cases, relative to their overall guilty population, that received this sentence (11%). The comparable figure for other jurisdictions ranged from 1% in Manitoba to 6% in British Columbia.15

Regarding other YCJA sentencing options, there were 610 reprimands handed down in 2008/2009, accounting for 2% of guilty cases, 470 orders to intensive support and supervision programs (1%) and 198 orders to attend a non-residential program (0.6%).

Combined, the new YCJA sentences were given in about 7% of all guilty cases. 

Probation is still the most common sentence for youth, but it too is on the decline

Youth who are found guilty can receive more than one sentence. In 2008/2009, 60% of guilty cases included a sentence of probation, either alone or in combination, making it by far the most frequently employed sentencing option (Table 9). However, this figure has decreased from 2002/2003, when 70% of all guilty cases received a sentence of probation (Table 12 and Chart 6). One reason for the change may be due in part to the fact that under the YOA, youth custody sentences were often followed by a period of probation to ensure some form of supervision on reintegration into the community. Under the YCJA however, all youth custody sentences have a mandatory period of community supervision after the custodial portion of the sentence has been completed. Additionally, a portion of cases that may have received probation under the YOA may have received some sort of extrajudicial measure under the YCJA.   

Chart 6
Proportion of guilty youth cases sentenced to probation has declined since the enactment of the YCJA

Description

Chart 6 Proportion of guilty youth cases sentenced to probation has declined since the enactment of the YCJA

Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Youth Court Survey.

In 2008/2009, probation (often in combination with other types of sentences) was ordered most frequently for guilty youth cases involving other Criminal Code offences which includes among others, weapons and prostitution offences (70%), crimes against the person (69%) and crimes against property (66%) (Table 9). A smaller proportion of guilty cases involving other federal statutes (48%) resulted in a sentence of probation.

More specifically, probation was frequently ordered in youth cases involving robbery (76%), sexual assault (75%), other sexual offences (74%), break and enter (75%) and drug trafficking (78%).

As with the YOA, under the YCJA, youth courts may sentence a young offender to probation for a maximum of two years. In 2008/2009, the median sentence length for probation sentences was approximately one year (365 days) (Table 10). Just over 1 in 5 (22%) probation sentences were for a period of 6 months or less, 54% ranged from greater than 6 months to 12 months, and 24% were for more than 12 months.16

The use of probation varies greatly among jurisdictions

The proportion of guilty youth cases receiving a probation sentence varies considerably by province and territory. For example, in 2008/2009, Nunavut and Prince Edward Island had the highest proportions of guilty cases where the youth was sentenced to probation, at 86% and 78%, respectively. At the low end were Saskatchewan (43%), British Columbia (43%), New Brunswick (48%) and Alberta (50%). All other jurisdictions ranged between 51% as evidenced in Yukon and 71% as in Newfoundland and Labrador (Table 11).

Summary

The implementation of the YCJA on April 1, 2003 brought many changes to youth courts. In general, youth courts across Canada have witnessed fewer youth appearing in court. The largest changes were observed in the two years following the implementation of the YCJA. Since that time, the caseload has stabilized.

Youth court cases are taking longer to process. It may be that the courts are hearing lengthier cases as a result of less serious cases being diverted from the court process as per the principles and objectives of the YCJA.

Consistent with the purpose and principles of the YCJA, that all reasonable alternatives to custody must be considered before a judge may impose a custodial sentence, fewer youth are being sentenced to custody under the YCJA than under the YOA.

Methodology

This article is based on case characteristics data from the Integrated Criminal Court Survey (ICCS) and the Youth Court Survey (YCS). Data on federal statute charges are collected by the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (CCJS) in collaboration with provincial and territorial government departments responsible for youth courts. The surveys consist of a census of Criminal Code and other federal statute charges dealt with in youth courts. The individuals involved are persons aged 12 to 17 years (up to the 18th birthday) at the time of the offence. All youth courts in Canada have reported data to the CCJS since the 1991/1992 fiscal year.

As not all youth crime is reported to police and not all youth in conflict with the law proceed to court, this report focuses on court processes and the response to youth crime rather than the prevalence of youth criminal activity.

Primary unit of analysis

The Integrated Criminal Court Survey (ICCS) is a relatively new data collection strategy, designed to integrate the collection of adult and youth court data. Data contained in this report represent the youth court portion of that survey.

The primary unit of analysis is the case. The concept of a case changed for the 2006/2007 release of data. The new definition attempts to more closely reflect court processing. It combines all charges against the same person having one or more key overlapping dates (date of offence, date of initiation, date of first appearance, date of decision, and date of sentencing) into a single case. The former definition (used in releases prior to October 2007) combined all charges against the same person disposed of in court on the same day into a case. This tended to undercount the number of charges in a case, over-count the number of cases and underestimate the length of time required to process a case through court because not all charges are necessarily disposed of on the same day.  All data, including years prior to 2006/2007 have been re-processed using the new case definition so that they are comparable.

The impact of this change is noticeable in the reduction of case counts as well as guilty rates for some jurisdictions, where certain administrative practices (e.g., use of stays, withdrawals, transfers, etc.) may have resulted in multiple cases against an accused using the previous end-date definition.

Most serious offence and decision rules

When a case has more than one charge, it is necessary to decide which charge will be used to represent the case. In such multiple-charge cases, the "most serious decision" rule is applied. Decisions are ranked from the most to the least serious as follows: 1) guilty, 2) guilty of a lesser offence, 3) acquitted, 4) stay of proceeding, 5) withdrawn, dismissed and discharged 6) not criminally responsible 7) other, 8) transfer of court jurisdiction.

In cases where two or more offences have resulted in the same decision (e.g., guilty), the "most serious offence" rule is applied. All charges are ranked according to an offence seriousness scale, which is based on the average length of prison sentence imposed on guilty charges between 2002/2003 and 2006/2007. If two charges are tied according to this criterion, information about the sentence type (e.g., prison, probation, and fine) is considered. If a tie still exists, the magnitude of the sentence is considered.

Note concerning data revisions

Data for 2008/2009 currently do not account for cases that were pending at the end of the reference period and have no subsequent activity for a full year. The ICCS deems these cases as complete in the following reference period and these "updates" will be reported in the 2009/2010 release of data. 

Additionally, the CCJS continues to make updates to the offence library used to classify offence data sent by the provinces and territories. These improvements have resulted in minor changes in the counts of charges and cases as well as the distributions by type of offence.

Data for 2006/2007 and all previous years presented in this article have been revised to account for these updates. For example, as a result of the updates, youth completed case counts in Canada for 2006/2007 increased by about 2% from previously reported data. Assuming consistent proportions of inactivity from year to year, it should be noted that 2008/2009 case counts are likely under-reported by a similar percentage due to the new update process in the ICCS. The effect of these updates varies by jurisdiction (see Text table 1).

Text table 1
Cases disposed in youth courts, Canada, provinces and territories, 2006/2007—originally published and updated figures

Province and territory2006/2007Impact of updates 
Originally published dataRevised with updates
number of casespercent
Canada56,46357,4831.8
Newfoundland and Labrador7387471.2
Prince Edward Island2092268.1
Nova Scotia1,7981,8100.7
New Brunswick1,1741,1911.4
Quebec6,6537,2088.3
Ontario25,10225,3190.9
Manitoba3,0763,1231.5
Saskatchewan5,1655,1990.7
Alberta8,0168,0800.8
British Columbia4,0654,0630.0
Yukon90922.2
Northwest Territories 18623325.3
Nunavut1911920.5
Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Integrated Criminal Court Survey.

 

Detailed data tables

Table 1 Cases completed in youth courts, Canada, 2002/2003 to 2008/2009

Table 2 Cases completed in youth courts, Canada, provinces and territories, 2002/2003 to 2008/2009

Table 3 Charges and cases completed in youth court, Canada, 2008/2009

Table 4 Cases completed in youth courts by offence category and age of accused, Canada, 2008/2009

Table 5 Elapsed time to complete a case in youth court, by type of offence, Canada, 2008/2009

Table 6 Cases completed in youth courts by type of decision, Canada, provinces and territories, 2008/2009

Table 7 Percentage of cases resulting in guilt in youth courts, by type of offence, Canada, 2008/2009

Table 8 Percentage of guilty youth cases sentenced to custody, Canada, provinces and territories, 2002/2003 to 2008/2009

Table 9 Guilty youth court cases by type of sentence and type of offence, Canada, 2008/2009

Table 10 Mean and median length of custody and probation sentences, Canada, 2008/2009

Table 11 Sentences in youth courts, Canada, provinces and territories, 2008/2009

Table 12 Percentage of guilty youth cases sentenced to probation, Canada, provinces and territories, 2002/2003 to 2008/2009

References

Bala, N. 2003. Youth Criminal Justice Law. Irwin Law. Toronto, ON.

Calverley, D. 2006. "Youth custody and community services in Canada, 2003/2004." Juristat. Vol. 26, no. 2. Statistics Canada Catalogue no.85-002-XIE.
/pub/85-002-x/85-002-x2006002-eng.pdf
(accessed March 12, 2010).

Department of Justice Canada. 2003. The Youth Criminal Justice Act: Summary and Background. Ottawa.
http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/pi/yj-jj/ycja-lsjpa/back-hist.html (accessed June 28, 2010).

Department of Justice Canada. 2005. YCJA Explained. Ottawa.
http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/webarchives/20071115073145/
http://www.justice.gc.ca/en/ps/yj/repository/index.html (accessed June 28, 2010).

Taylor-Butts, A and Angela Bressan, 2008. "Youth Crime in Canada, 2006." Juristat.Vol. 28, no. 3. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 85–002-XIE.
/pub/85-002-x/2008003/article/10566-eng.htm
(accessed March 12, 2010).

Thomas, J. 2008. "Youth court statistics, 2006/2007." Juristat. Vol. 28, no. 4. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 85-002-XIE.
/pub/85-002-x/2008004/article/10568-eng.htm
(accessed March 12, 2010).

Tustin, L. and R. Lutes. 2006. A Guide to the Youth Criminal Justice Act–2006 Edition. Lexis Nexis Canada Inc. Markham, ON.

Notes

  1. National data for youth courts are available from 1991/1992 onwards.
  2. For analytical purposes, when a case has more than one charge, it is necessary to decide which charge will be used to represent the case. If the case includes a finding of guilt, that charge will always be considered the most serious. The most serious offence in a case with multiple guilty findings is determined based on the type of offence and the sentences imposed. See the Methodology section for more details. 
  3. Other federal statute cases include drug offences and offences under the YCJA such as failure to comply with a sentence or disposition. 
  4. There are three levels of assault in the Criminal Code. Common assault (Assault Level 1, s. 266) is the least serious of the three levels. A 'common' assault has been committed when an individual intentionally applies force or threatens to apply force to another person, without that person's consent. Major assault is an offence category that includes the higher levels of assault in the Criminal Code: assault with a weapon (Assault Level II, s. 267), aggravated assault (Assault Level III, s. 268), and other assaults (e.g. assaulting a police officer, and unlawfully causing bodily harm).
  5. Age represents the offender's age in years on the day the offence was alleged to have been committed. In two percent of cases the age was unknown.
  6. Cases found guilty include cases that have been discharged absolutely or on conditions following the finding of guilt.
  7. For cases with two or more guilty charges, see the Methodology section for more information on how the representative charge for the case is selected. 
  8. See endnote 1.
  9. Youth Criminal Justice Act, section 38(1) and (2).
  10. Custodial sentences for homicide may be under-reported due to the fact that data on time served in remand, awaiting and during trial, for which the accused may be given credit are not available from any jurisdiction at this time.   
  11. This excludes 4% or 198 cases with custody where the length of the sentence was not known. The ICCS and the YCS cannot distinguish between consecutive and concurrent sentences and do not include sentencing revisions made under review by the court. In multiple sentence cases, for example, the sentence length may be underestimated because of the assumption of concurrent sentences for all charges and may not reflect actual time ordered. 
  12. The length of custodial sentences may be affected by time spent in pre-trial detention. For example, 'timed served', the time spent in custody prior to the decision of the court and sentencing, which often occurs with more serious offences, is likely to affect the sentence length.
  13. Several new sentences were introduced with the YCJA, including: intensive support and supervision, deferred custody and supervision, orders to attend a non-residential program and reprimands. The sentence of intensive rehabilitative custody and supervision order, s.42(2)(r), is included with custody and supervision. Provinces and territories vary in terms of when they began providing YCJA sentencing data, therefore caution should be exercised when comparing these data.
  14. YCJA, section 42(2)(p).
  15. The deferred custody and supervision order sentence was not used in Prince Edward Island and the Northwest Territories and data were not available for Saskatchewan.
  16. This excludes 1% or 124 cases with probation where the length of the sentence was not known.
Date modified: