On October 28, 2003, the BC Government introduced Bill 63, the Youth Justice Act. The Bill is now before the Legislature and is expected to come into force later this year.
The Bill was drafted to complement the Federal Government’s new Youth Criminal Justice Act which replaced the Young Offenders Act on April 1, 2003.
Highlights of the Bill include the following:
- Youth who trespass on school property for the purposes of sexual exploitation or gang activity can now face custody instead of fines, community service, or probation.
- Youth who violate the Motor Vehicle Act by driving while prohibited or suspended could now face up to 90 days in custody instead of a maximum of 30.
- Youth who bring contraband into a youth custody centre or adult correctional centre can now face custody instead of fines, community service, or probation.
- Programs for young persons under the Act may be developed, including restitution or compensation programs.
The Bill, if passed, will apply to young persons between the ages of 12 and 18. Persons over 18 years of age are treated as adults in British Columbia, and under the federal Criminal Code of Canada.