What help is available for Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) charges?

You may be eligible for a legal aid certificate for the charges laid against you under the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) if you qualify financially and there is a risk to your liberty.

Risk to liberty is determined based on the seriousness of the charges, the case circumstances, and if there is a criminal record or outstanding charges. You qualify for legal aid if your case has:

One of the following factors Two or more of the following factors
You have been convicted of a similar charge within past two years with jail time You have been found guilty of the same or similar charge in the last three years
You are facing a charge where there is a mandatory jail sentence You are currently on a sentence order for same or similar charge
You have been detained after a bail hearing (not a Consent Detention Order) You have same charges already before the courts
You are Indigenous It is alleged that you committed an offence involving a breach of trust excluding domestic violence charges (theft from employer or other person who trusted you)
The Crown is seeking custody and supervision order, deferred custody and supervision order, or custody Allegations state that the offence was motivated by bias, prejudice, or hate based on race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, or gender orientation or expression
The Crown is proceeding by way of indictment on hybrid charges Complainant is allegedly a vulnerable person (youth, elderly person, has mental health issues, has developmental disability)
The Crown is formally applying for a Not Criminally Responsible (NCR) assessment on the record in court  Any firearm charge (including storage)
You are facing possession charges under the Controlled Drug and Substances Act (CDSA) Alleged use of a weapon that was designed to be used to cause death or injury (e.g., knife, axe, cross bow)
Alleged damages/unrecovered dollar amount of $2000 or more
Alleged participant in a “swarming” or group robbery/home invasion
The Crown is seeking a Mental Health Assessment (s. 34 order)
You are in care (e.g., Children’s Aid Society)

If you are not eligible for legal aid, duty counsel may be able to help you when you are in court.