Crisis Numbers

Legal Resources

Youth Community Resources


About Us

Contact Us


Legal Resources

When charging a young person, the police may decide to take no action, warn a young person or refer the young person to a community program or agency rather than starting judicial proceedings. In fact, the YCJA requires that they consider so doing.

Alternatively, a Crown prosecutor may make a referral to Extra-Judicial Sanctions after the laying of a charge.

The extra-judicial sanction imposed may simply be a “caution letter” sent by a prosecutor to the young person and/or his guardian. More often, however, the young person is required to meet with a representative of the Ministry of the Solicitor General’s Young Offender Branch and/or a Youth Justice Committee. Sanctions are negotiated with the young person. If he or she complies with the sanctions within the time allotted the charge is not laid, or, if it has been laid already, it is withdrawn. If the young person does not successfully complete the program, judicial proceedings go forward.

For contact information about local Extra-Judicial Sanctions administrators and Youth Justice Committees, see the Alberta Justice website.

Notes for Defence Lawyers:

  • Young people who lack adult guidance sometimes have problems keeping their appointments and completing the sanctions imposed. If you can, try to stay in touch with the client and the local administrator of the Extra-judicial Sanctions Program during the process. Social and youth workers at the YCDO may be able to help you.


  • There is a shortage of community service work placements for young people aged 12 to 15. You may wish to ask that other sanctions be imposed on your client.


  • In some cases a Youth Justice Court may dismiss a charge even if there has only been partial completion of the extra-judicial sanctions imposed (see: s.10(5)(b) of the Youth Criminal Justice Act).


  • There is no finding of guilt when extra-judicial sanctions are successfully completed. However, lawyers should be careful when describing the extra-judicial sanctions to a young person regarding the benefit of avoiding a criminal record; it must be understood that the police maintain a record of the offence and the referral to extra-judicial sanctions for a period of time. This police record may create difficulties in obtaining a security clearance in the future.

The YCDO is funded by the Province of Alberta and the Alberta Law Foundation.