Commonly known as ‘EJS,’ this post-charge diversion program is the most formal type of alternative measure authorized by the Youth Criminal Justice Act. This program operates within the criminal justice process, and is only available to youth (12-17) who have committed minor offences, and are deemed as appropriate referrals by the Crown Attorney; the youth must also give their informed consent to participate in EJS, and must accept responsibility for the actions that form the basis of the offence(s). Types of offences considered for EJS can include, but are not limited to: minor property crimes, assault, harassment, possession (minor amount) of a controlled substance, contrary to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA).
Goals of EJS Program:
- to provide youth the opportunity to be accountable for their actions
- create an understanding of the seriousness and potential impact of their involvement with the law
- development of empathy for others
- explore underlying ‘roots’ to their negative behaviour
- provide tools to increase pro-social thoughts and behaviours
- create positive ties and give back to their community
- to reduce stigmatization
Restorative Justice Conference/Process may occur (as appropriate) to further involve the community in the process, and to include those parties involved/harmed by the young person’s actions.
Sanctions can include, but not limited to activities such as:
- Letter of apology
- Community service hours
- Creative project
- Educational programming specific to offence behaviour and/or underlying behaviours (participation in relevant RJCK Positive Strides Programs)
- Restitution to those harmed (victim), as appropriate
- Charitable donation
Not every young person’s experience in the EJS Program will look or feel the same – RJCK strongly values individualizing programs to meet specific needs of our youth clients. Determination of Sanctions for each youth participant are based on a combination of: incident specifics; seriousness of the offence(s); any previous history/contact with the law; the young person’s abilities (and strengths); and (when appropriate) the feedback from involved parties, i.e. those individuals who have been harmed by the young person’s actions, their parents/guardians, and the RJCK Volunteer – a representative of the community-at-large.
Upon successful completion of the EJS Program requirements, the Crown Attorney is notified by RJCK staff and the court can stay the youth’s charge(s). However, if the youth is non-compliant in the program/does NOT successfully complete the Sanctions, the case may proceed through the court process and further action can occur, at the discretion of the Crown Attorney.
This program is funded by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services