Monday, June 27, 2011

Your Age and the Law

Have you ever wanted to know how old you have to be in order to legally do something?

Like stay out late, leave school, or get married?

Check out this JFCY pamphlet for a whole bunch of different legal facts on Your Age and the Law!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Youth and Riots

Although they rarely happen, riots do occur whether we like it or not. Youth may participate in these riots for various reasons, ranging from a form of protest to merely following the crowd. Most recently, we have witnessed riots in Vancouver after the Stanley Cup finals. The following is some legal info on riots. If you have specific questions please speak to a lawyer directly. You can contact JFCY at 1-866-999-5329 or 416-920-1633 (within the GTA). 

I was just protesting, I was not rioting!
-          There is a difference between freedom of expression and rioting.
o   Freedom of expression is guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, S. 2(b), it has been read broadly as including any activity that conveys, or attempts to convey, meaning to the exception of acts of violence and threats of violence. Peaceful protests are protected by Freedom of Expression.
o   A riot is an unlawful assembly that has begun to disturb the peace tumultuously (Criminal Code of Canada, S. 64). The key difference here is that rioting involves violence against authority, property or people, which is a criminal offence.  People can face criminal charges and be brought to court. Rioting may also involve other offences, such as assault, mischief and/or arson.

How much force can the police use against me?
-    Police officers are allowed to use as much force as they believe, in good faith and on reasonable grounds, is necessary to suppress a riot and is not excessive (Criminal Code of Canada, S. 32). If you think the police have overstepped their authority you should tell your lawyer.

If the police believe that I am rioting, do they have to charge me?
-    No, the police have other options when dealing with youth like giving you a warning or a caution, but this is to their discretion.

If the police charge me with rioting, do they have to take me to the police station or detain me?
-    No. The police do not have to detain you. If the police detain you, both you and your parent(s) will get notices that explain:
o   The offence(s) with which you are charged,
o   The date and time when you must be in court,
o   The court’s address, and
o   Your right to be represented by a lawyer.

For more information on what to do when you are being questioned by the police refer to this previous blogpost here

For a guide to the youth court process in Toronto, refer to this information pamphlet


Daniel Lo
Public Legal Education Coordinator

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Hello from your summer JFCY Blogger!

Hi everybody, hope everyone is coping well with exams, just remember… summer is just around the corner!

My name is Daniel Lo, I am a law graduate and will be starting my Master of Laws degree at the University of Toronto in September 2011.

I have recently accepted the volunteer role as Public Legal Education (PLE) Team Lead for Justice For Children and Youth (JCFY) for the 2011 summer. I found out about JCFY through contacting the Pro Bono Students Canada – UofT Chapter, and was told of this great opportunity to engage in children and youth rights. Throughout my academic and personal life, I have been an active supporter and volunteer at pro bono clinics and human rights organizations. The work that JCFY does interests me immensely as this is the first exposure that I have had to age-based legal rights for those under 18 years old, and I feel that it is a vital area of the law that is neglected by many.

At JCFY, my role entails helping a staff lawyer to lead the PLE Team, which consists of a committee group of youth and adults who assist in devising strategies to inform young people about their legal rights and responsibilities; the JCFY blog with regular weekly updates; and the Facebook account to ensure as many people become aware of it as possible.

During my time at JCFY, I hope to continue the great work that the PLE Team and the previous PLE Team Lead had done, while also searching for ways to help JCFY grow. I welcome any tips/advice/recommendations/ideas that anyone has in this regard. I can be reached via email

That is all for now, I hope that you will keep updated with JCFY through this blog or our Facebook account, we have a lot of interesting projects for the summer planned, don’t miss out!