Friday, November 30, 2012

Can I Leave Home?

Scenario: Isabella's Story

I am a 16-year-old girl named Isabella. I currently live with my parents and my 3 siblings. I used to have a really strong relationship with my parents, however recently my parents and I have not been getting along.  They constantly argue and disagree with my academic choices, my friends and lifestyle choices. They keep invading my privacy and enforcing rules that I cannot live by. I feel like I’m old enough to make my own decisions and I feel very limited by my parents rules. I have a boyfriend that I love very much but, my parents do not approve of him. My boyfriend and I work and attend school and we feel as though we are able to support ourselves financially. For that reason, I really want to be move out from my parents's home. 

How can I do this? Am I eligible for Emancipation?
We do not have laws on “Emancipation” in Ontario. In some U.S. states, there are emancipation laws which let someone 16 years and older apply to a court, to be free from the custody and control of their parents or guardians. However, there are no such laws in Ontario.

When can I decide where I want to live?
In Ontario, at 16 years of age or older, you can generally decide where you want to live and you do not need a legal guardian. You can live with someone else against the wish of your legal guardian.
If you do choose to move in with your boyfriend, is it not against any laws of Ontario and you do not need permission from your parents.

Do my parents have to support me?
Your parents do not have to support you if you are 16 years or older and have left home of your own free will.
However, If you are 16 years or older and you were forced to leave home, your parents may still have to support you. For example, you are entitled to support if you left home because you were kicked out without a very good reason, or if you were abused, or if your living situation at home is unsafe, unbearable or impossible.

What can I take when I leave home?
You have a right to take all of your personal property with you whether you bought it yourself or it was given to you as a gift. This includes all of your identification such as health cards, birth certificates, and passport. These documents are very important and you and should take them with you. If your parents are refusing to let you take your own property you can contact the police or a lawyer for help. Sometimes a family member or friend can help pick up your property for you.

There is A LOT to think about when deciding, whether to leave home, such as how you will support yourself financially, where you will live, and where you will go to school.

For more information on Leaving Home, consult our pamphlet on Leaving Home, as well as our YouTube video on Leaving home


Kids Help Phone -
416-973-4444 / 1-800-668-6868 (outside Toronto).

Children’s Aid Society - 416-987-7725 in Toronto
To locate your local CAS, visit the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Society’s website at

Information about community, government, social and health issues
Dial “211” from inside the Toronto area, or visit
Outside GTA, check the local Blue Book or visit


Justice for Children and Youth:
415 Yonge Street, Suite 1203
GTA (416) 920 - 1633

The scenario for this post was written by Deqa Abdi, a JFCY volunteer on the PLE Team.  The legal info was written by Lauren Grossman, a first-year law student at U of T who is volunteering at JFCY through her law school’s Pro Bono Students Canada program. All info was reviewed by a JFCY staff lawyer. The comic was by Adrianna Pahuta.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Jessica, a 14-year-old high school student, wanted to go to the mall with her friends after school. Neither she nor her friends, being the same age as her, had a license to drive to the mall and the mall was too far to walk to. At the same time, some of her friends did not have money to spend for bus fare. Jessica then remembered that her parents have gone out of town for a couple of days and that her older sister would have a long day at school in university and thus would not be at home

With that in mind, there was a car parked in Jessica's garage without anyone using it. A thought came to her… she could always use her parents’ car and put more gas in to compensate to what she would be using that day before returning it home. In this case, no one in her family would ever find out that the car has been driven at all. At the same time, she thought that her allowance money being spent on gas would take her to more places in comparison to spending on different trips for bus fare. “A good idea,” Jessica thought.
After school, Jessica and her friends decided to walk to her house, which was only a kilometer away from school. Jessica did not call her parents and her sister for permission since the likelihood of being able to drive the car without a license was zero. Jessica then walked into her parents’ room and grabbed the car key. She turned on the engine, opened the garage door, and reversed. With a full passenger car, Jessica was excited that she was able to drive her friends to the mall, especially those that did not have any money for bus fare. Also, it was quite thrilling for her since she had never driven a car before, though she was very familiar with go-karting and race car video games. What could go wrong anyways? She watched how her parents drove all the time whenever she was sitting in the front seat.

What is Joyriding?
Joyriding is a criminal offense that is punishable in court. It is a slang term given to an offence in the Criminal Code of Canada. This is an offence resembling theft which is described as taking a motor vehicle and operating it without the owner's consent.

The Criminal Code Offence:
Section 335 of the Criminal Code, an Offence Resembling Theft says: "Everyone who, without the consent of the owner, takes a motor vehicle or vessel with intent to drive, use, navigate or operate it or cause it to be driven, used, navigated or operated is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction."

Jessica’s friends can also be charged under this section for being aware of the situation: " ...[O]r is an occupant of a motor vehicle or vessel knowing that it was taken without the consent of the owner, is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction."

Youth Criminal Justice Act
Because Jessica and her friends are only 14, if charged, they will be charged under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.  A charge under the Act says that young people between the ages of 12 and 18 will be made to appear in Youth Justice Court. If Jessica or her friends are convicted, the given sentence will be decided by the penalties set out in the Youth Criminal Justice Act

Ontario Laws:
Jessica is also violating provincial laws by driving without a license. According to Ontario Highway Traffic Act, 37.(1) " No person under the age of sixteen years shall drive or operate a motor vehicle, street car, road-building machine, self-propelled implement of husbandry or farm tractor on a highway."

The scenario for this post was written by Karen Jacobe, a JFCY volunteer on the PLE Team.  The legal info was written by Lauren Grossman, a first-year law student at U of T who is volunteering at JFCY through her law school’s Pro Bono Students Canada program. All info was reviewed by a JFCY staff lawyer

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Trespass to Property


Lindsay, who just turned 15, decided she wanted to celebrate her birthday by going to a club. However, being underage she could not go get into a club so, Lindsay and her friends wanted to find another place to hang out. While walking around, they find a house under construction. They contemplate going in because they see signs prohibiting entry on the property. However, it appears to be empty and since it is still under construction, they have no trouble getting inside. T

hey are having a great time, so they call over some more friends to hang out there. By 11pm, Lindsay has rounded up about 20 of her friends and is thrilled to be celebrating her birthday in an empty house, without her parents or any supervision around. A nearby resident hears loud noises coming from the house and calls the local police. Within minutes, two policemen are at the premises.

What kind of trouble could Lindsay and her friends get into with the law?

Lindsay and her friends are trespassing  and may be charged with breaking the law. The province of Ontario has a law called the Trespass to Property Act.  According to the Act, Lindsay and her friends are trespassing because there are clearly signs prohibiting entry, they do not have a legal right or authority to be on the property and they do not have permission to be there from the owner of the property.  

Section 3.(1) of the Act outlines an offence called “Prohibition of entry”:
Entry on premises may be prohibited by notice to that effect and entry is prohibited without any notice on premises,
(a) that is a garden, field or other land that is under cultivation, including a lawn, orchard, vineyard and premises on which trees have been planted and have not attained an average height of more than two metres and woodlots on land used primarily for agricultural purposes; or
(b) that is enclosed in a manner that indicates the occupier’s intention to keep persons off the premises or to keep animals on the premises.

An offence is committed if a person enters onto property when they are not allowed. According to this section, Lindsay and her friends could be charged by the police because the property explicitly had a sign prohibiting entry. They could be ticketed and required to pay a fine, or the officer could give them a “summons”, requiring the youth to attend court to deal with the charge.  If a youth under age 16 is given a summons, his/her parents will be notified of the charge by the police.  Either way (summons or ticket), the youth have the right to dispute the charge in provincial offences court. 

 The scenario for this post was written by Naiara Toker, a JFCY volunteer on the PLE Team.  The legal info was written by Lauren Grossman, a first-year law student at U of T who is volunteering at JFCY through her law school’s Pro Bono Students Canada program. All info was reviewed by a JFCY staff lawyer.

Photo source:,r:11,s:0,i:99

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

House Party Gone Wrong...

Bianca’s parents are going out of town this weekend and with a bit of convincing from her friend Hailey she decides that she should throw a party Saturday night. Hailey even promises that she can get the alcohol for the party; she assures Bianca that her older sister will make an LCBO trip for them since they are underage.  When Saturday rolls around its finally 9pm and people are starting to show up, Bianca is really excited but a little nervous wondering if people are going to come or not. The doorbell rings, she grabs a beer and runs to the door to let her friends in and start the night off.  Although the party had good intentions, it didn’t turn out so well. Hailey had brought alcohol, keeping to her promise that her older sister would buy it, so there was a lot of underage drinking. One girl at the party had too much to drink and fell down the stairs, hurting herself. The party started to get out of control when some boys moved the party outside the house and damaged the neighbour’s fence playing a game of who could punch through the fence. Due to the noise and people coming in and out of the house, Bianca’s neighbours got very angry and went to check out what was going on. They saw their damaged property and the underage drinking and threatened to phone the police…
What could happen to Bianca, Hailey and the rest of their friends at the party if the police show up?

Underage Drinking:

Section 30(8) of the Liquor License Act says that no person under nineteen years of age shall have, consume, attempt to purchase, purchase or otherwise obtain liquor.  Anyone at the party that has consumed alcohol and is under-age can be charged under the Liquor Licence Act and be made to appear in Provincial Offences Court.

If the police find out who supplied the alcohol, Hailey’s sister could be charged under s.30(1) of  the Liquor License Act with knowingly supplying alcohol to minors.

Injury and Property Damage:

Regardless that they were out of town and unaware of the party, Bianca’s parents could face a lawsuit in civil court brought by the girl who was injured on their property as a result of the alcohol available in their home.

Additionally, if the neighbours decide to sue in civil court for the damage done to their property, Bianca’s parents might be held responsible and forced to pay if a court thinks they should have provided more supervision.

Lastly, the youths who were involved in creating the damage could be charged with mischief under the Youth Criminal Justice Act for their actions.

Noise Complaint:

Most municipalities have noise bylaws that give law enforcement the authority to address noise complaints. These bylaws cover activities such as loud parties, yelling, shouting, and playing loud music. According to the Municipal Bylaw of Toronto, s.591-2 says, no person shall make, cause or permit noise or vibration, at any time, which is likely to disturb the quiet, peace, rest, enjoyment, comfort or convenience of the inhabitants of the City. Bianca may face a fine for violating this municipal bylaw. 

If you are have specific legal questions about these topics, please contact Justice for Children and Youth if you are under age 18 and live in Ontario, Canada.  416-90-1633.

This scenario was written by Genevieve Pelow  a JFCY volunteer on the PLE team. The legal info was written by Lauren Grossman, a first-year law student at U of T who is volunteering at JFCY through her law school’s Pro Bono Students Canada program. All info was reviewed by a JFCY staff lawyer.

Friday, November 16, 2012

November 20: Universal Children's Day

Photo source:
            On November 20th, 1959 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the “Declaration of the Rights of the Child.” This declaration includes such principles as special protection by the law to enable children to develop physically, mentally, morally, spiritually, and socially, in conditions of freedom and dignity; entitlement to a name and nationality; the benefits of social security; free and compulsory elementary education; first priority in receiving protection and relief; and protection from practices which may foster racial, religious and other forms of discrimination.  

            Thirty years later, on November 20th, 1989, the Assembly adopted the “Convention on the Rights of the Child.” These includes such conventions as, the definition of the status of “child,” protection from discrimination, societal protection, recognition of a child’s inherent right to life, and a child’s right to preservation of his or her identity, among many others.

            This milestone date, November 20, is now an internationally recognized Universal Children’s Day, intended as a day dedicated to promotion of the objectives of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the welfare of children globally. In 2000, world leaders also developed the Millennium Development Goals, six of which are directly related to the universal welfare of children.

This year, JFCY is holding its Annual General Meeting to coincide with Universal Children's Day.  Join us at 7:30pm at The 519 Church Street Community Centre. We happy to announce that Cheryl Milne, LLB MSW– Executive Director at the University of Toronto’s David Asper Centre for Constitutional Rights will be our guest speaker.  Cheryl was previously a lawyer at JFCY for 17 years, and is currently the vice-chair of the Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children (CCRC). 
  While there has certainly been much progress made in terms of universal children’s rights, there is still much work to be done. Children are one of society’s most vulnerable groups, and we must continue to advocate for the protection of their rights. This Universal Children’s Day, let us not only reflect on the immense progress that has been made, but also, chart the path we must continue to forge. 

For more information on Universal Children’s Day click here!  

This blog post was written by University of Toronto law student Rachel Kattapuram, a volunteer at JFCY on the PLE Team. All info was reviewed by a JFCY staff lawyer. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

JFCY's AGM: Mon. Nov. 19!

JFCY’s Annual General Meeting (AGM)!

It’s that time of year again: time for Justice for Children and Youth’s Annual General Meeting (AGM)! Join us for a fun-filled night where we will be reporting on the work done in the past year at JFCY and honouring our volunteers. 

Free food and drink will be served. Everyone is welcome to attend. JFCY members have voting rights. 

Also, Ms. Cheryl Mline, Executive Director of the David Asper Centre for Constitutional Rights (­) and the Vice-chair of the Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children ( will be the guest speaker of the night.

If you are planning to join us, make sure to write down these details:
When: Monday, November 19th, 2012 at 7:30 PM
Where: 519 Church St. Community Centre (at 519 Church Street , just north of Wellesley)

We hope to see you there!
This post was written by Michelle Guo, a youth volunteer on JFCY's PLE Team. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What is Conditional Supervision? What Happens if you Breach it?

Section 105 of the Youth Criminal Justice Act outlines the terms of conditional supervision.  Conditional supervision occurs when a young person has been sentenced for a particular offence and serves their sentence in the community, instead of in custody. 

Conditional supervision can also occur when a young person has completed part of their sentence in custody and after release must satisfy the rest of their sentence in the community. 

According to section 105, these conditions require that the young person
(a) keep the peace and be of good behaviour;
                        (b) appear before the youth justice court when required by the court to do so;
                        (c) report to the provincial director (ie "probation") immediately on release, and then be under the supervision of the provincial director or a person designated by the youth justice court;
                        (d) inform the provincial director immediately on being arrested or questioned by the police;
                        (e) report to the police, or any named individual, as instructed by the provincial director;
                        (f) advise the provincial director of the young person’s address of residence on release and after release report immediately to the clerk of the youth justice court or the provincial director any change
                                    (i) in that address,
                                    (ii) in the young person’s normal occupation, including employment, vocational or educational training and volunteer work,
                                    (iii) in the young person’s family or financial situation, and
                                    (iv) that may reasonably be expected to affect the young person’s ability to comply with the conditions of the order;
                        (g) not own, possess or have the control of any weapon, ammunition, prohibited ammunition, prohibited device or explosive substance, except as authorized by the order; and
                        (h) comply with any reasonable instructions that the provincial director considers necessary in respect of any condition of the conditional supervision in order to prevent a breach of that condition or to protect society. (YCJA)

Additional conditions may be set at the discretion of the Provincial Director who may take into account the young offender’s residence, employment, etc.

If a youth breaches one of these conditions, there are some possible consequences. These consequences are outlined in section 106 and section 107 of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

1.     Suspension of the conditional supervision.
2.     A warrant may be issued for the young person’s arrest and apprehension.
3.     The young person can be required to go (back) to a youth custody facility.
4.     Additional conditions may be placed on the young person before they are released back into the community

In the worst case, a breach of a condition may mean returning to custody and/or adding time to a sentence.  Additionally, a breach of conditional supervision can mean that the youth is charged with another offence. 

If you have specific legal questions relating to your situation, please contact JFCY at 416.920.1633

This blogpost was written by Marsha Rampersaud, a JFCY volunteer on the PLE team . All info was reviewed by a JFCY staff lawyer.