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Your Legal Rights

Welcome to JFCY’s Legal Rights section which provides information about the legal rights of children and youth in Ontario. This information is available for download on our Publications page. Please contact us if you have any questions or trouble finding the information that you seek. You should speak to a lawyer for legal advice since each situation is unique and laws often change.

Youth Criminal Justice

The Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) provides unique rights and procedures for young people between the ages of 12 – 17 who are charged with a criminal offence in Canada.

Education & Special Education

Going to school is a legal requirement for young people between the ages of 6 and 17. The Education Act gives parents and children specific rights in the publicly funded school system.

Leaving Home

In Ontario, you can choose where you live when you are 16 years old. The decision to leave is often not easy and can lead to difficulties in getting all your belongings, having enough money to support yourself and attending school.

Health & Mental Health

Become informed about your legal rights when it comes to decisions about your healthcare and mental healthcare treatment. This includes any procedure carried out or prescribed by a health practitioner to diagnose or treat a physical or mental health condition.

Discrimination & LGBTQI2S Rights

The Ontario Human Rights Code protects you from discrimination on many grounds and in many social areas. Specific legal concerns raised by youth identifying in LGBTQI2S communities are about GSAs, Trans and Gender Inclusive Spaces and changing their ID.

Provincial Offences

You can be given a ticket for breaking a provincial law if you are over the age of 16. Some of the common laws that young people are given tickets for is covered in this section.

Hot Topics

These are some of the common issues that JFCY lawyers are asked about: various age based laws including ages of consent for sexual activity, recreational cannabis, police stops and searches, police complaints, security guards, and shoplifting demand letters.

Child Welfare & Family

In child welfare and family law, the rights of children are unique. Become informed about your rights when going into and being in the care of a Children’s Aid Society or First Nations Child and Family Well-being Agency, when parents/caregivers can use physical punishment, (corporal punishment/spanking exemption to assault), and what can happen when your parents are splitting up.

Immigration & Refugee

Young people living without immigration status in Ontario can face significant uncertainty and insecurity. This section addresses immigration status and sponsorship breakdown concerns.

Victims of Crime

Emergency help, Criminal Court, Civil lawsuits, Support Services.

Homeless Youth Over 18

Street Youth Legal Services (SYLS) is a program that provides information and services for homeless youth between the ages of 16 – 25. These are some of the common issues that the SYLS lawyer is asked about.

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