Through this program, we offer support to youth and adults in conflict with the law in Grey Bruce. Youth who are referred by the Police or their Probation Officer are offered a wide range of supports to assist in meeting their unique needs which often include counselling, for personal issues such as anger and stress management, self-esteem, drug/alcohol/substance abuse, as well as counselling to help with interpersonal struggles with peers, partners and family.
Based on the philosophy of restorative justice, the Youth Justice Committee Program is designed for youth (aged 12-17) who accept responsibility for their actions and express remorse for their minor offence. As an alternative to formal court proceedings, the young person and their parent(s) or guardian meets with trained volunteer facilitators and the victim. Together they discuss the offence, relate how they have all been affected and jointly develop a meaningful plan or “sanctions” for the youth to repair the harm caused.
Youth Justice Committees provide:
- A voice to the victim in the process and an opportunity for them to express how the offence has affected them
- An opportunity for the youth to get a better understanding of their actions and the impact of their behaviour on the people they harmed, the community and their family
- An opportunity for communities to become directly involved in the administration of youth justice
- Timely and meaningful resolution to offending behaviour that avoids victims and witnesses having to go to court
Diversion is an alternative to the formal court process. In partnership with the Crown Attorneys and Police Services across Grey and Bruce Counties, the YMCA of Owen Sound Grey Bruce offers community based programming for youth (aged 12-17) who have been involved in minor criminal offences. A young person’s eligibility is determined by their willingness to accept responsibility and to repair harm. All programming is suited to each individual circumstance.
There are two conditions that could lead to a diversion:
- Pre-Charge (Extrajudicial Measures) – Police referral before having a formal charge
- Post-Charge (Extrajudicial Sanctions) – Crown Attorney referral after a charge is laid
A YMCA Community Justice Worker will meet with the young person and their parent(s)/guardian to develop a measure/sanction suited to the individual circumstance and monitor its completion. Successful completion will result in either police laying no charges or charges being dismissed.
Direct Accountability offers adults (aged 18+) an alternative to formal prosecution for people who have been charged with minor criminal offences. The program involves accused persons being held accountable through community-based sanctions. Working collaboratively with local Crown Attorneys, cases referred can be resolved quickly.
A Community Service Order is a court imposed condition of probation connecting individuals to their community. An offender is required to make reparation to the community by completing a specified number of hours of unpaid community service work. The Courts, through Probation Officers, make referrals to this program. The YMCA monitors Community Service Orders for adults across Grey and Bruce Counties.
The YMCA continues to provide service across Grey and Bruce Counties to all individuals referred to Community Justice Programs. Staff are working remotely and continue to be available by phone, email and text. There is no change or delay to the referral process, new referrals can still be forwarded via email email@example.com or fax 519-371-9224 and court referrals continue via their normal process.
Staff are available for consultation:
Community Service Orders firstname.lastname@example.org
Direct Accountability email@example.com
Restorative Justice firstname.lastname@example.org
Youth Diversion email@example.com
Youth Workshops firstname.lastname@example.org
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario, individuals with criminal matters before the courts were not required to attend for certain scheduled court dates, and these matters would be presumptively adjourned by five weeks at a time. These COVID-19 presumptive adjournments have come to an end, and personal appearances are now required again. If you have an ongoing matter before the criminal courts you should:
- Call your lawyer to confirm who will be attending at the next court appearance; or,
- If you don’t have a lawyer, contact the court house at the number listed below to confirm your next court appearance and whether you’re required to attend in person, or over the phone or Zoom.
- Going forward, should you or a representative not attend for criminal court appearances, you may be arrested for failure to attend court.
- Walkerton courthouse: 519-881-2333
- Owen Sound courthouse: 519-370-2433
- Goderich courthouse: 519-524-7322