Community service is one of the measures provided by the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA), which aims to promote the rehabilitation and reintegration of young offenders as well as the reparation of the harm caused to the victim and the community. These measures are intended to offer positive perspectives to youth and to reinforce their respect for societal values.
Through community service, youth put their talents and skills to good use by providing non-renumerated work to a community organization.
How Does It Work?
- Either a youth worker (from the Centre Jeunesse) or the Court of Quebec’s Youth Division refers the youth to Trajet, where his or her file is assigned to a Youth Alternative Justice (YAJ) worker who will be responsible for monitoring and supervising the measure.
- The YAJ worker meets the youth at Trajet and endeavours to determine their interests, skills, and availability, so that together they can determine a suitable host organization. The YAJ worker also explains the restorative aims underpinning the measures provided under the YCJA.
- Once a target organization has been identified, the YAJ worker communicates with the volunteer supervisor to introduce them to the young person, confirm the match, and establish a schedule.
- The YAJ worker communicates with both the youth and the supervisor throughout the period of community service to ensure that all is going well.
- The supervisor is responsible for filling out an attendance report. In general, youth are permitted a maximum of three absences, after which they are withdrawn from the organization.
- Towards the end of the measure, the YAJ worker arranges a meeting with the supervisor and the youth (at the last shift, if possible) to evaluate the youth’s involvement and cooperation.
Supervisors direct the youth and guide them in their community service. They must make sure these youth feel comfortable by introducing them to the people they will be working with and explaining their tasks to them.
As these youth are minors and working within a legal framework, it is essential that the identity of youth and the reasons for their presence in the organization remain confidential.
Accepting Youth for Community service
Since 1980, hundreds of non-profit organizations in Montreal have taken on youth for community service.
Always eager to expand its list of host organizations, Trajet regularly seeks new partners with social, humanitarian, or community aims (for example, organizations providing material or social assistance; community, cultural, leisure, etc.)
The youth you would be working with are between the ages of 12 to 17 inclusively and have, on average, 37 hours of community service to complete. They can perform a wide variety of tasks, including providing support care, leading activities, and performing manual tasks.