Department of Justice Canada

Department of Justice Canada

January 20, 2015 14:44 ET

Government of Canada Announces Funding for Alternative Programming Helping At-Risk Young Offenders

Funding to help youth at high risk of gang involvement learn new skills to become productive members of society

WESTMOUNT, QUEBEC--(Marketwired - Jan. 20, 2015) - Department of Justice Canada

Today, Justice Minister Peter MacKay announced $221,960 in funding to the Batshaw Youth and Family Centres in Westmount to finance alternative programs for youth offenders, supporting their reintegration into society and strengthening their ability to make better life choices and avoid re-entering the criminal justice system. The funding will help the organization develop a pre-employment and alternative schooling program for young offenders in custody involved in gangs or at high risk of gang involvement.

This project is supported by the Youth Justice Initiative, which encourages a fair and effective youth justice system, responds to emerging youth justice issues, and enables greater citizen and community participation in the youth justice system, thereby promoting a holistic approach to helping youth.

Quick Facts

• The programming will consist of developing life skills such as literacy, digital literacy, cooking, and skills in arts such as drama and writing. These valuable skills are helpful in developing marketable qualifications for reintegration into society and into the workforce.

• The funding is being provided over three years as follows:

  • $27,000 for fiscal year 2014-2015

  • $95,730 for fiscal year 2015-2016

  • $99,230 for fiscal year 2016-2017

• The funding is being provided through the Guns, Gangs and Drugs component of the Youth Justice Fund, part of the Youth Justice Initiative. This component of the Fund responds to youth involved in the criminal justice system, and who are engaged in or are vulnerable to, gun-, gang- and drug-related activities.

• The Government is taking a multi-pronged approach to crime by supporting projects such as this one to help reduce victimization by rehabilitating and reintegrating young offenders to help prevent them from reoffending.


"Our Government is taking further action to ensure the safety and security of our communities. Supporting programs like those offered by Batshaw Youth and Family Centres helps keep our communities safe, by working with youth and providing alternatives to gang and drug lifestyles. With the right community support and development of life skills such as literacy and pre-employment training, these youth have a much better chance of success at reintegrating into Canadian society and making a positive impact in their communities."

Peter MacKay, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

"We are excited about this contribution, which will have a positive and direct impact on the quality of services for our young offenders. These youths will be better equipped to successfully reintegrate their communities. I would like to thank Minister MacKay, who has not only recognized this innovative project developed by Batshaw Centres, but who is also honouring us with his visit. Our youths need support to develop pro-social attitudes and this contribution is a wonderful example."

Lesley Hill, Executive Director, Batshaw Youth and Family Centres

Related Products

Backgrounder: Youth Justice Fund

Associated Links

Department of Justice: Youth Justice Fund

Batshaw Youth and Family Centres

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Youth Justice Fund

The Youth Justice Fund was established in the 1990s as part of the Youth Justice Renewal Initiative, and provides grants and contributions funding for projects across Canada. The Youth Justice Fund has a budget of approximately $4.5 million each year.

The Youth Justice Fund has three components:

  • The Main Fund supports a broad range of projects relating to youth involved in the justice system. Current funding priorities include youth with mental health issues and/or cognitive impairments. The Main Fund can also provide support to respond to emerging youth justice issues.
  • The Drug Treatment component supports drug treatment interventions for youth involved in the justice system who are dealing with drug abuse.
  • The Guns, Gangs and Drugs component responds to youth involved in the justice system who are involved in, or vulnerable to, gun, gang and drug-related activities.

The Youth Justice Initiative is a multi-faceted approach that includes a legislative framework (the Youth Criminal Justice Act) and programming resources that:

  • Encourage a more fair and effective youth justice system;
  • Respond to emerging youth justice issues; and
  • Enable greater citizen/community participation in the youth justice system by encouraging partnerships and innovations, and developing and sharing information and knowledge about youth justice.

Community organizations, Aboriginal organizations, and individuals are eligible for funding to help develop community-based programming options and partnerships that respond more effectively to youth in conflict with the law. Funding support is also used to advance changes in provincial/territorial policies and programs that are consistent with the intent of federal policy objectives.

The Youth Justice Fund supports the development, implementation, and evaluation of pilot projects that provide programming and services for youth in conflict with the law. It supports professional development activities, such as training and conferences, for justice professionals and youth service providers. Additionally, it funds research on the youth justice system and related issues.

Projects must target youth who are between the ages of 12 and 17 and currently in conflict with the law, or justice professionals and/or service providers who work with these youth.

To learn more about the Youth Justice Fund, please visit

Contact Information

  • Clarissa Lamb
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Minister of Justice

    Media Relations Office
    Department of Justice