Alternative Measures

In some cases, it is not necessary or beneficial to prosecute a person accused of committing a crime. The Criminal Code of Canada allows Crown counsel to determine if an alternative measures program would be more suitable and ultimately more beneficial for the victim, community and offender. Alternative measures must protect the public and are used for less serious offences.

The alternative measures described in this section are used for dealing with adults. Under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, youth can be dealt with using measures referred to as Extrajudicial Measures and Extrajudicial Sanctions.

What are Alternative Measures?

Alternative measures can be used in cases involving less serious offences. They usually involve offenders with no criminal history. The accused is given the opportunity to accept responsibility for the crime and make amends to the community without going to court. 

Not all minor offenders feel regret about what they have done. Some may still pose a threat to the community. In these cases, the offender is not given the option of alternative measures. 

Youth and Extrajudicial Measures

The term extrajudicial measures is used to describe alternative measures for youth who commit a crime. Extrajudicial measures include additional options, such as police warnings and referrals. For more information, see Extrajudicial Measures.