The Montreal Council of Social Agencies and its Effect on Youth Crime and Drug Use

Time Period to Which the Archival Subject Relates

The 1960s to 1970s were years of social unrest and societal demands, a time where the world changed.[1] Many issues that had been touching the surface of society for twenty years or so erupted around the same time. The dream of affluence slowly became a reality, and that meant survival for almost everyone was assured.[2] As a result, societies became accustomed to the security affluence brought and felt collectively free to begin questioning certain societal conditions. [3] Much of the protest was loud and the focus of restlessness and change usually involved the young.[4] In the 1960’s to 1970’s, studies have shown a striking increase in all forms of youth crime that was reported to be greater than the youth population itself.[5] This was greatly questioned and feared among the public forcing more firm Government action in order to maintain peace and security.

National Scale 

The Canadian society embarked on various methods in the hope of curbing crime among youth and addressing youth concerns.[6] Canadians consider children as a valuable resource, however in contrast in the 1960s and 1970s they were considered to be one of our most dangerous threats.[7] In response, in 1984, the Government set fourth a progressive and compassionate act to reduce youth crime as an alternative method to formal punishment known as Canada’s Young Offenders Act (YOA).[8] The Act replaced the 1908 Juvenille Delinquents Act (J.D.A), which adopted the criminal justice system yet applying the welfare model of dealing with young offenders as “misdirected children in need of aid and encouragement.” [9] The Y.O.A Act assumes the responsibility of providing short-term maximum sentences for even the most frightening offensives by using community-based punishment as an alternative to formal punishment.[10] They believed that severe punishment and criminalization could be detrimental to the offender and to the society as a whole.[11] While the J.D.A showed result of unfairness and neglect among the interest of youth with their adoption of the criminal justice system, the Y.O.A seeks to recognize the “justice” model, taking into consideration both the rights and vulnerability of youth and of the protection of the public.[12] Although the emphasis is less on social intervention, it nonetheless shows ways in which the Canadian society as a whole is dealing with youth crime by recognizing the same goals of social agencies such as providing a new beginning and better future for troubled youth while protecting societies as a whole.

International Scale 

Needless to say, youth crime goes beyond Canada, and can be seen internationally during this time period. To no surprise, violent crimes committed by young offenders became an important issue for both the public and political debate that questioned crime and criminal justice policy in the United States.[13] Similarly to Canada, the United States heavily relied on social programs that are delivered to young offenders in order to decrease crime rates among youth, and would only initiate the juvenile justice system if it failed to make little difference.[14] Skeptic about applying policies against youth offenders, the juvenile justice system in the United States strives to balance the interest of potential victims against the interest of young offenders in attempt to facilitate their chances to develop in a community.[15]


[1] Alan Edmonds. The Years of Protest 1960-1970, (Toronto: Natural Science of Canada Limited, 1979):7.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid., 9.

[4] Ibid., 10.

[5] Franklin E. Zimring. “American Youth Violence: Issues and Trends.” Crime and Justice 1, (1979): 67, accessed April 3, 2014, doi:

[6] Bernard Schissel. “Youth Crime, Moral Panics, and the News: The Conspiracy Against the Marginalized in Canada.” Social Justice 24, no.2 (1997): 165, accessed April 3, 2014, doi

[7] Ibid, 166.

[8] Ibid, 165.

[9] Philip Rose. The Young Offenders Act. (Ottawa, Canada: Parliament of Canada), revised 27 January 2000. http://www.parl.gc.ca/Content/LOP/researchpublications/8613-e.htm

[10] Schissel, “Youth Crime, Moral Panics and the News,”165.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Rose, The Young Offenders Act.

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