Alternative Measures Program
The Alternative Measures program is intended to hold eligible adults accountable for their actions at the community level with the goal of improving the use of justice system resources by providing timely and effective alternatives to the traditional criminal justice system. The program strives to prevent and reduce future crime by ensuring access to the right services at the right time for those who require them.
Section 717 of the Criminal Code of Canada (CCC) allows for the use of Alternative Measures for adults when:
•the person is 18 years of age or older (there is a separate program for youth between
the ages of 12-17 who are in conflict with the law called Extrajudicial Sanctions);
• Sufficient evidence exists that an offence has been committed;
• The offence is on the Province’s Adult Schedule of Offences;
•The adult takes responsibility for the act that forms the basis of the offence; and
•Participation is in the best interest of the person alleged to have committed the offence
AND not counter to the best interest of the victim and society.
Adults can be referred to the Alternative Measures program before being charged with an offence (pre-charge) and can also be referred to the program at several points in the court process after charges are laid (post-charge).
Program co-ordinators are responsible for ensuring that every adult referred to the program has an appropriate plan in place for accountability and intervention. Program co-ordinators often utilize the skills of Multidisciplinary Alternative Measures Committees for assistance in determining the most effective interventions and accountability measures.
Intervention plans focus on connecting the adult to community-based services to address the risk factors most closely associated with the offending behaviour so that he or she does not commit another offence.
Accountability measures are intended to hold the adult responsible for the offence committed at the community level. Examples of accountability measures may include, but are not limited to:
•paying restitution to the victim;
•completing a period of community service;
•attending special information and education sessions; and
•providing personal service work for the victim.
The Alternative Measures program permits the use of restorative processes where appropriate. These processes provide safe opportunities for communication between the adult and the victim and others affected by the offence. Restorative practices also allow the adult to repair the harm done to those harmed by the offending behaviour.
Successful completion of the pre-charge program within the required time frame will result in no charges being laid against program participants for the offence committed. When the requirements of the post-charge program are met by the adult, charges are withdrawn.