Frances Carnerie

Dissertation Title

An Ethnographic Examination of the Toronto Community Youth Court: The Rehabilitation Ideal and Justice-Involved Youth with Mental Health and Substance Abuse Issues

Dissertation Topic

A disproportionately high percentage of young persons in conflict with the criminal justice system experience mental health or substance use issues. The Youth Criminal Justice Act aspires to protect the public by holding accountable youth who have committed offences, while promoting their rehabilitation and responding to their particular needs. This attention to the rehabilitation and special needs of youth - or rehabilitation ideal - has been a feature of youth criminal justice in Canada for more than 100 years, yet no statute has defined or guided the meaning of "rehabilitation". Where youth experience mental health or substance use issues and commit offences, they are at the interstices of the youth criminal justice and mental health care system. Given the lack of statutory guidance as to how rehabilitation is to be interpreted, how do courts approach the statutory principles requiring that young persons who commit offences will be held accountable while their special needs are addressed and their rehabilitation is promoted? This is an ethnographic study of the Toronto Community Youth Court, a youth mental health court that liaises with community-based services, all while operating under a logic of "new public management" where courts are under increasing pressure to modernize by adopting practices to improve efficiency and cost-effectiveness. This study will contribute to the literature on the rehabilitation of youth, which is slim, with virtually no literature concerning this particular population of young persons. As well, Fran Canerie will be able to contribute to the literatures concerning therapeutic courts for youth and youth criminal justice, which also are sparse.


Master of Laws - Osgoode Hall Law School, 1991

Call to the Ontario Bar - 1989

Bachelor of Laws - Dalhousie Law School, 1987

Master of Health Sciences - McMaster University, 1983

Nurse Practitioner Diploma - McMaster University, 1980

Diploma Nurse - Georgian College, 1974

Teaching Experience

Seneca College: Sept. 2022 to current: Professor, Paralegal Program

Osgoode Hall Law School: TA, legal research and writing

Law Society of Upper Canada: Bar Admission 1993-2000

Memorial University of Newfoundland: Jan. 1983-Aug.1984: Assistant Professor of Nursing

Humber College: 1980-1982: Lecturer in Emergency Nursing

Professional Experience

Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General: seconded to Ministry of the Environment: Oct. 1990 - July 2015 (Deputy Legal Director 2004-2015); seconded to Law Commission of Ontario (MAG Counsel-in-Residence 2015-2018).

Law Offices of Brian Grosman: associate counsel (1989-1990)

Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General, Crown Law Office, Civil: articling student (1987-1988)

Memorial University of Newfoundland: Assistant Professor of Nursing (Jan. 1983-Aug. 1984)

Hamilton Cancer Clinic: Director of Clinical Research (Sept 1980-Sept 1981)

  • Inducted into the Bertha Wilson Honour Society: Dalhousie Law Alumni Association, October 2021
  • JSD Tory Research and Writing Award, April 2021
  • Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General: Crown Law Office – Civil 1988: Articling Student Achievement Award presented by the Honourable Ian Scott
  • Dalhousie Public Legal Education Society: 1984 to 1987 – Chairperson: We developed a junior high school program that was given weekly in Halifax schools and received grants of $20,000 from the federal Ministry of Justice and $59,435 from the National Film Board to produce a video, Trouble With The Law, for national distribution. The project received the Public Legal Education Award from the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society in April 1986
  • Presented at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences: June 4, 2021: “Judging Justice-Involved Young Persons in Canada Through 200 years of Policy and Practice Modernization”