Intensive Rehabilitative Custody and Supervision (IRCS) Program


In Canada, the federal and the provincial/territorial governments share joint responsibilities for youth justice. The federal government is responsible for criminal law (including the Criminal Code and the Youth Criminal Justice Act – YCJA) while the provinces and territories are responsible for its administration. The federal Intensive Rehabilitative Custody and Supervision (IRCS) Program is a contribution program with all provinces and territories for the delivery of specialized therapeutic programs and services for youth with mental health needs who are convicted of a serious violent offence.

Who is Eligible

Only provinces and territories are eligible for federal youth justice services funding. This funding is not provided to individuals or groups. You should contact your provincial or territorial government for information about specific youth justice services programs.


Since 2003, a new therapeutic sentencing option is available under the YCJA for youth suffering from a mental illness or disorder, psychological disorder or an emotional disturbance and who are convicted of murder, attempted murder, manslaughter and aggravated sexual assault. Youth with mental health issues who are convicted for the third time of a violent offence in the commission of which they caused or attempted to cause serious bodily harm and for which an adult would be liable to a jail term of more than two years may also be liable to an IRCS order. The IRCS funding Program provides ongoing financial assistance to the provinces and territories to ensure that they have the necessary capacity to both assess and treat young persons sentenced under paragraph 42(2)(r) and subsection 42(7) of the YCJA. Since April 2008, federal funding has further been extended in other exceptional cases of serious violence committed by young persons suffering from a psychological disturbance or mental/mood disorder.  


Under IRCS, eligible costs associated with the treatment of these serious high risk, high need youth may include for example:

Points to Consider

A total of $11M (2021-22 to 2026-27) in annual federal funding is made available to the provinces and territories to ensure that all jurisdictions have the specialized resources in place to diagnose and treat youth suffering from mental health issues who commit violent offences in an effort to promote their effective rehabilitation and reintegration into society; thereby, potentially reducing the likelihood of repeated violence and thus, enhancing public safety.

In addition to the IRCS program, additional funding is available to the provinces and territories through the Youth Justice Services Funding Program (YJSFP). Please see, the YJSFP for more details.

Sustainable Development

The Department of Justice encourages you to submit all documents electronically. If you submit documentation on paper, please consider printing on both sides of the paper. These actions will minimize environmental impacts.

Contact information

For further information, please contact:

Intensive Rehabilitative Custody and Supervision Program

Programs Branch
Department of Justice Canada
284 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0H8
Or electronically to:
Or by phone at: (613) 941-4193
Or by fax to: (613) 954-4893