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GENERAL

Just North

“Reconciliation to me, means that we walk together on a path.” These were the words, spoken by an elder in Rat Portage First Nation, that have remained with me throughout my work in northwestern Ontario. I visited Rat Portage for an Elders Forum put on by a small grassroots initiative called Reconciliation Kenora. The words […]

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Bringing the Law to Life in the Classroom

The classroom was like any classroom.  The desks had chairs attached.  There were a couple of loose papers on the floor.  Stacks of paper on the teacher’s desk. The students were quiet at the beginning but it quickly turned into chaos, that beautiful kind of chaos, where true learning happens. The students had moved the […]

Engagement Techniques when doing PLE with a Youth Audience

Presenting information to youth audiences can be exciting and dynamic. But, if I am being honest, it can also be a little intimidating. The students have many other things to think about and distractions abound. It can be tough to communicate a nuanced message on a legal issue without losing their interest. Talking at a […]

Justice Education as a Tool for Empowering Youth

Having worked with a few different youth groups, facilitating public legal education (PLE) workshops and presentations, one thing is quite evident: youth are eager to learn about the justice system and how they fit into it. “Where do I learn what my rights are?” Variations of this question are always asked by our youth, regardless […]

Beyond Rights Education: What Youth Want to Know About the Law

Volunteering with the Ontario Justice Education Network (OJEN), I recently began facilitating a family law mock trial at the Afghan Women’s Organization for newcomer youth. Its aims are to give Afghan youth the opportunity to work with lawyers involved in the justice system, and to develop their analytic thinking skills. As a first year law […]

How do you get convicted of attempting to murder the person you just killed? Here’s how.

It is possible to be convicted of attempting to murder the person you’ve just killed, even if you weren’t convicted of murdering them. That’s what just happened in the recently concluded trial of Constable James Forcillo. Toronto criminal defence laywer James Miglin explains for us in less than three minutes:

Justice Education at the Elementary School Level

It is not often that elementary classrooms are considered hot spots for justice education. Justice education is typically believed to be a topic reserved for older students, who are at least high school aged. At the Ontario Justice Education Network (OJEN), we have made a concerted effort to change this ideology, by targeting elementary students […]

What Justice Sector Volunteers Learn from OJEN’s Justice Education Programs

Often, justice sector volunteers (including but not limited to law students, lawyers and judges) come to their first OJEN program excited to bestow their knowledge about the Canadian legal system upon interested youth.  Seldom do they approach their initial program thinking it will be an opportunity for professional development, beyond the law based preparation required.  […]

OJEN’s Charter Challenge – A Place for Answering Big Questions

Last year, Marie Reyes gave birth to a beautiful daughter, Selene. But just hours after her birth, Selene was taken away and placed in the care of Marie’s sister, thousands of kilometres away. Why? Because Marie is in prison for assault, a crime of violence. There is a program in Canadian federal prisons that allows […]

Are Youth More Engaged in This Election, or Am I Imagining Things?

It’s election time and after 75 days of the campaign, I’ve almost reached the limit of how much political conversation I can engage in happily.  Still, the last several weeks have been interesting and I’ve exchanged views with lots of people about issues and values that I might not otherwise have done.  Surprisingly, some of […]

Celebrating Youth’s Passion for Fairness – Tate’s Story

I met Ted Herbert a little over a year ago after he contacted our office with an unexpected proposal.  The Herbert family had lost their son, Tate, to cancer in 2013.  At the time he was just 20 years old, a first year university student, an exuberant, engaged youth on the path to adulthood.  Through […]

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