Welcome to the Ontario Justice Education Network

New OJEN Classroom Resources!
  • In Brief: The Rule of Law - The rule of law is a fundamental concept upon which many of the legal and governmental systems of our communities are built. In order for complex societies to function, their members agree to follow a common set of rules, called ‘the law’. The rule of law means that no-one, no matter how powerful, is above the law. This handout provides readings and activities to explore the rule of law and its development and supporting mechanisms in the Canadian context.

  • In Brief: Common Law and Civil Law - Different legal systems are used around the world. Two of the most common are Common Law and Civil Law. This handout outlines key differences between the two and develops students' understanding of the strengths of each while increasing their knowledge of Canadian and international justice systems.

  • In Brief: The Canadian Constitution - In the context of government, a constitution can be understood as the most basic and important legal expression of a nation's values, rules and principles. It is not simply a “law”, but rather a set of rules for making laws, managing relationships between individuals and the state, and defining the various roles of different levels of government. Suitable for Grade 10 Civics classes, this handout provides classroom discussion questions and activities to support the development of students’ understanding of constitutional law in the Canadian context. Teachers of Grade 11 law should consider following this handout with the OJEN resource, ‘The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms’.

  • In Brief: The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - People in Canada benefit from a generous system of rights and freedoms that is guaranteed by law and protected by the courts. This handout explores the legal foundations of these in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.Suitable as a follow-up to the OJEN handout, ‘The Canadian Constitution’, this resource highlights key rights and freedoms and encourages students to delve deeper into the Charter by examining the mechanisms by which it is applied, enforced and even modified.

  • In Brief: Legal Philosophy - This resource comprises reading and suggested classroom activities to introduce key ideas in legal philosophy. Teachers have the option of extending student learning through the application of these ideas to a famous English maritime trial involving murder and cannibalism at sea.

  • Small Claims Court Mock Hearing: Santiago v. Castillo - Alex Santiago purchased a used car from his uncle, Enrique Castillo. After signing the bill of sale, Alex discovered a number of problems with the car, including faulty brakes and air conditioning. Alex is now bringing an action in Small Claims Court against his uncle for the cost of repairs.

  • In Brief: Idle No More - gives a short introduction to key events and legal and social issues raised by the Idle No More movement in Canada. The resource supplements this with critical discussion questions and links to related legal case summaries from OJEN and strong resources from elsewhere on the internet.

  • In Brief: Collective Bargaining - introduces students to key legal concepts and processes that underlie the collective bargaining process and allows them to apply their learning by taking the perspective of employers or workers during a guided simulation of a contract negotiation.

  • Landmark Case: Reference Re Secession of Quebec -  In 1995, the Parti Quebecois held a referendum to determine whether the residents of Quebec wanted to separate from Canada. A narrow majority of voters opposed secession (50.6% to 49.4%). In response, the federal government submitted three reference questions to the Supreme Court of Canada, requesting an opinion regarding the legality of Quebec’s separation from Canada. The Court unanimously held that Quebec could not unilaterally separate (i.e. without negotiation or consultation with the federal government and provinces) from Canada because it would violate both the Canadian Constitution and international law.
  • Children's Rights Count - UNICEF Canada and OJEN have partnered to create an interactive classroom resource designed to enhance high school students’ understanding of children’s rights. This resource includes experiential activities that introduce students to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (the Convention), and domestic legal cases related to children’s rights. Through case studies and discussion-based strategies, students explore the social and legal issues related to spanking, medical treatment of minors and child soldiers.
  • Understanding International Law - This resource aims to provide high school students with the knowledge they need to become effective global citizens and undertake global responsibilities as Canadians. It outlines the basic principles of International Law and the major rights protecting Conventions.
  • International Criminal Law Mock Trial: The Prosecutor v. Mabo (Child Soldiers) - This mock hearing, set at the International Criminal Court (ICC), includes three packages of material: a scenario, a role preparation package and a justice sector volunteer package. The scenario, The Prosecutor v. Mabo, has students prepare for the trial of Arthur Mabo, a rebel army commander accused of recruiting and using children as child soldiers in armed conflicts. 

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