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From the OJEN Blog

OJEN’s Summer Law Institute celebrates 20 years!

Among the first programs OJEN launched when it was formed 20 years ago, was the Summer Law Institute (SLI). This 2-day professional development event for secondary school teachers has been held every year since 2002, becoming a late-summer staple for many teachers preparing to return to classes. Scheduled just ahead of the start of the academic year, the SLI features workshops on a wide range of legal topics. Teachers hear directly from experts at the centre of some of the most significant legal issues of the day. They also learn about the latest OJEN resources and exchange teaching tips and ideas with one another. Teachers head back to their classrooms, inspired, informed and equipped with high quality teaching resources. 

The SLI adapted to Covid-19

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the SLI has continued in the form of a webinar series. Although in this format it loses the interactive and social aspects that have added value to the event in previous years, there are also benefits.  Not only are the online sessions accessible to teachers from a wider geographic area, we have been able to present excellent speakers who would not otherwise be available to attend in person. Also, whereas we charged a nominal fee for the in-person SLI to help cover the conference costs, webinars are offered free of charge. All the webinar sessions are recorded and posted on the OJEN website so they are accessible to educators who were unable to attend the live event.

20th anniversary program

This year, OJEN’s SLI is delivered as a webinar series once again.  Six one-hour webinars will run between Monday, August 29th and Friday, September 2nd.

  • The OJEN Toronto Committee will present a session on Ontario’s Youth Justice Centres, and their unique community approach to addressing the root causes of crime, breaking the cycle of offending and improving community safety.
  • We are pleased to offer a virtual tour of Osgoode Hall by Elise Brunet, Curator of the Law Society of Ontario. Her lunchtime tours were a regular feature of our in-person SLIs.
  • Of course, OJEN staff will unveil our exciting new classroom resources.  This year we are adding a presentation on legal life skills, too.
  • Closing the week is our always popular Top 5 cases of the year presented by the Honourable Justice Lorne Sossin from the Court of Appeal for Ontario.
  • In addition to the webinar sessions through the week, the recipient of the annual Hux-Kiteley Exemplary Justice Educator Award will be recognized in an online ceremony Thursday evening.

Registration is now open for the entire webinar series. Registration for individual sessions is being added over the weeks ahead. For more information and to register, visit the Summer Law Institute page of the OJEN website here.

A continuing tradition

We hope the Summer Law Institute will resume as an in-person event next year. Nothing replaces the immediacy of face-to-face dialogue and the excitement of creating new connections.

After attending my first Summer Law Institute I was hooked. I met so many other law teachers and lawyers and justices who were involved in cases I had been following.  It’s so amazing to be able to connect and share.” — Cynthia Palermo, Keewatin-Patricia District School Board

As the Summer Law Institute celebrates its 20th anniversary, we are very happy that this important OJEN tradition has continued uninterrupted, despite the challenges of Covid-19.  Many thanks to all the justice sector speakers who have volunteered their time to make these professional development opportunities so valuable for the teachers who attend. And thank you to the hundreds of teachers over the past 20 years who have spent their precious summer vacation time with us learning about the law!

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