What is OJEN?
The Ontario Justice Education Network (OJEN) is a charitable not-for-profit, non-governmental organization with a province-wide mandate. We develop innovative educational tools that introduce young people to the justice system, help them understand the law, and build their legal capability. We work to help prepare young people to manage the legal aspects of problems that arise in their own lives.
OJEN’s programs are delivered across Ontario by a staff of 13 and a pool of approximately 1200 justice sector volunteers, including:
- justices of the peace,
- police officers,
- law school students,
- court staff, and other justice sector professionals.
Thousands of high school students and their teachers participate in OJEN programs each year. We also partner with community organizations, after-school groups, and summer programs to bring our workshops to hundreds of youth in under-served communities.
OJEN’s approach to justice education is not just about giving youth information about the law; it’s also about creating a forum for addressing difficult issues. When justice sector volunteers (like lawyers, judges, and paralegals) attend our programs, they share their knowledge and experience of working in the legal system. Youth participants, in turn, share their lived experiences and knowledge of their communities. Both volunteers and youth participants have an opportunity to challenge their assumptions of one another and to build better relationships.
Our justice education programs focus on building legal capability in youth – the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to manage legal conflict, both now and as adults. They are experiential in nature and tailored to accommodate the unique needs of the youth audience. Whenever possible, we involve participants in the planning and design of our justice education programs.
OJEN’s provincial office is located in Toronto, with an office in Ottawa to oversee the development and delivery of Francophone justice education initiatives. Each year, over 200,000 youth province-wide are impacted by OJEN’s justice education initiatives.