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OJEN Chief Justices’ Award

The Chief Justices’ Award was established by the three Chief Justices of the Court of Appeal for Ontario, Superior Court of Justice and Ontario Court of Justice. This award recognizes an individual who has made an exceptional contribution in promoting public understanding, education and dialogue in support of a responsive and inclusive justice system. Past winners have distinguished themselves by:

  • Reaching underserved communities,
  • Making important contributions to program delivery, research or evaluation,
  • Establishing effective partnerships or collaborations, and
  • Developing important innovation in justice education.

A permanent plaque acknowledging all of our past recipients is hung on display at the Court of Appeal for Ontario.

To nominate someone for this award, please obtain a minimum of two nominating letters that outline the ways in which the nominee has met the award’s criteria. Strong nominations include multiple nomination letters from individuals who have knowledge of the nominee’s work. Nominations must be received by Friday, December 15th 2023.  Feel free to contact us if you have any questions at

Past Recipients


Adam Cox received the 2022 Chief Justices’ Award at a reception presided over by Chief Justice Michael Tulloch, Chief Justice Geoffrey Morawetz and Chief Justice Sharon Niklas. Mr Cox is an educator in the York Region District School Board. He is a Department Head of Personalized Alternative Education and has taught for almost 20 years. He works with students from vulnerable communities, many of whom are involved with the justice system. He develops new, innovative, and inclusive Personalized Alternative Education programs that use experiential learning as a way to support and foster success. He incorporates law lessons in all the courses he teaches to build connections between curriculum and real-world situations. 


The Honourable Justice Nancy S. Kastner of the Ontario Court of Justice in Brampton, received the Chief Justices’ Award at a virtual ceremony. Justice Kastner was honoured for her leadership in advancing justice education in Peel Region. As a driving force behind the establishment of the Peel Justice Education Committee, she was instrumental in launching several of the first justice education programs still offered to students in the region.


Jamie Glass, a law teacher at Middlefield Collegiate Institute in the York Region District School Board, is the recipient of the 2019 Chief Justices’ Award. An inspiring and innovative teacher of law and civics for 21 years, Mr. Glass began his career as a criminal lawyer.


Sergeant Milton Ferguson, from Toronto Police Services’ 52 Division, received the 2018 Chief Justices’ Award in recognition of his outstanding efforts to improve relations between police and youth in Toronto’s marginalized and racialized communities.


Justice Margaret Ann Scott received the 2017 OJEN Chief Justices’ Award at a ceremony presided over by Chief Justice George Strathy and Chief Justice Lise Maisonneuve on March 29th.


His Worship Mark Conacher has championed justice education throughout his career. He was recognized in particular for his efforts in making the justice system a more accessible and less intimidating to young people through the Court Experience program, which he conceived, organized and maintained for 11 years.


Justice Jane Milanetti, a Superior Court judge from Hamilton, Ontario, was recognized for her exceptional contribution to promoting public understanding, education or dialogue in support of a responsive and inclusive justice system.


Maurice Anderson was the Courtrooms & Classrooms Coordinator at 361 University Court house for nine years until his retirement in December 2014.


Justice Paul Bellefontaine played an instrumental role in establishing the Durham Region Committee on which he served as co-chair for 6 years. While in this role he initiated several successful justice education programs including the Adopt-a-School program, which matches lawyers with teachers, and the Courthouse visit program.


Angelo Bolotta served on OJEN’s Board of Directors for 10 years and on OJEN Network since its inception as a representative of the Institute for Catholic Education. He provided an active role in governance, new strategic directions and day-to-day guidance to the staff team.


Justice Patricia Hennessy is champion of justice education, who has made significant contributions to northeast region through her OJEN pro bono involvement in her community. She has chaired the OJEN Committee in the Northeast Region since its inception in 2002.


Grace Russell is the point of contact for the more than 13,000 students and their teachers who visit Old City Hall each year and to thousands more who visit other Ontario Court and Family Court Houses in the GTA.


Jo Thornton, a law teacher and department head at Mayfield Secondary School in the Peel District School Board, is the 5th Chief Justices’ Award recipient.


Rick Gosling, recipient of the 2008 Chief Justices’ Award is a tireless community activist with a strong commitment to youth and to justice education.


Kristen Bucci, lawyer in private practice in Thunder Bay, past president of the Thunder Bay Lawyers’ Association is the 2007 OJEN Chief Justices’ Award recipient.


The 2006 Ontario Justice Education Network Chief Justices’ Award was presented to Mr. Paul Regan, a retired Vice Principal in the Simcoe County District School Board, at a special Law Day reception on April 5, 2006.


The inaugural Chief Justices’ Award was presented to Captain Douglas Taylor of the Great Lakes Commissionaires Office for his long-standing contributions to OJEN’s flagship program Courtrooms & Classrooms.

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