OJEN committee meetings
How to establish and run your first committee meeting
- Call your first meeting at a convenient time. Some OJEN committees meet first thing in the morning, before the start of the school day; others choose to meet after school, towards the end of the work day. If you decide to meet at lunch, keep in mind that this may prevent potential committee members from taking part.
- Choose a central location. Several committees meet at their local courthouse, but allow members to call in, if they are unable to make the meeting in person. The OJEN provincial office has a conference line that allows up to 16 people to participate in a call. Participants must dial a 416 area code, but this conference line can be booked for committee use by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, you may wish to use a free video conferencing service like zoom, google meet or skype.
- When inviting people to the first meeting, provide them with a link to the OJEN website and send out the latest edition of OJEN’s Regional Roundup. (This quarterly electronic newsletter describes recent OJEN justice education activities around the province.) You can email email@example.com if you don’t have the most recent issue, and OJEN’s communications team will send it to you.
- An OJEN staff member will make themselves available to attend your first meeting. We will try to attend in person, but depending on the timing and our availability, we may have to call in, or participate via video conference. We are also available to chat leading up to the first committee meeting, and can help draft your first meeting agenda and identify people whom you might want to invite to the meeting.
- At the first meeting, discuss the benefits of justice education to generate excitement about getting involved. Describe the range of possible activities, the expected time commitment and other logistical details such as the time and location of future committee meetings. Decide on your first justice education project/activity. OJEN staff can provide project planning templates and share ideas about the justice education events organised by other committees. If possible, decide who will take on the various committee roles.
OJEN committee meeting requirements
The number of committee meetings per year, and the length of each meeting will depend on the scope of your justice education projects. At a minimum, OJEN committees should meet four times per year. We recommend that committees meet at the start of the school year in September and once again later in the fall. Access to Justice Week in Ontario tends to fall sometime during the last two weeks of October, so you may want to plan around that. Law Day activities take place in April and OJEN’s provincial competitive mock trial program runs in April/May, so it is generally a good idea to meet at least once in January or February, and again at the end of the school year to get feedback on the year’s activities and discuss general plans for the next school year.
We recommend establishing all committee meeting dates at the start of the school year, but if your committee decides otherwise, make sure that you give at least 2 weeks’ notice of any upcoming committee meeting date.
It is the responsibility of a committee chair (or co-chairs) to ensure that meetings are scheduled at regular intervals and committee members are given adequate notice of each meeting date.
Each committee meeting should have an agenda which is circulated at least one week in advance of the meeting. A sample agenda (for a committee’s first meeting) is attached below as a Microsoft Word document template. Meeting agendas should be prepared by the committee secretary and chair (or co-chairs).
It is the secretary’s responsibility to take meeting minutes and circulate these minutes within 2 weeks after the meeting date. A meeting minutes template is also attached below as a Microsoft Word document.
When circulating meeting agendas and minutes, please always cc’ the firstname.lastname@example.org email address so that we are aware of your committee’s planned activities. OJEN staff make themselves available to either attend in person (schedule and limited travel budget permitting), or participate via phone or videoconference for every OJEN committee meeting across the province. At your committee meeting, we are available to share news of justice education activities from across the province and provide any relevant updates from the OJEN provincial office.
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