Working with the OJEN provincial office
Updated September 10, 2020
About the provincial office
OJEN’s provincial office is located in Toronto. We are a small staff of 12 people, who came to OJEN after previous work in the legal, education and non-profit sectors. Together, we work to:
- Develop new public legal education programs for young people and pilot them in communities across the province
- Build partnerships with legal, education and community organizations throughout Ontario
- Run several provincial programs that operate on an annual basis, like the OBA-OJEN Competitive Mock Trial Program, the Charter Challenge, the Mock Trial Fund, Courthouse Visits and booking classroom speakers, etc.
- Create classroom resources which Ontario high school teachers can use to teach law and civics in their classrooms
- Provide a range of professional development opportunities for high school teachers
- Design and deliver public legal education training for justice sector volunteers and community workers
- Raise funds to support the organization’s public legal education work
- Create new local OJEN committees and support existing OJEN committees across the province.
How we can help
Committee meetings and member recruitment
- We will ensure that an OJEN staff member is available to attend each committee meeting (either on the phone or in person) to keep you updated on OJEN activities throughout the province.
- We provide templates for committee meeting agendas and minutes.
- If you need to use OJEN’s conference call line, we can make it available for use at your meetings.
- We can help recruit new committee members, if needed. For some committees, this has involved recruiting a local college, university or law school student who has served as the committee secretary (taking minutes, drafting agendas, sending out meeting reminders, etc.) When recruiting students for these roles, OJEN staff will take a more active role in the training, corresponding with and providing guidance to these students while they fulfil this role on your committee.
Program planning and delivery
- We can offer suggestions for possible committee programs and activities (sharing what other committees have done, highlighting new programs developed by OJEN staff that may be of interest, etc.)
- For some provincial programs (like the OBA-OJEN Competitive Mock Trial or Law Institutes for Teachers), OJEN staff members work closely with the committee or sub-committees to ensure consistency of programming across the province.
- We also provide support to new committee-driven projects when they involve work with vulnerable or marginalised youth. OJEN staff have expertise in the development of public legal education programs for these youth. We can meet with a committee or subcommittee to help design or adapt a justice education program for a specific youth audience.
- For any justice education activities which require participants to pre-register, we can offer support in setting up and operating online registration forms for your event.
- In limited circumstances, we may be able to provide in-person program support on the day of your event. When piloting a new justice education program, OJEN staff make every attempt to be onsite and assist with the program. For more established programs, it is less likely that we will be able to attend. We are limited by staff capacity and a small travel budget, but we will do our best to help when we can!
- The provincial OJEN office can issue charitable tax receipts to donors who wish to support your OJEN committee’s activities. Donations made to OJEN in support of a specific OJEN committee’s activities are held in trust by the provincial office. We can make these funds available to your committee upon request from the committee chair. Please see the section below for more information about fundraising.
- We share information about justice education activities across the province and profile your committee’s events through our electronic newsletters, website, as well as our Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts.
- We host committee webpages for individual OJEN committees on the OJEN website. This allows you to feature local justice education initiatives specific to your community.
- We can help with the graphic design of promotional materials (flyers, agenda, etc.) for your event.
- Check out the full list of communications-related support and how to access it.
Keeping in touch with the OJEN provincial office
We want to know about (and promote!) your committee’s activities, so please reach out to us often and share your news with email@example.com.
Committees should ensure that they provide up-to-date information on their membership to the OJEN provincial office by confirming names and email addresses of members at the beginning of the school year, and advising us throughout the year when people leave/join the committee or when roles or responsibilities within the committee change. We will make sure that our Regional Roundup listserv is kept up to date and no one misses out on communications from us.
OJEN is a federally incorporated, charitable, non-profit organization, so we need to be kept informed of public legal education activities undertaken by local OJEN committees. This is one of the reasons why we make sure that OJEN staff members are available to attend or call into OJEN committee meetings. It is also why we ask that you cc’ the firstname.lastname@example.org address when circulating meeting agendas and minutes.
The OJEN communications team is ready to assist OJEN committees with a broad range of communications-related activities. Please make sure to review these options, as well as the restrictions we have put in place around the creation of social media accounts.
Use of the OJEN logo and branding, creation of promotional documents, drafting of press releases which describe OJEN and our justice education activities, all need to be discussed with OJEN’s communications team before publication. We cannot provide committees with access to the OJEN logo and letterhead, but if we are given enough advance notice and have the capacity to do so, we will work with you to create promotional documents and letters.
A note about fundraising
As a small, charitable, not-for-profit organization, OJEN has very limited financial resources. Sometimes we are able to provide a small amount of financial support for certain activities, like our competitive mock trials. We have a modest Mock Trial Fund which distributes $15,000 each year to various local OJEN committees and other groups who apply for this funding. Other times, OJEN will receive time-limited funding for specific pilot program-related expenses (provided by a funder). OJEN staff administer these funds and will contact committees if we can make them available for your activities.
Local committees are welcome to fundraise to supplement the costs of their justice education activities (i.e. judges on the committee cannot fundraise, but other members can). It is important to keep the OJEN provincial office informed of these fundraising activities. Local committees can solicit donations from individuals and businesses, but they cannot apply for grants (other than OJEN’s Mock Trial Fund) because only OJEN’s Executive Director has the authority to bind the organization. If you have identified a local funding opportunity you wish to apply for, please contact the provincial office and we will determine whether this is something that we can support.
As a registered charitable organization, OJEN is subject to Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) fundraising regulations. OJEN committees must follow the same CRA regulations when conducting local fundraising toward the costs of project delivery.
Solicited funds must be made payable to the “Ontario Justice Education Network”. Donations can be made either by cheque and sent to the provincial office in Toronto, or donated online through OJEN’s donations page. Please ask donors to indicate on the cheque or the online donation form that funds are intended for your specific committee. This will ensure that we keep accurate records.
The OJEN provincial office will trustee funds raised by OJEN committees. Once funds are received, the provincial office is responsible for issuing an official charitable tax receipt or business receipt to the donor, as appropriate.
OJEN will disperse funds (that are received on behalf of local committees) by cheque, when we receive a request to do so by the committee’s chair.