Justice In Our Times

Justice information, news and resources for British Columbians.

Featured Lecture Video
  • Central American Crime: Justice In Our Times

    Central American Crime: Justice In Our Times

    On January 27, the Society gathered a panel of speakers with differing perspectives of the international impact of Central American crime.

    Topics included the evolution of gangs in El Salvador, the legal and social impact of Central American crime in BC, and the Society's work to strengthen the region's justice systems.

    presentation videos
  • Gang Wars: Justice In Our Times

    Gang Wars: Justice In Our Times

    Gang Wars: Justice in Our Times featured four panelists discussing how our justice system and communities can better respond to BC's gang problem.

    Watch the event, which covered numerous topics including legislation changes, witness protection, publication bans and early intervention.

    presentation videos
  • Aboriginal Justice In Our Times

    Aboriginal Justice In Our Times

    On March 3rd, a panel of notable speakers presented thought-provoking ideas and opinions on legal issues facing the Aboriginal community.

    presentation videos
  • Pioneering in the Fight against Human Trafficking

    Video Example

    In November 2008, Patsy Sorensen, founder and director of the Belgian non-governmental organization Payoke, delivered a presentation titled "Pioneering in the Fight Against Human Trafficking" to a crowded room at SFU Harbour Centre.

    presentation videos

April 2012 Newsletter

Justice Reform

Modernizing BC’s Justice System - Green Paper
In February, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General released a Green Paper called Modernizing British Columbia’s Justice System. The Green Paper highlights several key issues in BC’s justice system, discusses reform initiatives and poses a series of challenges intended to form the basis for further exploration and recommendations.

Statement on Judicial Independence
On March 15, 2012, the Courts of British Columbia released a joint statement discussing the principle of judicial independence. The statement may be found on the Courts’ website.

BC Justice Reform
The BC Justice Reform Initiative was created to identify and recommend reforms to improve BC’s criminal justice system. The BC Justice Reform Initiative website offers an opportunity for the public and those who work in the justice system to give their input. The site includes the Chair’s blog, surveys, a feedback form and social media links.


Teacher Workshops
The Society is known for providing exceptional professional development training for teachers. Teacher training workshops are held on professional development days and feature qualified and interesting speakers. The Society is presenting two workshops this spring and two workshops in the fall. Interested teachers can find more information on future workshops or register online at www.LawLessons.ca. Information about the first upcoming workshop is below.

Youth and Gangs
The next teacher training workshop will be an interactive session on the topic of Youth and Gangs. Topics include gang statistics and gang recruitment. Teachers will walk away with ready-to-use lesson plans and teaching materials for Grades 7-11.

Date: May 18, 2012
Time: 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Location: Justice Education Society Classroom (850 Burdett Avenue, Victoria, BC)
Keynote Speaker: Paul Douglas, Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit
Registration: Online at http://www.lawlessons.ca/teacher-training/registration

For more information, contact Sylvia Sangha by email Sylvia.Sangha(at)JusticeEducation.ca, fax 250-387-3090, or call 250-387-3303.

Resource Updates

Resource of the Month
A series of 10 large wall charts feature easy-to-follow illustrations showing the structure and procedures of BC’s justice system. Series A is introductory and designed for elementary school and ESL students (also available in French). Series B is more advanced and designed for use with high school, criminology and law students as well as justice system personnel. A guidebook is also available. Order this resource online at www.justiceeducation.ca/resources/wall-charts.

Website of the Month
FamiliesChange.ca combines animation, text, audio and video to help children, teens and parents better cope with divorce or separation. The parents section of the site features new videos to help parents understand their Child Support responsibilities. The site is a popular resource and a recent set of bus and web ads increased traffic to the site by 14% from January to March compared to the previous fiscal year.

Project Updates

The Society recently completed a number of exciting projects:

Law Lessons


The Society launched a new website for teachers and students at www.LawLessons.ca. The website consolidates a number of legal education resources and provides a single online destination to access a broad range of content including lesson plans, teaching units, the Justice System Education Program, teacher training workshops and teaching resources.

Dispute Resolution
The Society produced website content and a series of four animated videos that provide information about resolving disputes before they escalate. These videos are now available on AdminLawBC.ca:

•    Choosing a Dispute Resolution Option
•    Preparing for a Tough Talk
•    Understanding Disputes
•    Negotiating a Solution

In addition, the Society is working with administrative agencies to discuss these new resources and to examine how dispute resolution strategies can be integrated into current practices.

Child Support Resources on FamiliesChange.ca
FamiliesChange.ca Children do better when they have the financial support of both parents. They also have a right to it by law. When parents separate one of the first things they should think about is child support. Child support is the  money one parent pays to the other for the financial support of their child/children. New content that provides simple, plain language information about child support in BC is now live on FamiliesChange.ca.

ISO Forms
Most Canadian provinces have cooperative agreements with each other and a number of additional jurisdictions regarding changing or creating child support orders. The Society produced a series of FormSupport Guides to provide information about the Interjurisdictional Support Order (ISO) forms and instructions on how to fill them out. We produced a series of videos that provide guided support to help separated parents understand what forms need to be completed, based on their specific situation. These new resources were developed with funding and support from the Department of Justice Canada and BC’s Ministry of Justice. They will be online later this summer.

Provincial CourtThe Society has developed a new website for the Provincial Court of BC. The site has a completely new look and a new judgment database. It represents a technological partnership with CanLII.org to display provincial court judgments. The site is now being tested on the court’s server and we expect the site to be live in May.

In the Fall, Clicklaw introduced “widgets” which enable web developers to publish Clicklaw search results on other websites. Working in partnership with Courthouse Libraries and Open Road, the Society has extended the widget application by creating new XML feeds of Clicklaw search results. This alternate approach allows web developers to access Clicklaw content, but to vary to presentation format to suit the individual website that it is on. The Society is currently piloting this new approach, which will be extended in the future to other BC PLEI contributors.

Legal Rights for Youth
The Society is developing a new web resource for youth in BC. It consolidates a range of information to help youth understand their legal rights. “A lot of our resources for youth were developed for educational purposes. Youth are students,” said Rick Craig, Executive Director of the Society. “This new web resource is innovative because it provides information to youth based on their legal needs”. The topics on the site focus on legal issues that young British Columbians may face, such as driving, work or starting a business.

Program Updates

Immigrant PLEI Consortium: Settlement Workers Training Conference
Settlement Workers ConferenceOn March 27 and 28, 2012, a training conference for BC Settlement Workers called 2012 Legal Information and Resources for Settlement Workers was hosted and carried out by the Law Foundation of BC, the Legal Services Society and the Immigrant PLEI Consortium (led by the Justice Education Society).

Over 140 participants attended from all over the province representing over 70 organizations and over 20 communities – all with the goal of increasing their knowledge in order to better inform their clients. Conference participants included a cross-section of approximately 25% of the settlement worker community in BC.

The conference provided legal information on a range of relevant topics by 38 presenters from 24 different organizations including five private law firms and four government offices. Many NGOs also provided staff time for presentations.

Many of above topics and sessions were videotaped by the People’s Law School. These videos, once edited and finalized, will be available for reference on www.ImmigrantLegal.ca.

Law Week 2012
In Celebration of Law Week 2012, a day of events was held in Nanaimo on April 14, the Okanagan region on April 18 and in Victoria on April 21. Hundreds of people attended various events in the three areas. Events included mock “fairy tale” trials, Police K-9 Unit demonstrations, tours and informative presentations.

An editorial in the Nanaimo Daily News commended the celebrations in Nanaimo, quoting the Society’s Regional Coordinator for Victoria, Sylvia Sangha, saying: “The kids are witnessing how the system works. The courts are open to the public and we even accept classroom bookings to allow children to see the court system in action.” Read the full editorial here.

Youth Against Violence

PSA Contest
PSA Winning SubmissionThe Use Your Voice PSA contest was organized by the Youth Against Violence: Preventing Violence Against Women and Girls program. The contest empowered young people across BC to take action on preventing violence in their communities by submitting any piece of art making a statement about ending violence against women and girls.

The winning submission was created by a youth team in Prince George. The team felt that adults tend to forget that children are watching and learning from their behavior. “We wanted to communicate a different way that people could and should interact, which is with kindness and empathy versus anger hostility and violence,” the team said in their submission.

Teacher Training Workshop
Teacher Training WorkshopA professional development day teachers training workshop on Youth Against Violence (YAV): Preventing Violence Against Women and Girls was held for 37 teachers on Friday, April 20 at the Society’s head office with the support of the Vancouver School Board and Status of Women Canada. Teachers learned about violence against women and girls, heard from guest speakers from Out in Schools and Westcoast LEAF, and engaged in discussion about how their schools could get involved.

International Program

Violence Against Women Needs Assessment
Needs AssessmentThe Justice Education Society’s International Program works with Canadian experts to find ways to combat the growing number of crimes of violence against women in Central America. A collaborative approach among justice system personnel including police, prosecutors, judges and support workers in the community is required to succeed.

In March 2012, two Canadian experts –Susanne Dahlin and Rita Buchwitz – travelled to Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras with the Society’s Central America Project Coordinator Anne Catherine Bajard to complete a needs assessment and produce recommendations on how to ensure a gender-sensitive approach in the Society’s Central America training program for police and prosecutors. The assessment and recommendations focused on dealing with crimes of violence against women. The Society will review the recommendations and develop a strategy to address this growing concern.

JES Welcomes Mexican Delegation in Cultural Exchange
On March 25, the Society welcomed a delegation of five Mexicans in a cultural exchange called “Mexico and Canada Partnering in Indigenous Justice Traditions”. This one-week exchange is the result of collaboration between the Society and The Canada Fund for Local Initiatives at the Embassy of Mexico.

The Society’s International Program facilitated a dialogue with a Mexican non-profit research centre called the Center for the Study of Law Teaching and Learning (CEEAD). The discussion encouraged the sharing of experiences related to the justice system for indigenous/aboriginal communities that both organizations have worked with.

A second purpose of the visit was to provide an opportunity for the delegation to learn about the First Nations’ people in BC, their justice practices, culture, some of the key legal issues they are confronting and interesting programs that have been developed for them. Both the Society and CEEAD are keen to explore ways to collaborate in future projects to strengthen the capacity of Mexico’s justice system.

Society News

Websites and Resources
The Society achieved a new milestone over the past fiscal year with more than 318,000 visitors to our 30 PLEI websites. The top 5 websites were:

Site Visits
JusticeEducation.ca 54888
SmallClaimsBC.ca 38748
CourtsofBC.ca 36038
SupremeCourtSelfHelp 27465
FamiliesChange.ca 25443

The Society now has 74 videos online on YouTube, where we have over 20,000 video views.

Board of Directors
The Society welcomes the Honourable Terence Schultes and Darin Thompson as the newest members of the Board of Directors, and would like to thank Susan Dahlin (Member-at-Large), Melissa Gillespie, QC (Representing Ministry of Attorney General), and Erika Kasai-Ulrich (Representing Schools) for their service on the Board of Directors.

New Staff
In February, The Society welcomed Bethany Benoit-Kelly as Communications Coordinator. Bethany is a recent transplant from Alberta and is pleased to be putting her communications experience to work as part of the JES team.

JES International Program Newsletter
The Society’s International Program newsletter was distributed in March. Click here to read it. If you would like to receive this newsletter, please send an email to Bethany.BenoitKelly(at)JusticeEducation.ca.