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

January 2013 Newsletter


Women and Leadership Café
cafeYou are invited to an evening of café-style discussions on recognizing and supporting women’s leadership. This event is being organized by the Justice Education Society’s Young Women Civic Leaders project in partnership with Women Transforming Cities and SFU’s Department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies.

The speaker’s panel includes City of Surrey Councillor Barinder Rasode, MLA Sue Hammell, Erralyn Thomas of the BC Association of First Nations and will feature a special greeting from the City of Surrey`s Mayor Diane Watts. Panel presentations will be followed by discussions in English and Punjabi.

Who: All are welcome, but advance registration is required.
When: 7:00 p.m., Tuesday, February 19
Where: SFU Surrey campus, Room 5080
Register: WomenAndLeadershipCafe.eventbrite.com
More info: Contact Anastasia at Anastasia.Gaisenok(at)JusticeEducation.ca or 604-660-7459.

Law Project Seminars
lawprojectOur series of seminars on The Law Project will continue in February. The Law Project is a multimedia rich website that allows students to explore issues related to social justice and the law.

This three-hour seminar includes training on how to use The Law Project website and the teaching resources. Teachers and teacher’s assistants will learn how to create their own assignments as well as a video. Upcoming seminars are as follows:

When: February 8, 2013
Where: Surrey

When: February 15, 2013
Where: Esquimalt Secondary School, Victoria

For more information or to register visit LawLessons.ca/training-for-teachers or email us at info(at)JusticeEducation.ca.

JES Resource Updates

New Resource
small-claimsBritish Columbians with a case for Small Claims Court now have a new way to get help. The Justice Education Society has introduced an automated online assistant for legal matters on the SmallClaimsBC.ca website that improves service to clients.

The virtual assistant is called JESS, which stands for Justice Education Society Search. JESS helps to bridge the gap between human help and online help by simulating a person that users can see and hear. JESS acts as a guide through the website and through the basic steps of Small Claims Court processes.

The virtual assistant combines an interactive series of video scripts, website text and multiple choice questions that provide information for claimants and defendants about how to take the next step to move their case forward.

Virtual assistants are becoming an increasingly popular way for organizations to provide greater service to customers. With JESS leading the way, we hope to help users not only find the information they need but also feel more confident about the information they find on SmallClaimsBC.ca.

For the Society, launching JESS on SmallClaimsBC.ca is the first step in a pilot project that explores the use of technology to help British Columbians address legal issues. In February and April of 2013, virtual assistance will be introduced on SupremeCourtBC.ca and AdminLawBC.ca, respectively.

Website of the Month
cipiCourtInformation.ca is a website that provides free information and referrals to new immigrants and refugees who are appearing in court.

The Court Information Program for Immigrants provides in-person services in English, Chinese, Vietnamese, Punjabi, and Hindi to help new immigrants understand BC court processes.

Resource of the Month
peace-bondsRecognizance Under s. 810 (Peace Bonds) describes recognizance under s. 810, also known as a peace bond. Topics include when recognizance is considered, conditions of recognizance and failure to comply with conditions.

The document is available here in six languages: Chinese, English, French, Punjabi, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

BC Program Updates

JSEP Program Fundraising – Over $50,000 and Climbing
fundraising Since October 2012, the Society has raised $52,500 to directly support its Justice System Education Program (JSEP) for students across BC — almost double the annual amounts raised between 2008 and 2012.

The campaign, led by board member Leon Getz, QC, engaged the efforts of a team of volunteers from the legal community who gave their time and energy to support the Society’s fundraising activities across BC. Their work and the generous donations from bench and bar will enable over 10,000 BC students to learn about the law.

Special thanks is extended to the following donors:

  • The Victoria Bar Association (VBA): On October 13, 2012, the VBA sponsored a gala dinner and auction, proceeds of which were directed to JSEP in Victoria, coordinated by Sylvia Sangha. The incredible support from dedicated VBA dinner committee members, generous sponsors, guests, live and silent auction donors and volunteers helped create a memorable evening for participants and raised over $13,000 — enough to provide justice education for 2600 Victoria students.
  • The British Columbia Crown Council Association (BCCCA): the BCCCA`s generous donation of $5000 will enable 1000 students to participate in mock trials, learn from sessions with judges and lawyers and observe justice in action through observing court proceedings.
  • The Penticton Bar Association: the Penticton Bar’s $500 contribution is much-appreciated support to our programs in the Okanagan.

The Society has received support in equal measure from the judiciary, lawyers and their associations. Each group has contributed one-third of the total campaign proceeds, demonstrating a broadly-based endorsement of JSEP by the legal community.

JSEP’s success relies on the commitment of the Society’s volunteers and donors. The Society thanks each individual and organization for their support to JSEP fundraising campaign and for helping us continue introducing students to BC`s justice system. For more information or to donate visit JusticeEducation.ca/donate.

Young Women Civic Leaders Program Launched
Young Women Civic Leaders is a brand new project in Burnaby, the Tri-Cities and Surrey that promotes and encourages full participation of young women at all levels of civic, political and community life. The project engages young women aged 15-25 by building their capacity and offering opportunities to take leadership roles in their communities.

This two-year project is being developed by the Justice Education Society of BC and is funded by Status of Women Canada. It will provide these young women with opportunities for experiential learning and will help them to respond to the under-representation of girls and young women in civic and political sectors. Project activities will be designed, guided and implemented by young women and girls.

The project objectives are:

  • To identify and reduce the existing barriers to young women’s full participation by working collaboratively with community partners, institutions and other stakeholders.
  • To work with young women and girls to develop their capacity and leadership skills so that they can effectively identify and respond to the barriers that affect their participation.

For more information, contact Tamarah Prevost at Tamarah.Prevost(at)JusticeEducation.ca or 604-660-7459.

IPC Launches Online Training for Settlement Workers
ipc-courseThe Immigrant Public Legal Education and Information Consortium (IPC) launched the Family Law Act Online Training Course on January 14, 2013, with a full slate of 60 settlement workers participating. It was an exciting day for IPC and the staff at the Society who have been working over the last six months to develop this new online learning opportunity.

The seven-week course provides an overview of the Family Law Act (which comes into effect on March 18, 2013) and provides settlement workers with information and resources that will assist immigrants. The combination of text, case studies, videos, activities, review questions and online facilitation and discussion provides an interactive and effective learning environment.

Feedback from focus groups in the development stage, current participants and the online course facilitators has been very positive. Plans are underway to incorporate the lessons learned and run the course at least three more times in 2013 and 2014.

Youth Against Violence
This fall, the Society’s Youth Against Violence (YAV) project team delivered presentations at secondary schools in Prince George and Quesnel, co-presenting with a group of enthusiastic young women from the Walk Tall program at Carrier Sekani Family Services.

Our YAV youth teams across BC continue to raise awareness about violence against women and girls. Many of the teams were very active during the 16 Days of Activism to End Gender-Based Violence (November 25 - December 10), with events that raised awareness, stimulated discussions, and involved teachers, school staff and whole communities held across the province in Quesnel, Qualicum Beach, Richmond and Hazelton. In total, more than 2,800 youth were reached through these activities.

The YAV youth teams are busy at work planning for Valentine’s Day and International Women’s Day (in March). For more information on the YAV project, contact Anastasia Gaisenok at Anastasia.Gaisenok(at)JusticeEducation.ca or 604-660-7459.

International Program

A recent article produced by CIDA features the work that the Justice Education Society`s International Program has been doing to support justice reform in Guatemala. In collaboration with Canadian legal experts and their Guatemalan counterparts, the Society has trained hundreds of Guatemalan police, prosecutors and judges in how to prepare for oral trials, how to examine crime scenes and how to use new technology such as forensic video evidence to get convictions. You can read the article here.

Upcoming Projects

The Society is excited to announce that the RCMP Foundation has funded a project called Cyber Safe that will help youth to learn about being safe online. In cooperation with the RCMP, the Society will create a video-based online certification course. You can look for it online this fall at CyberSafeBC.ca.

Online Dispute Resolution Model
The Canadian Bar Association`s Law for the Future fund has approved a project that will involve the development of a model for online dispute resolution. This will provide a way for two people to settle a dispute online without going to court. The Society will develop the model and pilot it on SmallClaimsBC.ca.

PLEI Spotlight

kari-boyleThe profiles we share in the “PLEI Spotlight” will help you learn more about what’s going on in other organizations that are also working towards PLEI and justice programs/services.

Name: Kari D. Boyle
Position: Executive Director
Organization: Mediate BC Society
Years at organization: 7

I love my job because: I have a chance to contribute in a meaningful way to increased access to justice in BC by providing the public with viable alternatives to the court system when they are faced with legal problems or conflict. Mediation, in particular, is a practical, flexible and affordable process that can help resolve conflict quickly while preserving key relationships.

Right now, I’m working on: broadening people’s understanding of mediation, and expanding our collaboration with agencies like the Justice Education Society to provide people with the appropriate conflict management information, tools and skills needed to help them deal with their legal problems. My team at Mediate BC is also designing and delivering mediation programs to support the introduction of the new Family Law Act in BC this spring, and at the same time strengthening Mediate BC’s Rosters of Civil and Family mediators to provide all British Columbians with easy access to mediation services throughout the province.

In time, I hope to: see an informed society in which people have broad and affordable access to sufficient knowledge, skill development and guidance enabling them to effectively deal with their problems.

Words I live by: Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Online Buzz


Find out what’s happening in the world of justice programs and services online! This segment of our newsletter highlights some of the interesting justice-related news that we’ve come across online. To see more of what we’ve been up to on social media, follow the Society’s interactions on Facebook and Twitter.

  • BC’s Salvation Army Pro Bono Program, which did great work in the community for 14 years, shut down permanently in November.
  • Technology in the courts is the topic of much conversation: CBC’s radio program “Spark” discusses why the courts have been slow to adapt to changing technology (links to audio). Also, technology helps former spouses avoid the emotion of face-to-face communication.
  • Chief Justice Bauman of BC Supreme Court announced the commencement of the chambers assize pilot project at Vancouver Law Courts.
  • A pilot project was launched in BC aiming to give people cheaper, faster way to deal with family matters in courts by improving access to paralegals.
  • The Missing Women’s Inquiry report entitled “Forsaken” was released in December and received much attention.

Society News

New Staff
The Society recently said goodbye to some staff members.

For more than two years, Andrew Dawoud was a member of the Society`s Immigrant PLEI Consortium team. We said goodbye to him in early January and wish him well in his new role as a Court Clerk with the Province of BC.

After nearly six years working for the Society, we said goodbye to our Web and IT Coordinator Peter Szymczak this month. Peter has decided to move on to new challenges working as a Web Developer at a local design company. We wish him well in his new endeavours. He will be greatly missed by all who have worked with him here over the years.

With Peter leaving, we are pleased to welcome Brandon McKay as our new Web Development Coordinator and look forward to working with him. We also congratulate Dusan Despot on his promotion from Communications Assistant to Web and IT Coordinator.

The Society`s Administrative Coordinator Kathryn Rose will be leaving next month in anticipation of the completion of her library diploma. In her three years with the Society, Kathryn has worked in many areas of the Society including human resources, facilities, admin and fundraising. We wish her all the best in her future career as a librarian!