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

March 2013 Newsletter


Screening of The Most Violent Place on Earth
documentaryThe Justice Education Society’s International Program worked with a local lawyer and filmmaker to produce a documentary that explores the extent of the violence in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras – three of the most violent places on earth. The documentary shares first-hand accounts of violence in the region and behind-the-scenes looks at the justice reform work being done by JES International over the past decade. Watch the trailer here.

Space is limited for this special screening. This is an RSVP-required event. If you are interested in attending please contact Daniela.Gardea (at) JusticeEducation.ca to reserve your spot.

When: Wednesday, April 10, doors at 6:45 pm
Where: Vancity Theatre, 1181 Seymour Street, Vancouver, BC
RSVP required: Email Daniela.Gardea (at) JusticeEducation.ca

JES Resource Updates

New Resources
Online PAS Videos Reflect New Family Law Act
opasThe Society’s Online Parenting After Separation (PAS) course has been updated in accordance with the new BC Family Law Act. The course is designed for parents dealing with family break-up issues and helps them make informed decisions about their separation which consider the best interests of the children. In the online PAS course, virtual facilitators guide participants through and help them make positive decisions to resolve their parenting issues.

Virtual Assistant, Live Chat and Phone Support on SupremeCourtBC.ca
scbc-jessAs step two in a pilot project that explores the use of technology to help British Columbians address legal issues, the virtual assistant, JESS, has now been launched on SupremeCourtBC.ca. JESS acts as a guide through the website and through the basic steps of Supreme Court processes. For more information about JESS please click here.

Online live chat functionality and phone support for civil matters have also been added to SupremeCourtBC.ca between the hours of 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. every weekday. Through the combination of JESS and the access to expert answers via online chat, we hope to help users not only find the information they need but also feel more confident about the information they find on SupremeCourtBC.ca.

On May 6, 2013, the virtual assistant and online chat for small claims court matters will be introduced on AdminLawBC.ca.

Website of the Month
changevilleChangeville.ca is an animated, highly interactive website for kids who are experiencing parental divorce or separation. The virtual world of Changeville provides a range of information and activities for children to explore.

In Changeville, kids can create their own customizd avatar that walks through the virtual world of Changeville to visit the Park, Legal Street, Break Up Street and the Mall. The website is targeted to children ages 6-12 and it can be explored alone, or with one or both parents.

Resource of the Month
child-supportThe Society’s child support resources on FamiliesChange.ca provide helpful information and a video for parents about child support. When parents separate, one of the first things they should think about is child support.

This resource explains parents’ child support responsibilities, describes how to figure out what a parent should pay or expect to receive (as well as how to calculate other expenses) and provides links to further services and resources. Other topics available here include: dealing with change, feelings and emotions and telling the children.

BC Program Updates

Justice System Education Program: Sneak Peek of a Court Visit
Thousands of students learn about BC’s court system each year through the Society’s Justice System Education Program. Below, Janine Corrado, Regional Coordinator for the Society at the 222 Main Street location in Vancouver gives us a glimpse into what happens during a class visit:

In March I had the pleasure and privilege of hosting a grade 7 class from St. Augustine’s school. There were 32 students, an amazing teacher and about 6 parents who came as field trip leaders. They all arrived to 222 ready to learn and ready to absorb all of the things that were happening throughout the day - from court watching, to asking questions of speakers to acting out the trial of Regina v. Potter! They were interested, curious and had a really great understanding of court process.

As part of the day we had sessions and presentations with many court personnel including a deputy sheriff who showed the class many of the items that were discovered at the search gate the previous day! We also heard from a crown and a defense lawyer who talked about their roles within the legal system and what they do in court, and met with a Judge. The students and parents asked great and thoughtful questions and each session went a long way to demystify what happens in court while making everyone feel welcome.

The full day ended with the students taking their new knowledge and acting out the trial of Harry Potter. Our jury of 12 unanimously decided (after a few minutes of deliberation) that Harry Potter was indeed not guilty of the charge of second degree murder as the crown had not proven their case beyond a reasonable doubt! Harry was free to go! The students did a great job with this trial. I think many in this class may be headed to law school in about 9 years!

We all learned a great deal and it was a great a reminder that we can all come into the courts to learn and observe - we can be lifelong learners and have an inside view of what happens in the courts!

For more information about booking a court visit for a class of students visit LawLessons.ca/Court-Education

Northern Native Public Legal Education Program Provides “Valuable Insights into Justice”
The Society reaches hundreds of aboriginal students every year in northern BC through its Northern Native Public Legal Education Program. Our Aboriginal Programs Coordinator Annette Russell had this to say about a recent class visit:

In March, JES worked with over 100 students in Smithers, BC. Students came to the courthouse with their classes to get a court orientation, learn about restorative justice practices and perform a mock trial. A number of the classrooms were also fortunate enough to have the Honourable Judge Birnie as a guest speaker.

A grade seven teacher from Walnut Park Elm School commented that the session was an eye opener for his students. The excellent questioning skills of the presenters made the students comfortable and gave them valuable insights into justice. He also commented that the experience was well worth it because “the justice system should not be foreign to Canadians - we need to understand it”.

CIPI Workshops for Settlement Workers
cipi-flyerThroughout March, the Court Information Program for Immigrants (CIPI) held four training workshops for Settlement Workers. Two workshops were held at the Surrey Provincial Courthouse and two were held at the Vancouver Law Courts. There were over 100 participants who took part in this training.

These full-day training sessions consisted of legal education on court processes and structure, court watching, information sharing, Judge’s sessions and presentations by Crown Counsel and family law lawyers. The family law lawyers were able to provide timely information about BC’s new Family Law Act and participants gained knowledge of the justice system that they can use and share with the new immigrants they work with.

IPC Online Training for Settlement Workers – A Hands Down Success!
ipc-courseThe Immigrant Public Legal Education and Information Consortium (IPC) is pleased to report the success of the first Family Law Act (FLA) Online Training Course. The seven week online course provided 60 settlement workers with an overview of the FLA, as well as information and resources to assist immigrants.  Survey results were very positive.

  • 97% of learner respondents completed the evaluation survey
  • 98% of learner respondents rated the content relevant to their daily work
  • 100% of learner respondents reported that their knowledge of family law was increased
  • 94% of learner respondents reported that their knowledge of referral resources increased
  • 98% of learner respondents rated the course framework as satisfactory
  • 98% of learner respondents who took the course would recommend it to others

The FLA Online Training Course will be offered three more times in 2013/14. Registration for the next course, scheduled for May 6–June 24, is underway and spaces are filling fast. Invitations for the fall and winter courses will be sent to an expanded list of settlement service providers. Organizations will be notified about registration 6-8 weeks before each course starts.

In addition to developing and delivering online training, IPC has developed online presentation kits for family law workshops for both settlement workers and newcomers and is providing information on the FLA to immigrant communities across BC through a comprehensive radio and print media campaign. IPC member agencies will be using social media to promote awareness of the media campaign by pulling from a library of tweets and posts developed by IPC.

PLEI Spotlight

pennyThe 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: Penny Goldsmith
Position: Executive Coordinator
Organization: PovNet
Years at organization: 16

I love my job because: PovNet is a network of committed front line workers in the anti-poverty field who had been advocating for marginalized communities for many years before the internet came along. Being able to offer them a tool so that they can communicate with each other and learn online in an affordable fashion is the main work that we do. Users of PovNet don’t care what technology we use to run our web sites or interact on the email lists; our job is to make the technical stuff seamless so that they can continue to do the important work that they do without having to worry about computers.

Right now, at PovNet: We’re always looking for new and innovative ways to support the PovNet community. Currently we’re developing a new web site called advocapedia where advocates will be able to share decisions, submissions and other advocacy tools with each other.

In time, we hope to: We’re also looking at ways to make the courses that we offer on PovNetU more interactive for learners and to create innovative information sharing methods on our public web site with graphic stories, videos and other “live” options.

Words I live by: “How much information do you really need before you take a dim view?” - Ursula Franklin.

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.

  • Part two of the white paper on justice reform in BC, titled “A Timely, Balanced Justice System“, was released in February
  • BC’s new Family Law Act came into effect on March 18, 2013
  • The Canadian Bar Association – BC Branch issued a platform considerations document urging election candidates to support ‘An Agenda for Justice’ in preparation for this May’s provincial election
  • The Supreme Court needs more women, departing Supreme Court Justice Marie Deschamps says.
  • Survey indicates Canada’s in-house counsel steeling themselves for the impact of new anti-spam law.

Society News

Mark your Calendars for Danielle Horwitz Day - April 6, 2013
daniThe Society is pleased that the life and work of our colleague and friend Danielle Horwitz is being honoured by the City of Vancouver, as April 6, 2013 has been declared “Danielle Horwitz Day”. Please read the proclamation below by Mayor Gregor Robertson:

WHEREAS Danielle Horwitz was born in South Africa in 1961; and

AND WHEREAS Dani chose Vancouver as her home in 1986 to pursue a Master’s program in criminology and launch a professional career and lifework dedicated to social justice and improving the life of our citizens whose circumstances left them at the margins of society;

AND WHEREAS Dani delivered workshops, programs and services for young adults with disabilities, for youth at risk, for students of all ages, and for Aboriginal, ethnic and immigrant communities;

AND WHEREAS Dani carried forward her commitment to social change through such community service organizations as the Jewish Community Centre, the Elizabeth Fry Society and the Justice Education Society with a goal to lifting institutional barriers for our citizens;

AND WHEREAS Dani’s teachings about cultural diversity, domestic violence, mental illness, addiction and other social issues have been deeply felt by her students, teachers, members of the Downtown Eastside community, court staff and colleagues in all areas of the justice system;

AND WHEREAS Dani’s friends and family; her colleagues and students, her collaborators and supporters have established the Danielle Horwitz Social Justice Award in her memory to invest in future social justice leaders to take up the mantle of the tangible legacies of a life lived so passionately and fully in pursuit of social justice in Vancouver;

NOW THEREFORE, I, Mayor Gregor Robertson, on behalf of the City of Vancouver, do hereby proclaim Saturday April 6, 2013 as “Danielle Horwitz Day”.

New Staff
The Society recently welcomed George Chan, CGA, as our new accountant.  George will help oversee the finance, HR, payroll and administration of the organization.