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

May 2013 Newsletter


Youth Crime and Gangs Workshops
youth-gangsRegister now for one of ten half-day Youth, Crime and Gangs Workshops in June. Presenters will include Crown Counsel, police, probation, and ex-gang members.

Participants will receive an overview of the YCJA and the new Safe Streets and Communities Act; they will learn more about the realities of gang life in their area; and most importantly, will have the chance to actively form partnerships that can lead to an increase in the number of extrajudicial measures being used with young offenders.

Who Should Attend? Police officers, youth service providers, community support workers, native court workers, probation officers, child/youth/family specialists, addictions counsellors and mental health counsellors.

To learn more or complete the online registration, visit www.JusticeEducation.ca/youth-crime-gangs.

JES Resource Updates

New Resources
Have a Lawsuit in Supreme or Small Claims Court? Ask JES!
ask-jesBeing sued or suing someone can be very stressful – especially if you are representing yourself. For the average BC resident, it is not easy to complete court forms and navigate court processes.

For this reason, the Justice Education Society has launched a new online chat service called Ask JES. JES is available to chat live on SmallClaimsBC.ca and SupremeCourtBC.ca between the hours of 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., from Monday to Friday.

To start, JES provides virtual assistance on SmallClaimsBC.ca and SupremeCourtBC.ca. Through videos and client interaction, JES helps to guide website visitors to the legal information and court forms they need. When users have a question, they can click the Ask JES button to chat live. During the hours when the Ask JES chat service is not live, users can get their civil law question answered by sending it to JES by email.

These enhancements are part of a pilot project that explores the use of online technologies to help British Columbians address legal issues. With JES providing virtual assistance and live chat, we hope to help British Columbians not only find the legal information they need, but also feel more confident about how to use the information they find online.

AdminLawBC.ca Relaunches
admin-lawIn April, the Society relaunched AdminLawBC.ca with a user-centred design. An expanded directory  is available with 100+ listings organized into eight user-friendly categories.

Are you preparing for a tough talk with your boss and want to get tips on negotiation tactics?  Have you been billed for charges that were not included in your original contract and you want to dispute the matter with a service provider?  Are you a professional who wants to appeal a decision made by your professional association?  All of these issues fall under the jurisdiction of boards, tribunals and government agencies that make rules affecting our daily lives. This is administrative law territory.

The new and improved AdminLawBC.ca uses straightforward language, instructional videos as well as a soon-to-be released virtual assistant (JES), that will help with identifying the appropriate administrative agency.

Families Change California Launched
fc-caliThe Society’s has been working hard to develop new family resources for the state of California. The websites www.FamiliesChange.ca and www.Changeville.ca were modified to provide jurisdiction-specific information to help kids, teens and parents to be better able to cope with a family break-up.

To view the California site, go to www.FamiliesChange.ca.gov.

Website of the Month
gang-prevention1GangPrevention.ca aims to prevent youth involvement in gang activity by distributing information and resources to parents, teachers and the youth. These resources de-glamourize the gang lifestyle and show youth the reality of gangs – a life of violence, drugs and criminal activity.

Youth, families and communities can access over 30 resources, including Steering Kids Away From Gangs: What Parents Need to Know, numerous videos that teach youth about the realities of being in a gang, and a Community Crime Prevention guide.

Resource of the Month
your-human-rightsA series of five videos called Your Human Rights in BC is available in English, Mandarin and Punjabi. The videos teach immigrants about human rights in BC and Canada. Discrimination occurs when someone treats you differently based on your personal characteristics.

In the videos, workshop participants ask questions about discrimination and learn more about their human rights.

BC Program Updates

Justice System Education Program: Law Day
girl-guide-arrestAbout 100 Girl Guides ages 11 and 12 from Salmon Arm to Okanagan Falls were “arrested” outside the Kelowna Law Courts on April 17, 2013.  This annual event is part of Law Week activities held to help the girl guides earn their law awareness badge and introduce them to the justice system.

Local lawyers hammed it up in the courtroom after the groups of girls who were arrested and lead through the cells ended up in the courtrooms where defence lawyers bribed the jury with candy and one prosecutor was cuffed to a chair after being found in contempt of court.

While those aren’t sights that one would normally see in a courtroom, the process of questioning witnesses, making arguments and jury deliberations mirrored the real thing. The Society has been part of the organizing committee for this event for the past 15 years.

Young Women Civic Leaders Program
ywcl-studentsThe Young Women Civic Leaders project is led by a committee of young women between the ages of 15-25 who are working to promote civic engagement of young women in Burnaby, Surrey and the Tri-Cities. Plans for our next Young Women’s Committee meetings involve skill building through bringing in expert guest speakers, an event involving female politicians speaking about their experience of leadership.

A display created by the committee was presented at the Engaging Women, Transforming Cities: Designing Ideal Cities for Women and Girls conference organized by one of our project partners Women Transforming Cities.

We are also partnering with SFU Department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies to involve students in action research that supports project objectives. During May and June, 15 students are undertaking various research projects that examine youth civic engagement and women in politics. Research findings will be presented publicly on June 27 at the Harbour Centre from 1:30 to 5:30 pm.

For more information about the project, to join the committee, and to register for a student research presentation, please contact Anastasia Gaisenok at 604-660-7459 or by email at Anastasia.Gaisenok (at) JusticeEducation.ca.

International Program Updates

Rick Craig Interviewed about Human Rights in Honduras
Recently, Justice Education Society Executive Director Rick Craig was invited to come to Ottawa to discuss the situation of Human Rights in Honduras. The situation is complex in Honduras – in recent years some 66 lawyers have been killed.

The invitation was from the Subcommittee on International Human Rights of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development. The subcommittee has started in investigate the situation in Honduras. In truth it is difficult to determine, in part because the capacity of the Honduran justice system to conduct strategic criminal intelligence analysis is very poor and almost non-existent. This is one area of work that JES is trying to help them with.

Rick was interviewed for about one hour by the subcommittee. His responses can be viewed here.

Visit from Guatemala’s Attorney General, Dr. Claudia Paz y Paz
pazypazThe Society’s International Program and the RCMP’s Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit had the honour of hosting Dr. Claudia Paz y Paz, the Attorney General of Guatemala, during her recent visit to Vancouver. On May 16, a news conference was held where Dr. Paz y Paz spoke about the efforts being made to reform the justice system, and the role that JES plays in supporting this endeavor. A clip from The Most Violent Place on Earth (the recently-completed documentary on the work being done in Central America) was also shown.

Rick Craig also gave a presentation on the Society’s International Program, highlighting some of the progress made and impacts we are starting to see. An award was also presented to Inspector Peter Jadis, CFSEU Acting Director, for the continued support of the CFSEU in strengthening Guatemala’s Justice Systems.

The day culminated in a public event with 180 attendees, MC’d by Trevor Shaw, Director of Prosecution services for BC Ministry of Justice. The program commenced with another clip from The Most Violent Place on Earth featuring the Society’s work in Guatemala, followed by a short address by Rick Craig and a keynote address by Dr. Paz y Paz. She presented on the criminal prosecution strategy underway in Guatemala highlighting how Canada and the Society support this. She emphasized how things are just starting to change in Guatemala thanks to both the international cooperation and due to the political will her and her team brought to the job.

Visit the “Online Buzz” section of the newsletter to find links to the media coverage of the events.

Sold-out screening of “The Most Violent Place on Earth”
mvpe-screeningOn April 10, the premiere screening of the Society’s new documentary, The Most Violent Place on Earth, was held in front of a sold-out crowd at Vancity Theatre. The film chronicles the determination of JES staff and volunteers as they worked to transform justice systems in Central America over the past decade.

Since 2001, with funding from the government of Canada through DFAIT and CIDA, JES has partnered with the RCMP, Vancouver Police Department, Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of BC, prosecutors, judges and other retired experts to help these three countries build more effective justice systems.

The film was shot and edited by Vancouver lawyer Stephen Herman, and produced by the Justice Education Society’s International Program Manager Evelyn Neaman.

After the film screening, the RCMP was honoured for contributions to the JES work through the presentation of the first JES Louise Arbour Award for International Justice to RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson.

PLEI Spotlight

lorna-o-gradyThe 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: Lorna O’Grady
Position: Director of Finance and Administration
Organization: The Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch
Years at organization: 15

I love my job because: I work with a great group of people! As part of my role I run two public service programs, Lawyer Referral Service and Dial-A-Law, which are funded by the Law Foundation of BC. The most rewarding part of the work I do is being able to serve people by providing them with resources to help them meet their needs.

Right now, I’m working on: Creative advertising.  One of the ways we are getting the word out to inform the public about the two public programs is by asking various organizations in the legal community to add our links to their website. We started this project a couple of years ago and have received a good response.  In return we have added their websites to the appropriate Dial-A-Law scripts.

In time, I hope to: Have the Dial-A-Law scripts available in other languages. The scripts are currently available in English, Chinese and Punjabi.

Words I live by: The serenity prayer.

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.

  • The BC RCMP received an International Justice Award from the Society
  • A recent study by Julie MacFarlane (the National Self Represented Litigants Project report) reported that self-representing litigants quickly become disillusioned, frustrated and overwhelmed. The report has been the topic of much discussion and the Society’s online resources were singled out for being helpful (page 63).
  • The JES International Program had some exciting media coverage recently regarding their work in Guatemala.
    • B.C. cops recognized for Guatemala gang work (Global BC)
    • Group honoured for work to educate and train justice officials in Guatemala (Global BC)
    • B.C. program plays role in catching brutal Guatemalan gangsters (Vancouver Sun)
    • BC anti-gang police praised for work in Guatemala (SURREY/CKNW (AM980))
    • B.C. officers commended for saving ‘hundreds and hundreds of lives’ in Guatemala (The Canadian Press for Metro)

Society News

BCCAT Partnership
The Justice Education Society has partnered with BCCAT to provide facilities and administrative support for BCCAT training courses. Courses will be held at the Justice Education Society head office at the downtown Vancouver provincial courthouse. To view course offerings and register for an upcoming course, visit www.BCCAT.net/courses1/course-schedule.

Board of Directors
Society Board Member The Honourable Terence Schultes recently resigned. We thank him for his dedicated service on our board.