Access to Justice for Children Conference


Course Date: May 14, 2015

Total: 11h 24min

Day 1: Thursday, May 14, 2015


Opening Prayer and Introduction

Elder: Bruce (Owii`lo`ly`eyum`gaudlth`ni`Ki`insque) Robinson — Family Support Elder/Cultural Advisor, Vancouver Aboriginal Child and Family Services Society, Vancouver
The Honourable Donna J. Martinson, QC — Retired Justice of the Supreme Court of BC, Vancouver
Suzanne S. Williams Brown Henderson Melbye, Victoria; Consultant, International Institute for Child Rights and Development (IICRD), Victoria

Young People’s Views on Justice: Their Lived Realities

  • examines young people’s day to day experiences—their lived realities—from their perspectives
  • looks at the ways in which legal problems arise in a wide variety of contexts in their lives
  • considers young people’s unique perspectives on the ways in which the justice system, whether dealing with administrative processes, alternative dispute resolution processes, or court processes, does respond and could respond to those realities and legal challenges 
Holly Anderson - Guardianship Manager, Vancouver Aboriginal Child and Family Services Society, Vancouver
Cheyene Andy - Youth Advisory Committee, Vancouver Aboriginal Child and Family Services Society, Vancouver

Creesa Charlette — Youth Advisory Committee, Vancouver Aboriginal Child and Family Services Society, Vancouver
Melody Crowflag
— Youth Advisory Committee, Vancouver Aboriginal Child and Family Services Society, Vancouver
Riley Desjarlais — Youth Advisory Committee, Vancouver Aboriginal Child and Family Services Society, Vancouver
Tiana Meskego — Youth Advisory Committee, Vancouver Aboriginal Child and Family Services Society, Vancouver
Erika Trube — Youth Advisory Committee, Vancouver Aboriginal Child and Family Services Society, Vancouver
Cheyenne Walters — Youth Advisory Committee, Vancouver Aboriginal Child and Family Services Society, Vancouver 
 

Children’s Human Rights: Legal Framework Fundamentals

  • considers how mandatory contextual legal analysis, the way in which children’s equality principles are incorporated into legal decision making, uses principles of equality under domestic and international law and children’s lived experience to achieve just results
  • examines the substantive content of children’s legal rights under domestic and international law, demonstrating how children’s rights apply to administrative, judicial, and alternate dispute resolution processes
  • looks at the ways in which international laws relating to children are incorporated into domestic laws, and in particular
    • the presumption of conformity in statutory interpretation
    • the presumption that the Charter provides at least as much protection as that afforded by human rights instruments Canada has ratified
  • applies these principles to the day-to-day work that lawyers do

The Honourable Donna J. Martinson, QC Retired Justice of the Supreme Court of BC, Vancouver
David C. Dundee Paul & Company, Kamloops
Suzanne S. Williams Brown Henderson Melbye, Victoria; Consultant, International Institute for Child Rights and Development (IICRD), Victoria

Networking Break

Children, Law, and Justice: A View from the Bench

  • addresses the ways in which lawyers’ professional obligations to commit to “equal justice for all” under the Code of Professional Conduct link with both children’s lived reality and their legal rights under domestic and international law
  • discusses how the Charter, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and other international instruments that apply to children provide the legal standard by which to measure whether just processes are used and just results are achieved for children
  • raises awareness about practical ways in which lawyers can, in their day-to-day work, champion access to justice for children generally, and vulnerable, high risk, and marginalized children, including Indigenous children, in particular

The Honourable Judge Marion R. Buller  Provincial Court of BC, Port Coquitlam

Lunch with Keynote Speaker: "Access to Justice for Children: An International Human Right"

The Honourable Raynell Andreychuk, Senator for Saskatchewan The Senate of Canada, Ottawa

Are the Legal Fundamentals Serving Children in Practice?

  • identifies possible barriers to children achieving justice through laws and within various legal contexts, such as civil, criminal, administrative, and alternative dispute resolution processes
  • explores how the complexities of children's lives, the law, and administrative/legal systems can contribute to barriers that children may encounter
  • considers how competing rights may create tensions
  • proposes ways in which legal professionals might approach balancing those rights to better ensure children's equal access to justice

The Honourable Judge Rose Raven Provincial Court of BC, Surrey
Dr. Nancy Bell Researcher/Consultant, Adjunct Professor, University of Victoria, Victoria
Samantha Truong Vancouver

Overcoming Barriers: Case Examples

Analyzes ways in which lawyers, working with children and others, can address access to justice barriers for children by using three compelling examples of ways to access justice for them

  • Indigenous children in care
  • trans children
  • young children whose mothers are incarcerated
Harriette Cunningham — Comox
barbara findlay, QC
— barbara findlay, QC Law Office, Vancouver
Sarah J. Rauch
Rauch Darby & Company, Vancouver
Ardith (Walpetko We'dalx) Walkem Cedar and Sage Law Corporation, Chilliwack

Networking Break

Services to Support Children’s Access to Justice

Provides information and ideas for lawyers and other professionals whose work impacts upon children about legal and other services which exist to help achieve equal access to justice for children in

  • formal and informal administrative processes
  • alternative dispute resolution processes
  • court processes

Jay Chalke, QC — Assistant Deputy Minister, Ministry of Justice, Victoria
Rick Craig Executive Director, Justice Education Society of BC, Vancouver
Jocelyn Helland Manager of Vancouver Youth Services, Pacific Community Services, Vancouver
Heidi Mason Director, Legal Advice and Representation, Legal Services Society, Vancouver
James Wale — Acting Director, Child Welfare Policy, Ministry of Child and Family Development, Victoria

Closing Remarks

Reception: 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm
"Lawyers as Champions for Children"
co-hosted by the CBA National Children's Law Committee 

Day 2: Friday, May 15, 2015


Welcome and Introduction to Day 2

The Honourable Donna J. Martinson, QC — Retired Justice of the Supreme Court of BC, Vancouver
Suzanne S. Williams — Brown Henderson Melbye, Victoria; Consultant, International Institute for Child Rights and Development (IICRD), Victoria

Indigenous Justice for Children

Analyzes principles of and application of Indigenous law and justice

  • jurisdictional space to hear Indigenous laws and legal orders for children
  • articulating indigenous law and legal orders
  • practice hurdles to caring for Indigenous children and families within Canadian courts and legislation
  • access to justice for Indigenous children and families, legal aid, rural challenges, decision making
  • international law principles, identity, collective rights for Indigenous children

Provides the basis for considering the ways in which principles of Indigenous law and justice apply to and can help inform the development of

  • all legal principles, and
  • all legal processes including administrative, ADR, and court processes
Halie (Kwanxwa'loga) Bruce  Cedar and Sage Law Corporation, Chilliwack
Hadley Friedland — Research Coordinator, Cree Law and Child Welfare, Indigenous Law Research Unit, UVic Faculty of Law, Victoria
Sarah J. Rauch Rauch Darby & Company, Vancouver
Ardith (Walpetko We) Walkem Cedar and Sage Law Corporation, Chilliwack

Networking Break

Child Development Essentials for Legal Professionals

Considers concepts of and stages of child development to assist legal and other professionals, when making decisions generally, and in court, administrative, or ADR processes to

  • learn how to effectively implement children’s broad rights to participate in all decisions affecting them
  • to understand the significant and negative consequences to normal child development, that stress and other trauma can have on children, including
    • stress and trauma caused by ineffective decisions
    • by costly, delayed, and ineffective court, administrative, or ADR processes.

Dr. Mary Korpach Registered Psychologist, Surrey

Children in Context: Supporting Vulnerability

Explores children in context, and in particular how special vulnerabilities inform practices supportive of children’s well-being and access to justice such as

  • challenges for particularly vulnerable children, including immigrant, refugee, and unaccompanied children
  • issues of child consent and privacy
  • systemic issues and ethical considerations relating to children’s mental health
  • initiatives aimed at addressing barriers to the implementation of children’s broad right to health 
Sandra Bryce Executive Director, Victoria Child Abuse Prevention and Counselling Centre, Victoria
Linda Chen — Fresh Voices Initiative Youth Advisory Team, Vancouver Foundation, Vancouver
Jorge Salazar Project Manager, Fresh Voices Initiative, Vancouver Foundation, Vancouver
Dr. Shirley Sze President, Thompson Region Division of Family Practice, Child & Youth Mental Health and Substance Use Collaborative, Kamloops
Reyna Villasin — Fresh Voices Initiative Youth Advisory Team, Vancouver Foundation, Vancouver

Lunch with Keynote Speaker

Dr. Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond BC's Representative for Children and Youth, Victoria

The Child’s Participation Rights and Access Points in Justice Processes

Explains

  • the nature of and broad reach of children’s participatory rights in all areas of family, civil, and criminal legal practice, including court, administrative, ADR, and other non-formal justice processes
  • the inextricable link between children’s best interests and their participatory rights

Discusses the practical methods lawyers can be use in court, administrative and ADR processes to ensure that children’s rights, with a focus on their participatory rights, are considered at every stage of the applicable legal decision making process.

The Honourable Madam Justice Margot Fleming Supreme Court of BC, Vancouver
The Honourable Donna J. Martinson, QC Retired Justice of the Supreme Court of BC, Vancouver
Arlene H. Henry, QC Arlene H. Henry Law Corporation, Vancouver
Tina Parbhakar Civil Litigation Group, Ministry of Justice, Victoria
Derek H. Wiebe Barrister & Solicitor, Vancouver

Networking break

Children’s Access to Justice: Next Steps in BC and Beyond

Concludes the program by considering future ways in which lawyers, both individually and working together, in BC and across Canada, can help to enhance equal access to justice for children generally, and in all administrative, ADR, and court processes, by, among other things

  • considering the work of the CBA National Children’s Law Committee and its United Convention on the Rights of the Child sub-committee
  • looking at the role of provincial CBA children’s law committees
  • role of children's lawyer and Child and Youth Advocate's offices: Ontario and New Brunswick perspectives
  • describing the work of UNICEF Canada, generally, and in the creation of a national children’s observatory
  • looking at ways in which the legal profession can take steps to ensure that the questions of children’s access to justice will be part of the ongoing provincial and national access to justice discussions

Lucy McSweeney  Chair, Ontario Bar Association's Child and Youth Law section; Children's Lawyer for Ontario, Office of the Children’s Lawyer, Toronto
Jerry McHale, QC  Visiting Professor, Lam Chair in Law and Public Policy, University of Victoria, Victoria
Christian Whalen Chair, CBA Children's Law Committee; Deputy Advocate, New Brunswick Office of the Child and Youth Advocate, Fredericton
Lisa Wolff Director of Policy and Education at UNICEF Canada, Toronto 

Closing