Access to Justice for Children Conference: Child Rights in Action


Course Date: May 11, 2017

Total: 11h 54min

Day 1: Thursday, May 11, 2017

Welcome and Introduction

Welcome Prayer and Opening Remarks

The Honourable Donna J. Martinson, QC — Retired Justice of the Supreme Court of BC, Vancouver
Elder Theresa Campbell
Musqueam First Nation

Suzanne S. WilliamsBrown Henderson Melbye, International Institute for Child Rights and Development (IICRD), Victoria

Unveiling the CBA Child Rights Toolkit: A Child Rights Framework

The Canadian Bar Association, as part of its Reaching Equal Justice initiatives, recognized that while adults face access to justice challenges that are significant and difficult to remedy, these problems are amplified for young people, especially vulnerable, high risk and marginalized children and youth. Young people have broad legal entitlements under
domestic and international law, and in particular under the Charter and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, designed to ensure their overall well-being. Yet legal education about these rights has been limited and there is a lack of user-friendly resources available to assist.

The CBA national Children’s Law Committee has collaborated with lawyers and other professionals across Canada to create a comprehensive Child Rights Toolkit. We are pleased to introduce it in collaboration with young people who will discuss why child rights matter to them. The Toolkit provides a framework for analysis over many areas of law and focuses on practical suggestions for legal professionals that can be incorporated into their day to day work.

Why Child Rights Matter — Young People’s Perspectives

Jessie G. Caryl —
Lawyer, CBABC Children's Law Section, Vancouver
Yu-Han (Linda) Chen — Founder of the Little Lantern Cultural and Heritage Society & adult ally of Fresh Voices Initiative, Vancouver
Cheyenne Stonechild — International Institute for Child Rights and Development (IICRD), Vancouver

Addressing Child Rights through the CBA Online Toolkit

The Honourable Donna J. Martinson, QC
Retired Justice of the Supreme Court of BC, Vancouver

Dale Hensley, QCBarrister & Solicitor, Former ED and Senior Counsel - Children's Legal & Educational Resource Centre, Calgary
Caterina E. Tempesta — Senior Counsel, Office of the Children's Lawyer, Ministry of the Attorney General, Toronto
Suzanne S. Williams
Brown Henderson Melbye, International Institute for Child Rights and Development (IICRD), Victoria

Why Access to Justice for Children Matters

The Honourable Chief Justice Robert J. BaumanCourt of Appeal for British Columbia, Vancouver
The Honourable Chief Judge Thomas J. Crabtree — Provincial Court of BC, Vancouver
D. Wayne Robertson, QC —
Law Foundation of British Columbia, Vancouver
Michael F. Welsh
President, CBABC, Mott Welsh & Associates, Penticton

Break

The Child: Cultural Competency for Lawyers

In all areas of practice, including family law, criminal law/youth criminal justice, and child protection, cultural competency is an essential aspect of legal professionalism.


This session provides information about how you can obtain the knowledge you need to be culturally competent. We will focus on understanding the lived realities of children in a diverse society, and the responsibilities of legal professionals as identified by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report.

Moderator: Sarah Rauch — Rauch Darby & Company, Vancouver
The Honourable Judge Rosemary Gallagher — Provincial Court of BC, Vancouver
Amber Abou
— Youth Advisory Committee, Vancouver Aboriginal Child and Family Services Society, Vancouver
Grand Chief Edward Akile Ch'oh John — 
First Nations Summit Society, West Vancouver

Tiana MuskegoYouth Advisory Committee, Vancouver Aboriginal Child and Family Services Society, Vancouver
Joanna Recalma
 — Barrister & Solicitor, Nanaimo

Erika Trube — Youth Advisory Committee, Vancouver Aboriginal Child and Family Services Society, Vancouver
Ardith Walpetko We’dalx Walkem 
Cedar and Sage Law Corporation, Chilliwack

Lunch with Featured Speaker:
The Convention on the Rights of the Child as Foundational to Competency in Work With Children

Bernard Richard — Representative for Children and Youth, Office of the Representative for Children and Youth, Victoria

Youth Criminal Justice

Canada’s Youth Criminal Justice Act expressly references the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and contains processes and a range of sentences for young people to enhance their rights and protections.


This session will review the realities of young people in conflict with law, key cases that recognize the special vulnerability of children and their right to legal counsel, as well as multi-disciplinary practices that support the rights of children who have been witnesses or victims of crime.

Moderator: Sarah Rauch — Rauch Darby & Company, Vancouver
Edward James TaylorBladerunners - Aboriginal Community Career Employment Services Society, Vancouver
Amber TimothyMartland & Saulnier, UBC First Nations Legal Clinic, Vancouver
Derek H. Wiebe — Barrister & Solicitor, Vancouver

Child Protection

When the level of care parents provide to children falls below minimum standards the State will intervene. Child protection laws, regulations, and practices that provide for this intervention, particularly when the child is removed from the home, must conform with the child’s rights under the Charter and under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.


With “best interests of the child” as the overarching consideration in child protection legislation across Canada, this session will explore ways the legal fundamentals can be applied in practice to advance the child’s rights and well-being, even when faced with competing interests and rights.

Moderator: Suzanne S. Williams Brown Henderson Melbye; International Institute for Child Rights and Development (IICRD), Victoria
Halie Kwanxwa'loga BruceCedar and Sage Law Corporation, Chilliwack
Grand Chief Edward Akile Ch'oh JohnFirst Nations Summit Society, West Vancouver
Wheeshay McMahon — BC Youth in Care Network, New Westminster
Jaye Simpson — BC Youth in Care Network, New Westminster

Break

Education & Health

The link between educational services and universal child rights standards is often not made despite the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child addressing both access and quality of young people’s education. With young people spending most of their time in educational settings both their educational rights and many interrelated rights such as the right to health, privacy or consent arise.


In this session, we cover the legal fundamentals in these critical areas, as well as concrete examples of the interconnected nature of these rights and considerations to strengthen your daily practice as legal, education or mental health practitioner.

Moderator: Suzanne S. Williams — Brown Henderson Melbye; International Institute for Child Rights and Development (IICRD), Victoria
Dr. Wilma ArrudaMedical Director Pediatrics, Child, Youth and Family Health, Island Health, Nanaimo
Deborah BellAboriginal School and Student Support Worker, Vancouver

George K. Bryce — Barrister & Solicitor, Vancouver
Hanna Jacobsen — Grade 12 student, Vancouver
Nancy Kartsonas
Student Counsellor, Eric Hamber Secondary School, Vancouver
Frances M. KellyCommunity Legal Assistance Society, Vancouver
Sienna Russell — Grade 12 student, Vancouver


Day 2: Friday, May 12, 2017


Opening Remarks: Highlights from Day One

Freedom from Violence

The Convention on the Rights of the Child establishes a child's right to be free from all forms of violence. It places responsibilities on professionals to implement this right, using a holistic approach and just, timely, child-friendly processes that do not cause further harm, while facilitating child victim participation.

This session with help improve your practice by:

(a) providing an enhanced understanding of the nature of violence against children, its impact, and potential remedies.
(b)  providing practical tips on how to ensure that decision making processes in criminal cases where children are victims of violence are just, timely, and child-friendly.

Moderator: Jessie G. Caryl — Lawyer, CBABC Children’s Law Section, Vancouver
Mary T. Ainslie, QC
Senior Crown Counsel, Ministry of Justice, Vancouver

Dr. Margaret Jackson
—  Director, FREDA Centre for Research on Violence Against Women and Children, Simon Fraser University, School of Criminology, Vancouver

Cheyenne Stonechild — International Institute for Child Rights and Development (IICRD), Vancouver
Judith Wright — Clinical Coordinator, Victoria Child Abuse Prevention and Counselling Centre, Victoria Child and Youth Advocacy Centre, Victoria

Immigration and Refugee Children

Immigrant and refugee children are among the most vulnerable. Cases involving these children intersect with many areas of law, including family law, children protection, and criminal law/youth criminal justice. Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act must be interpreted in ways that comply with children’s rights under the Charter and the Convention on the Rights of the Child but there are significant gaps in implementing it in this way.


This session identifies special considerations that apply to such children and provides practical practice tips on what professionals can to do address those gaps.

Moderator: Tess Acton — Maynard Kischer Stojicevic, Vancouver
Yu-Han (Linda) Chen — founder of Little Lantern Cultural and Heritage Society & adult ally of Fresh Voices Initiative, Vancouver
Sharif MohammadFresh Voices Initiative
Caterina E. TempestaSenior Counsel, Office of the Children's Lawyer, Ministry of the Attorney General, Toronto
Sajedeh Zaki — Fresh Voices Initiative, Vancouver

Break

Civil Justice

Young people have an array of civil legal needs beyond criminal, parental custody and access disputes, and child protection matters. They may face employment challenges, landlord and tenant issues, estates, litigation, business or administrative law matters. A young person who does not have the benefit of parents or other adults advocating for them faces many of the same legal issues confronting adults.


In this session you will learn about some of the civil justice issues young people experience, receive tips on supporting child rights in practice, and gain an understanding of systemic supports available such as through the Public Guardian and Trustee.

Moderator: J. Cherisse Friesen — Public Guardian and Trustee of BC, Vancouver
Dale Hensley, QCBarrister & Solicitor, Former ED and Senior Counsel - Children's Legal & Educational Resource Centre, Calgary
Rachel Malek — Society for Children & Youth of BC, Vancouver
Catherine M. Romanko
Public Guardian and Trustee of BC

Family Law

The CBA Child Rights Toolkit states that “with children so reliant on the adults around them to realize their rights in family law, responsibility rests with the adults - parents, lawyers, judges, mediators, counselors and child specialists to facilitate this realization.” This includes meaningful participation rights.

This session will feature the Aboriginal Family Healing Court Conference Initiative, and the lessons everyone can learn from it.  It provides specific practice tools to address the numerous ways in which child rights are directly engaged in family law cases, ways which include, but go well beyond their participation. It will consider independent legal representation for children.

Moderator: Fiona M. BeveridgeWatson Goepel LLP, Vancouver
The Honourable Donna J. Martinson, QC —
 Retired Justice of the Supreme Court of BC, Vancouver
Marion Buller — Chief Commissioner, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry
Kathy Louis, BA, MSM, OBC — Elder, Aboriginal Family Healing Court, New Westminster
Caterina E. Tempesta — Senior Counsel, Office of the Children's Lawyer, Ministry of Attorney General, Toronto

Lunch with Featured Speakers:
Child Rights in Action: Lived Experiences

Cormac O’Dwyer — Trans Rights Advocate, AMS Sexual Assault Support Centre Program Coordinator and UBC Student, Vancouver
Tru Wilson — Transgender Advocate, 14-year-old student, Ladner

Fundamentals of Child Participation in Practice

Child participation is essential to informing best interests and making good decisions about children, whether the child is a party with standing, the subject, a witness, or an affected third party in legal or administrative decision-making. Five essential steps are required to implement a child’s right to participation, in every context and area of law.

In this session, young people and diverse professionals including an evaluator of children in family law and child protection matters and legal counsel to children will discuss these essentials and offer practical tips that participants can implement both during the session and in future practice.

Fundamentals of Child Participation in Practice – Part I

Introduction and high points from Toolkit

Moderator: Suzanne S. Williams
 — Brown Henderson Melbye; International Institute for Child Rights and Development (IICRD), Victoria


Step 1: Prepare the Child

Step 2: Hear the Child

Young People’s Perspectives

Cheyenne Stonechild — International Institute for Child Rights and Development (IICRD), Vancouver

Child and Family Serving Agency Perspective

Romona Baxter, BSW — Executive Director, Nzen'man' Child and Family Development Centre Society, Lytton

Interviewers of Children (Including Criminal vs. Civil Interview Context)

Dr. Mary Korpach, RPsych Vancouver
Dr. Rachel Birnbaum, RSW, LLMProfessor, Cross-appointed to Childhood Studies & Social Institutions and Social Work, King’s University College, Western, Ontario

Lawyer for Children

Caterina E. Tempesta — Senior Counsel, Office of the Children's Lawyer, Ministry of Attorney General, Toronto

Audience Participation — Discussion and Practice

Break

Fundamentals of Child Participation in Practice Part II

Step 3: Assess the Child’s Capacity

Step 4: Give Due Weight to the Child’s Views, Explain the Decision to the Child

Dr. Mary
Korpach, RPsychVancouver

Dr. Rachel Birnbaum, RSW, LLMProfessor, Cross-appointed to Childhood Studies & Social Institutions and Social Work, Member, College of Royal Society of Canada, King’s University College, Western, Ontario
The Honourable Donna J. Martinson, QC — Retired Justice of the Supreme Court of BC, Vancouver

Questions and Discussion

Step 5: Complaints, Remedies & Redress — Accountability to Children

Romona Baxter, BSW Executive Director, Nzen'man' Child and Family Development Centre Society, Lytton
Cheyenne Stonechild International Institute for Child Rights and Development (IICRD), Vancouver
Caterina E. Tempesta — Senior Counsel, Office of the Children's Lawyer, Ministry of Attorney General, Toronto

Closing