Opening of the Ontario courts celebrated with the presentation of the OJEN Chief Justices' Award to community activist



    TORONTO, Sept. 8 /CNW/ - The 2008 Ontario Justice Education Network's
Chief Justices' Award will be presented to Mr. Rick Gosling at a special
presentation on September 9th, 2008. This award is presented annually to an
Ontarian who has made exceptional contributions to promoting public
understanding, education and dialogue in support of a responsive and inclusive
justice system.
    The Chief Justices' Award was created by Ontario's three Chief Justices.
Activities recognized as supporting justice education outreach include:

    
    -   reaching under-serviced communities;
    -   making important inroads in program delivery, research or
        evaluations;
    -   establishing effective partnerships or collaborations; and
    -   developing important innovations.
    

    The value of justice education, both to the participants in justice
education programs, and to the public at large, is immense. This type of
understanding and dialogue strengthens our justice system as a component of a
healthy democracy.
    The fourth annual OJEN Chief Justices' Award will be presented to Rick
Gosling at 1:30 p.m. at a special ceremony at the Court of Appeal for Ontario,
Osgoode Hall, Toronto, as part of the day's events celebrating the Opening of
the Courts of Ontario for 2008. The Chief Justices of each of Ontario's courts
will participate in the ceremony, acknowledging Rick's extensive justice
education efforts.
    Rick Gosling has exhibited the kind of leadership in the field of justice
education that is an exemplary model for efforts to demystify the justice
system and promote accessibility. As a community based activist, Rick has made
a varied and significant contribution to justice education by working
collaboratively with those of us in the courts, as well as with lawyers and
community advocates.
    Rick Gosling founded the Toronto Breakfast Club, addressing the health
and wellness needs of some of the cities most vulnerable children. He
initiated a program called Law in the Mall, now replicated in a number
shopping malls in the greater Toronto area, during which the public and young
people participate in a mock trial and have the opportunity to visit displays
about the justice system, and obtain resources and career option information.
    Rick has worked to meet the needs of young offenders by connecting youth
with judges and lawyer, exposing young people to positive role models and
providing opportunities to discuss the justice system. He spearheaded the
creation of the Justice Faye McWatt Library at the Hamilton Youth Centre and
the Justice Michael Tulloch Library at the Sprucedale Youth Facility,
introducing valuable learning resources into these detention facilities to
promote education and engagement.
    Rick developed an innovative response to the challenges faced by young
offenders upon completion of their sentences when he created the Second Chance
Scholarship Award for youth who have served their full sentence and are
pursuing post-secondary education. These scholarships not only make education
more accessible, but also convey the public's belief in rehabilitation and
their potential to take on roles as active and contributing citizens.
    In addition to these projects, Rick continues to work with OJEN
volunteers and justice sector professionals to promote involvement with the
justice system. He has also found ways to engage parents, community
organizations, and young people in informative discussions about the workings
of the justice system. These young people and their families are then in a
better position to meaningfully participate in the court process and to
understand the role of each of the players in the system.
    Justice education has the broader goal of ensuring that our system is
transparent, accessible and accountable to the public. Providing residents of
our great province an understanding of how and why our justice system works as
it does is critical to our democracy. With knowledge comes the ability to
debate, assess and, hopefully, gain a respect and trust for the traditions of
our legal institutions.

    
    Chief Justice Winkler has provided permission for media to attend this
    event.

    Location: Court of Appeal for Ontario, Osgoode hall, 130 Queen Street
    West
    Time: 1:30 PM
    Present: The Chief Justices of Ontario's three courts.
    





For further information:

For further information: regarding the OJEN Chief Justices' Award, and
to attend the event, please contact Sarah Pole, OJEN Provincial Programs
Director, at (416) 947-5275, spole@ojen.ca


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