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Mailing address only:
600 Bay Street,
Suite 302,
Toronto, Ontario
M5G 1M6
info@equaljusticecanada.ca


"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere …” | Martin Luther King Jr. 


MAY 30, 2018 POVERTY & JUSTICE STUDENT CONFERENCE

SOCIAL JUSTICE AND INTEGRITY BUILD STRONG COMMUNITIES

Equal Justice Canada is an independent Federal corporation. We partner with, participate in and support the mandate and initiatives of Equal Justice America.

Equal Justice Canada is focused on prevention and education; in that we work tirelessly each day to educate children, youth and the larger community about the legal justice system so they are encouraged to stay in school, become dedictaed and involved in the community or a career and blossom into contributing members of society.

Our secondary manadate is to work with governments, organizations, service providers and professionals to try to create a more equitable justice system with more focus on meeting the needs of those with mental illnesses who often end up in the criminal justice system due to lack of family support and homelessness.

Equal Justice Canada will also be working with government agencies and raising public awareness about existing injustices in our court systems and access to justice issues in our current court system.

Our organization will also be offering workshops geared at educating low income and vulnerable groups on existing legislation which applies to their groups, such as the Child and Family Services Act, the Criminal Code, the Human Rights Legislation and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Our organization provides and facilitates referrals of parents, families, children and youth as well as individuals who have been denied fair and just treatment in the legal system to legally qualified and trained professionals.

We provide an intake and referral service to individuals, who are often below the poverty line and have been denied effective representation, and others whose trials are marked by systemic discrimination, including class, gender, racial, socio economic class, age and prosecutorial misconduct. 

Equal Justice works with communities that have been marginalized by poverty, lack of opportunity and discouraged by unequal treatment as an existing part of our Canadian social system as it exists today.

Equal Justice Canada also prepares reports, newsletters, and manuals to assist advocates and policymakers in the critically important work of reforming the administration of child welfare law, family law, human rights law and criminal justice.

Equal Justice Canada Social Justice play "You Can't Break My Spirit" praised by school boards across Canada.

The play, Colours of Justice, examines the justice system and asks,
"Is It Just?" If it is unjust, how can we work together to make it better? During this explorative and educational process, the inspiring play "Colours of Justice" teaches children and youth to care about others, to want to change the world for the better and to want to have freedom in its true sense for every individual in the world!

"I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free ... so other people would be free."
- Rosa Parks

Focus on Pre-teens and Diverse Youth in Play


Two Versions of You Can't Break My Spirit: The Colors of Justice

There are two versions of You Can't Break My Spirit: The Colors of Justice.

The first version is appropriate for ages 10 and up, please watch Question and Answer with students below and click on SCHOOLS for more information.

The second version is PG13 for mainstream audiences. Please read the synopsis below for mainstream audiences:

SYNOPSIS:You Can't Break My Spirit: The Colors of Justice is a play about creating Love, Peace and Victory in the midst of challenges. A young brown woman is thrust into the Toronto Criminal Justice system while trying to peacefully remove her belongings from her matrimonial home. It is a case of the wrong police officer being called to the scene of a family separation. The young single mother is in shock and now has to struggle to understand the experience of the people she serves in her missionary work. She expects to be released from jail after one night but instead is trapped in a system that will only release you if you plead guilty or have tens of thousands of dollars to pay lawyers who are experts in their field and are well connected. The faces around her are vulnerable and aggressive souls who have given up on any possibility of having a normal life, people who have lost everything; casually sacrificing their souls for momentary freedom and who are trapped in a cycle that seeks to destroy them. The protagonist encounters dishonesty, systemic and overt racism, politics, and injustices within the legal system and finally uncovers a system that does not work efficiently at every level. As she searches for solutions she finds the true meaning of love, courage and dignity. Her bravery, determination and persistent faith at every step of the journey is finally rewarded after spending two hundred thousand dollars and fighting for the freedom to live her life on her terms.

You Can't Break My Spirit has no swearing, no sexual content and no violence.

20,012 students across Canada saw You Can't Break My Spirit: The Colours of Justice from February 2nd to June 15th, 2018.

Click on image

Jerusha
Actress
Ms. Oak
Sandy
Actor
Mark Warrior
Prison Guard
Joy
Actress
Ms. Oak
Freskella
Christi
Actress
Plea Court Judge
Belissa
Actress
Freskella
Barry
Actor
Judge
Tarique
Actor
H.Roy Wellington
Judge A. Irving
Dimitry
Actor
Conniving Crown
Duty Counsel
Deanna
Actress
Ms. Oak
David
Actor
Prison Guard
Jeff
Actor
Duty Counsel
Mr. Goldberg
Teddy
Actress
Prison Guard
S. Komonen
Maiya
Actress
Cindy
Maria
Actress
Coniving Crown
Duty Counsel
Sharon
Actress
Mary
Giddings
H. Roy Wellington
Vivian
Actress
Cindy
Dishonest Crown
Meghan Scott
Zaakirah
Actress
Conniving Crown
Sarah De Filippis
Aida
Actress
Inmate
Stephanie
Actress
Dishonest Crown
Meghan Scott
Jenna
Actress
Samara
Court Clerk
Ms. Oak
Mona
Actress
Mary
Court Clerk
Jasnoor
Actress
Freskella
S. Komonen
Lily
Actress
Court Clerk
Olivia
Actress
Inmate
Hasina
Actress
Rohinie
Court Clerk
Claudette
Actress
Judge A. Irving
Court Clerk
Audrey
Actress
Conniving Crown
Sarah De Filippis
Shanti
Actress
Bobby
Actor
Mark Warrior
Duty Counsel
Rosalyn
Actress
Court Clerk
Jordan
Actor
H.Roy Wellington
Judge A. Irving
Leanne
Actress
Judge
Prison Guard
Freskella
Kristina
Actress
Cindy
Conniving Crown
Sarah De Filippis

TICKETS: Email irene@equaljusticecanada.ca


Youth Rehabilitation Pilot

Equal Justice Canada has been operating a pilot Youth Rehabilitation Centre in Thunder Bay since September 29, 2017. The concept and mandate were created by Equal Justice Canada Staff who felt that the criminal justice system and some of the Crown Attorneys may at times be too focused on keeping people trapped in the criminal justice system instead of seeking to find ways to rehabilitate and make it possible for accused individuals to become contributing and positive members of society.

The pilot rehabilitation Youth Program's mandate is to rehabilitate, reintegrate and stabilize first time youth offenders who are being released or have been released from youth and adult prisons. The goal is to ensure the well-being, support systems, continuing education, and employment for these youth and young adults so they stay out of the criminal justice system.

The first 25 youth in the program will be assessed and released from the Youth Rehabilitation Centre in Thunder Bay on December 20, 2017.


Is There Equality Under Law in Canada

What are some of the barriers to Equal Justice?

How can we balance the rights of the poor to the benefits the rich and powerful receive in our political and legal processes and in our courtrooms?

Equal Justice is committed to the rights of the vulnerable, the poor, the elderly, and the marginalized in our Canadian Society. We are committed to creating opportunities, justice and a better quality of life for every individual in Canada.

“There is a long-standing legal principle in Canada that is in serious jeopardy: Equality under the law.
It used to be said that justice is blind and that whether you are a prince or pauper, you should be treated the same."

In Canada, this no longer applies.

Sure, we have the guarantee of equality in our charter where section 15 reads, “Every individual is equal before and under the law.”

But then immediately following that (section 15) we have section 15 (2), which says we can throw equality under the law under the bus (legally justify the discrimination or unjust action) if it is for a good cause.

"Where does that lead us?”

 

Brian Lilley


POVERTY & JUSTICE SPEAKING TOUR

Date: May 2, 2018

Sponsored by:

Elizabeth Fry Society
Equal Justice Canada
Legal Aid Ontario
Pennant Media Group



Conferences

CASE STUDY, ONTARIO HUMAN RIGHTS CODE: Matthew Jocelyn, Canadian Stage

Matthew Jocelyn, Canadian Stage: Police Bias towards Women in Domestic Cases

Matthew Jocelyn knew there was systemic racism in the Toronto Police and used racism to his advantage. Matthew Jocelyn knew there was police bias against women in the Toronto Police and used racism and misogynism to his benefit. Matthew Jocelyn manipulated the discriminatory justice system to abuse, take advantage of and steal from his common law girlfriend.

Matthew Jocelyn refused to hire black staff at Canadian Stage

In nine years at Canadian Stage Matthew Jocelyn routinely rejected employing blacks and refused to employ African Canadian staff. Matthew Jocelyn repeatedly rejected diversity. Globe and Mail article: Canadian Stage ducks Diversity; Canadian Stage oh so white

In the nine years that Matthew Jocelyn was at Canadian Stage not one part time black or full time black staff was hired. Matthew Jocelyn insured Canadian Stage had no black staff.

Matthew Jocelyn abused and was sexist to his ex-girlfriend

Matthew Jocelyn of Canadian Stage told his three year common law girlfriend that the relationship had hit the three year mark and he wanted her out of the condominium to avoid family law obligations. He called the police and she was arrested for a domestic matter with no violence.

Today, three years later, Matthew Jocelyn is still refusing to return her property, sleeping on her bed and using her property without her consent. This is a blatant example of systemic bias on the part of the police against women.

She had a law degree and was well educated with no history of violence. When she asked the police officer Constable Christina Donaldson why she was being arrested, she responded "because you are black". The only way she could get out of jail was the money she had to borrow from friends and a surety she did not have because she was too embarrassed to tell any of her friends. She reported the false arrest planned by Matthew Jocelyn and carried out by Constable Christina Donaldson to the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD). Over six months later Christina Donaldson was investigated by the Office of the Independent Police Review Director, demoted and disciplined for this discriminatory remark.

Problems With The Bail System

Lawyers are only paid $300 by Legal Aid Ontario to do a bail hearing when someone is arrested. A bail hearing usually takes all day. $300 is not enough for this service.  She had no access to her bank accounts or any way to make the $2,000 most lawyers charge for a bail hearing. She was trapped in jail. When a woman is arrested, under investigation by the police or charged, the Children's Aid Society is automatically called by the police. She was also worried about her children but managed to have them cared for by her mother. Many women are not so lucky and lose their children when they are in jail, even if they have a track record of good parenting. Sadly, children suffer as much as their parents when an arrest takes place and this is another area that needs to be addressed.

By the time she was released from jail she had lost her job, her apartment, all of her belongings and her pets. Her father had been hospitalized and died in the hospital while she was in jail. She came home to nothing.


Two weeks after her release from jail, her trial was heard and she was found not guilty.


Equal Justice Canada will be co-sponsoring several conferences at several events and schools commencing
January 25 to February 28, 2018.

The cost is $5.00 to students and seniors and $15.00 per adult, with a Maximum charge to each school or organization of $500.00 even if over 100 students and adults attend the conference.


Please email info@equaljusticecanada.ca

Detention of Accused at Bail Hearings systematically breach Charter rights


Very few individuals are able to bounce back from a detention in jail. The usually consequence of this is:


1) loss of employment
2) loss of home, belongings
3) loss of children
4) loss of pets
5) loss of human dignity, autonomy and independence
6) inability to recover from post traumatic disorder

Press Release from Legal Aid Ontario


Approximately 62 per cent of people in Ontario jails are in custody without having been convicted or sentenced for a crime. Many of these people are facing charges for non-violent offences.


Over the past 15 years the “remand population” has increased during a time in which the crime rate has remained constant or has fallen. The cost of detaining an adult prior to trial is about $183 a day. All this has had a huge impact on legal aid clients. For people with mental health and/or addiction issues, the lack of treatment programs available in remand facilities can have even life-threatening consequences.


A legal aid strategy for bail outlines four areas of concern within the bail system that contribute to delays:


• The need for police to exercise their authority to release.
• Systemic delays in holding bail hearings.
• Over-reliance on sureties as a requirement for release.
• Onerous and unrealistic conditions attached to release.


The strategy paper offers a number of innovative ideas to address these areas of concern including offering better supports for duty counsel and private bar lawyers who assist with bail matters and working with the specific needs of particularly vulnerable clients such as persons with mental health issues, clients from Aboriginal and racialized communities and youth.


Legal Aid Ontario welcomes an important initiative announced by the Ministry of the Attorney General that will reduce time to trial and improve the bail system by offering more supports and supervision, including more legal aid duty counsel services in correctional institutions and in busy bail courts. This will enable faster and fairer criminal justice in the area of bail decision making.


Legal Aid Ontario looks forward to working with the Ministry to implement this important action plan and intends A legal aid strategy for bail to further contribute to the ongoing discussion around bail reform in order to reduce the number of people in Ontario jails awaiting trial.


A legal aid strategy for bail is available on the Legal Aid Ontario website at www.legalaid.on.ca/bailstrategy



Quotes

“The majority of people in Ontario jails are awaiting a trial and have not been convicted of a crime. Legal aid clients often bear the brunt of this. These clients are often people with mental health or addiction issues who can’t meet the bail conditions. That’s why Legal Aid Ontario supports the need for a comprehensive plan on bail reform and this strategy paper indicates our willingness to assist with its development and implementation.”


David Field, President and CEO, Legal Aid Ontario


“One of the fundamental tenets of our justice system is the presumption of innocence. We applaud the province of Ontario’s commitment to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Ontario’s justice system in the area of bail and remand. We hope that Legal Aid Ontario’s bail strategy will contribute to an important conversation that needs to happen in order to improve access to justice”


John McCamus, Chair, Legal Aid Ontario


“Improving Ontario’s bail system is a shared responsibility. Legal Aid Ontario’s strategy paper will contribute to the important conversations happening about the need to increase support options for low-risk, vulnerable people so they can be safely and quickly released into the community. Last week, our government presented our ground-breaking bail action plan to ensure more effective and timely bail decision-making. Our plan includes providing funding to Legal Aid for 16 duty counsel, who will be available to provide on-the-spot help with bail to those in need. We will also provide more bail supervision and in-community support programs right across Ontario for vulnerable people so they can make bail. By working with our partners, I am optimistic that we will transform the bail system so that it is faster, fairer, and keeps our communities safe.”


Yasir Naqvi, Attorney General of Ontario


 

Equal Justice Canada - Who we are

Equal Justice Canada is an independent corporation. We partner with, participate in and support the mandate and initiatives of Equal Justice America.

Equal Justice Canada is focused on prevention and education; in that we work tirelessly each day to educate children, youth and the larger community about the legal justice system so they are encouraged to stay in school, become dedictaed and involved in the community or a career and blossom into contributing members of society.

Our secondary mandate is to work with governments, organizations, service providers and professionals to try to create a more equitable justice system with more focus on meeting the needs of those with mental illnesses who often end up in the criminal justice system due to lack of family support and homelessness.

Equal Justice Canada will also be working with government agencies and raising public awareness about existing injustices in our court systems and access to justice issues in our current court system.

Our organization will also be offering workshops geared at educating low income and vulnerable groups on existing legislation which applies to their groups, such as the Child and Family Services Act, the Criminal Code, the Human Rights Legislation and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Our organization provides and facilitates referrals of parents, families, children and youth as well as individuals who have been denied fair and just treatment in the legal system to legally qualified and trained professionals.

We provide an intake and referral service to individuals, who are often below the poverty line and have been denied effective representation, and others whose trials are marked by systemic discrimination, including class, gender, racial, socio economic class, age and prosecutorial misconduct. 

Equal Justice works with communities that have been marginalized by poverty, lack of opportunity and discouraged by unequal treatment as an existing part of our Canadian social system as it exists today.

Equal Justice Canada also prepares reports, newsletters, and manuals to assist advocates and policymakers in the critically important work of reforming the administration of child welfare law, family law, human rights law and criminal justice.

Section 52 of the Child and Family Services Act

Section 52 of the Child and Family Services Act (CFSA) requires that there be a Trial on finding to determine if a child was legally apprehended with just cause and evidence and should be returned to their families on the legislative basis of lack of evidence that a potential risk of harm to the child exists.

The Child Welfare Courts have been disregarding this law and keeping children and families in the legal system for over two years without a Trial on Finding.

The average time for any child welfare matter to get to trial is four to five years and the CCAS uses this time to alienate the child from the parental family through minimal access time (3 hours per week) and minimal exposure and bonding with the parents following apprehension. Typically, visits cancelled by CCAS workers are without discussion with and notification to parents. Parents attend visits only to be told that their once weekly visits with their child or children have been cancelled.

Access to Justice

There are several Charter violations rendered by the CCAS and rubber stamped by Justice Geraldine Waldman, such as illegal background checks, which have no connection to the reasons for apprehension.

In Canada, there is a lack of justice and a severe "access to justice" issue in our current court system if you are disadvantaged in any way. Often, our justice system favors the Caucasian wealthy clients or established institutions when there is proof that an injustice has occurred. Racial minorities, women, children, new immigrants and low income individuals do not stand any hope of success in an adversarial civil proceeding, a family proceeding and a criminal proceeding.

Costs used as Barrier to Justice and Court Intervention

Very often, self represented individuals, who cannot afford lawyers have costs ordered against them, solely because of their lack of experience, while the substantive part of their case, the real cause of their action, has merit and value.

The costs, which many of these self represented litigants cannot pay, acts as a huge hurdle to justice and in fact is an "access to justice" issue.

Many legal professionals believe that is a case has substantive or/and factual merit; costs should be reserved to the final trial. This will insure that the self represented litigant has their day in court, full disclosure and evidence is given to the court and a final decision made on the facts of the case are tried.

It is an "access to justice" issue when one party has "deeper pockets", keeps bringing motions and obtaining costs on procedural issues. This prevents the self represented litigant or the litigant who has suffered an injustice from obtaining any relief or resolution from the court of law.

Thus, our legal system fails to provide justice to the party who has suffered the injustice on the basis of wealth.

Financial Barriers

Recently, an Appeal of a Child Welfare Court trial decision was refused because the parent could not afford to pay for transcripts, which covered a 17-day trial. The Appeal should have arguably been allowed with the Ontario Superior Court Justice making an allowance to hear the Appeal by using the audiotapes from the trial.

Sadly, the institutions which are created to successfully support these groups use a very complicated application, appeal and "paper" system that frustrates and limits the parties chance of success at every stage of the proceeding, thus making justice seem like far removed, if not impossible, expectation.

An example of this is the current on line Human Rights complaints procedure that many parties have to fill out three or four times before it is accepted. The Human Rights Commission does not offer any live tutorials, meetings with experts, etc to assist individuals whose rights have been denied or who have suffered discrimination to successfully complete the complainant intake form.

Legal Aid Offices

The Legal Aid Offices are consistently improving their service. However, it is still daunting and unresponsive for many. The current Legal Aid office, which does not provide legal support for Human Rights violations, Landlord and Tenant harassment and evictions and Employment cases. The phone systems require a minimum of a 30-minute wait and most applicants will be denied on the first application, and on subsequent appeals.

The court system and the review boards who govern the Child and Family Safety Act have not been following the Act and children are being apprehended and taken from their families without proper investigations being conducted and support being provided to the families prior the apprehension.

A tragic case is the case of the Catholic Children's Aid Society in Toronto and the Jeremy Baldwin case where the CCAS apprehended Jeremy Baldwin over very minor concerns when these concerns could have been solved by providing proper support to the family in accordance with the Child and Family Services Act. The CCAS is still acting today in contravention of this legislation and countless children are being wrongfully apprehended and isolated from their families with delays of up to two (2) years before the matter goes to trial. This is unjust and should not happen. Equal Justice Canada has demanded a public inquiry into this and will continue to advocate for justice for children and families, who are wrongfully targeted by the CCAS and have not abused their children

Domestic Violence

The inherent systemic discrimination against women and children victimized by domestic violence insures that they do not get the police and legal help they desperately need. Families are wrongfully evicted and forced into homelessness. The elderly and poor have no recourse when they fall prey to scams in the marketplace. The disabled are discriminated against without the representation they need to protect their rights. Bureaucratic abuse and neglect go without remedy, often causing families to lose life-sustaining benefits.

There can be no justice for those forced to face these struggles without the help of legal counsel.

Equal Justice Canada will work with individuals to insure that unjust practices are exposed and addressed in a political and legal forum with the objective to remove these barriers.

Our organization will diligently endeavour to find these individuals affordable legal representation as needed.

Access to Pro Bono Human Rights Lawyers

Equal Justice Canada will also be selecting landmark cases with a universal mandate to be argued in the court system by Pro Bono lawyers committed to the betterment of our society.