5:30 – 7:00 pm
NATIONAL SELF REPRESENTED LITIGANTS PROJECT
Dayna Cornwall, Project Manager, National Self Represented Litigants Project
The core of the work of the National Self-Represented Litigants Project is to advocate for better and deeper understanding of the needs, motivations and challenges of self-represented litigants. They are committed to:
This presentation will focus on the research on emerging areas of special interest to those affected by the SRL phenomenon, including jurisprudence, court and legal information services, and changes in legal practice to meet SRL needs (unbundling, coaching).
8:30 – 9:00 am
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
9:00 – 9:15am
Dr. Shely Polak, President, AFCC-O
Andrea Barclay, Chair, 2021 AFCC-O Annual Conference Committee
9:15 – 10:30 am
KEYNOTE ADDRESS: TOXIC STRESS AND THE DEVELOPING BRAIN
Dr. Jean Clinton, B.Mus., MD, FRCP(C)
Clinical Professor McMaster University
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences
This educational and engaging presentation will explore the developing brain and the crucial role that relationships with others play in healthy development. In recent years, research has identified the important role that a child’s physical and emotional environment plays in their development, leading to a deeper understanding of what young children need in the early years to thrive. Relationships that are warm, responsive, and predictable help our children to flourish, but relationships that generate intense stress can harm the developing brain. Dr. Clinton will present on the impact of parental conflict, intergenerational trauma, and the pandemic on children’s brain development.
10:30 – 10:45 am
10:45 – noon
MOVING BEYOND BARRIERS: AN INDIGENOUS PERPSECTIVE
Jim Doxtdator, Family and Child Protection Mediator
Marian Jacko, Assistant Deputy Attorney-General, Indigenous Justice Division, Ministry of the Attorney-General
Rebecca Kingdon, Counsel and Supervisor of Legal Services, Native Child & Family Services of Toronto
Rebecca Hammond, Policy Counsel for Aboriginal Justice Strategy, Legal Aid Ontario
Facilitated by Maggie Hall, B.Sc., MSW, LLM
The panel will discuss barriers to justice for Indigenous people and share information about current and emerging initiatives to address these barriers. Perspectives will be provided from professionals working in the areas of mediation, child welfare, child representation, and legal aid.
12:00 – 12:15 pm
SPECIAL TRIBUTE HONOURING PHIL EPSTEIN
Justice Lene Madsen, Superior Court of Justice
12:15 – 1:00 pm
1:00 – 1:15pm
PRESENTATION OF THE DENA MOYAL AWARD
Awarded to Justice Andrea Himel, Superior Court of Justice
1:15 – 2:45 pm
NEW AMENDMENTS TO THE DIVORCE ACT: REFLECTING ON CHANGE
Rollie Thompson, Professor Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University
Big changes in parenting and relocation law, both the Divorce Act and the Children’s Law Reform Act. No more “custody” and “access”. No more Gordon v Goertz. We have some early decisions interpreting the new laws. And the Ontario Court of Appeal has recently decided three important relocation cases, and the Supreme Court of Canada will hear three relocation appeals this term.
2:45 – 3:00 pm
3:00 – 4:00 pm
MOVING FAMILY JUSTICE PAST THE PANDEMIC: THE EVOLVING “NEW NORMAL”
Claire Houston, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, Western University
Rachel Birnbaum, Professor, King’s School of Social Work, Western University
Nicholas Bala, Professor, Faculty of Law, Queen’s University
Facilitated by Dr. Kim Harris
This panel will present research on the effects of the sudden, dramatic transformation of Ontario’s family justice system from an in-person to a virtual environment. Practicing in a virtual environment has been more efficient for some professionals, and less costly and more convenient for many clients. The closure of courts and offices, however, has very significantly impacted access to justice, with disproportionate effects on children, self-represented litigants, low-income individuals and racialized groups. The presenters will offer suggestions for good practices and systemic reforms as the family justice system moves towards a post-pandemic hybrid model.
4:00 – 4:45 pm
IMPROVING FAMILY JUSTICE RESPONSES TO FAMILY VIOLENCE
Robin Trombley, Counsel, Family Law and Youth Justice Section
Cherami Wichmann, Senior Social Science Researcher, Research and Statistics Division
Department of Justice
Robin Trombley and Cherami Wichmann will discuss some of the Department of Justice Canada’s key activities aimed at supporting implementation of the Divorce Act’s family violence amendments and at improving family justice system responses to family violence. The presentation will focus on an ongoing research project to develop the HELP Toolkit: Identifying and Responding to Family Violence for Family Law Legal Advisers. The HELP toolkit is a bilingual, evidence- and user-based tool for family law legal advisers with practical suggestions on how to identify and respond to family violence in a way that is safe for the client. Justice Canada expects to launch the toolkit by the end of 2021.
4:45 – 5:00 pm
Dr. Shely Polak
AFCC-O Chapter Member: $125
Student, Presenter, Retired Professional: $75
Group Rate (5 or more): $125/person (Contact email@example.com for group registration)
Cover art: Alex Jacobs-Blum, The land we are and have always been // tsih.sa:né:yohs (when you are healing), 2020, digital photograph
The land and water give and sustain all life on Earth. They embody knowledge that is intrinsic to our health and wellbeing. The land and water are synonymous with Indigenous ways of being. They also need to be considered when engaging with Indigenous peoples, and youth specifically. We are working to (re)build our relationships with the land and water, and in caring for them, we can ensure a sustainable future for the generations to come.