Department of Justice Canada

Department of Justice Canada

August 09, 2009 15:00 ET

Minister of Justice Announces Winner of the 2009 National Youth Justice Policing Award

CHARLOTTETOWN, PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND--(Marketwire - Aug. 9, 2009) - Constable Andria Cowan of the Major Crime Unit of the Toronto Police Service has been awarded the tenth annual Minister of Justice National Youth Justice Policing Award for her leadership of a program that matches professional football players as mentors for at-risk youth.

The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M. P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today presented the award to Constable Cowan during the annual conference of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

"Every day throughout Canada, police officers like Constable Cowan make a real difference in the lives of youth and families who might otherwise be at risk from crime," said Minister Nicholson. "The front-line police officers who work directly with young people are unsung heroes in our youth justice system. Their tireless efforts help keep kids out of gangs and other criminal activities, and in doing so, also help keep neighbourhoods throughout Canada safe."

In 2005 Constable Cowan was asked to join the Argos Foundation's Stop the Violence initiative. Through its Youth Mentorship Program, Toronto Argonaut players visit and mentor youth inside a full-custody youth centre. Constable Cowan continues her active participation in this program as Vice Chair of the Argos Foundation and is responsible for the selection and management of the players involved as mentors.

The Minister of Justice National Youth Justice Police Award is sponsored by the Department of Justice Canada in collaboration with the CACP. Award criteria include innovation and creativity and the use of community-based resources as alternatives to formal court processes. Also considered are effective uses of police discretion, conferencing, alternatives to custody and the rehabilitation and reintegration of youth in conflict with the law. For more information about the Award, the winners and nominees, please visit http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/pi/yj-jj/awards-prix/awards-prix.html.


BACKGROUNDER

Minister of Justice National Youth Justice Policing Award

The Minister of Justice National Youth Justice Policing Award was established by the Department of Justice in 2000 in collaboration with the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP). The award recognizes police officers who, individually or as a team, develop approaches for dealing with youth in conflict with the law that go beyond the formal court system, consistent with the provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA). It celebrates innovative policing and serves to inform the police and wider community about creative responses to youth crime.

Specifically, the award recognizes individuals or teams who draw upon the programs and approaches outlined in the YCJA, including:

- The use of extrajudicial measures described under Part I of the YCJA (e.g. using warnings, cautions, referrals to community agencies, or not taking any further action as an alternative to the formal court system);

- Providing advice to decision-makers about the youth justice process through conferencing; or,

- Contributing to the rehabilitation and reintegration of youth who have been found guilty.

To be considered for the award, it will have been demonstrated that nominees, through their actions, have committed to helping young people understand the impact of their actions and to encouraging the involvement of parents, families and communities in the justice system.

Winner:

Constable Andria Cowan of the Toronto Police Service is the recipient of the 2009 Minister of Justice National Youth Justice Award for her work with the Argos Foundation Youth Mentorship Program.

Andria Cowan is a police constable in the Major Crime Unit of the Toronto Police Service. Constable Cowan has worked with the Toronto Police Service since 2000, and is currently working with 41 Division in the Community Response Unit.

In 2005, Constable Cowan joined the Argos Foundation's Stop the Violence initiative. The Argos Foundation is the charitable arm of the Toronto Argonauts Football Club. Its Stop the Violence initiative is committed to reducing gun violence in Toronto, empowering youth through mentorship, educating youth about the perils of gun and gang involvement, and supporting youth-led violence prevention and intervention initiatives.

Constable Cowan has been responsible for running the Stop the Violence program and is Vice Chair of the Argos Foundation. It is Constable Cowan's goal to see the program expand to other CFL teams in the country.

Through the initiative's Youth Mentorship Program, Toronto Argonaut players visit and mentor youth inside a full-custody youth centre. This effort began as a pilot project in 2006 with a start-up grant from the Department of Justice through the Youth Justice Renewal Fund. The program is now in its fourth year at Sprucedale Youth Detention Centre in Simcoe and will transition into the Roy McMurtry Centre in Brampton as part of the core programming for male youthful offenders.

In addition to her work with the Argos Foundation, Constable Cowan is an active community volunteer serving as member at large with the Board of Directors for East Metro Youth Services, as Secretary for the Gray-Hadden Family Foundation, as a lecturer for Crisis Call, and as Chair for the Bond Academy School Council.

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Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of Justice
    Darren Eke
    Press Secretary
    613-992-4621
    or
    Department of Justice
    Media Relations
    613-957-4207
    www.canada.justice.gc.ca