Law Society of Upper Canada

Law Society of Upper Canada

September 08, 2008 12:57 ET

Opening of the Ontario Courts Celebrated With the Presentation of the OJEN Chief Justices' Award to Community Activist

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 8, 2008) - 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


Location: Court of Appeal for Ontario, Osgoode hall, 130 Queen Street


Time: 1:30 PM

Present: The Chief Justices of Ontario's three courts.

Contact 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,