Children's Participation in Justice Processes: Finding the Best Ways Forward



The symposium featured keynote speakers Sheldon Kennedy and Dr. Nicole Sherren and included five concurrent workshop sessions over two days on 15 and 16 September 2016. A pre-symposium conference on family law in Canada designed for mental health professionals and for people whose work does not usually involve the justice system ran on 14 September 2017. Download the program guide from the materials page.

Speakers and Workshops

The roster of confirmed presenters included the following academics, lawyers, judges and mental health professionals:

Professor Nicholas Bala, Queen's University (Kingston, ON)
Hon. Gillian Marriott, Alberta Court of Queen's Bench (Calgary, AB)
Dale Hensley, QC, formerly of Children's Legal & Educational Resource Centre (Calgary, AB)
Hon. Lynn Cook-Stanhope, Alberta Provincial Court (Calgary, AB)
Hon. Donna Martinson, QC, British Columbia Supreme Court, retired (Vancouver, BC)
Dr. Francine Cyr, Université de Montréal (Montréal, QC)
Dr. Karine Poitras, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (Trois-Rivières, QC)
Dr. Élisabeth Godbout, Université Laval (Québec, QC)
Patricia Yuzwenko, Youth Criminal Defence Office, Legal Aid Alberta (Edmonton, AB)
Carolyn Leach, Office of the Children's Lawyer, Ministry of the Attorney General (Toronto, ON)
Dr. Lorri Yasenik, Dr. Lorri Yasenik Child & Family Therapy Services (Calgary, AB)
Patricia Hébert, QC, Gordon Zwaenepoel (Edmonton, AB)
Dr. Rachel Birnbaum, King's University College (London, ON)
Alyson Jones, RCC, Alyson Jones & Associates (North Vancouver, BC)

Workshops were organized in themed streams centring on specific issues, including representing children, hearing the voice of children, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and establishing legal service clinics for children. Workshops included:

Best practices for representing youth in conflict with the law
The intersection of the UN CRC, the Charter and human rights legislation
Shifting identities: Young aboriginal leaders graduating from the care system
Judicial interviews with children
The voice of the alienated child
The role of children’s counsel in family law and child protection proceedings
The voice of the child in parenting coordination
Limits to children’s participation: Are there any, should there be?
Assessing the competence and credibility of children
The privacy rights of children and youth
The CBA Child Rights Toolkit and the UN CRC: Fundamental to child participation
Are we there yet? A roadmap for establishing a child interviewer roster
Hearing the voices of infants and toddlers
Challenges and lessons learned establishing children’s legal clinics

Download the program guide from the materials page.

Pre-Symposium Conference Agendum

Thursday 14 September 2017

Pre-Symposium Conference Agendum

Download the program guide from the materials page.

Symposium Agendum

Friday 15 September 2017, Day One

Symposium, Day One

Saturday 16 September 2017, Day Two

Symposium, Day Two

Download the program guide from the materials page.




Alberta Office of the Child and Youth Advocate Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family


Alberta Law Foundation


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