2023-2024 Series 1 - Justice Through a Canadian Lens

September 7 to October 12, 2023 

The Canadian judicial system guarantees due process under the law.  Every person charged with a crime is presumed innocent, and Charter of Rights and Freedoms under the law must be upheld.

How does our justice system measure up to these lofty ideals? What are some of the roles that lawyers, reporters, police officers, scientists and CSIS agents have in our justice system? 

 Where does it go wrong and how do we improve it? 

Join us for this lecture series where we'll hear from six leading experts and learn from their unique personal experiences in the Canadian judicial system.
Series Coordinators:
Elizabeth Hines and Diane MacIntyre

Holding Our Justice System to Account: The Role of Investigative Journalism

  • Date: Thursday Sept. 7, 2023  10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
  • Location: Bayshore Community Centre, Owen Sound

    Most of the time, our criminal justice system works well, but when it doesn't it's the job of investigative reporters and the media to dig in, exposing bad actors and prodding the police, the judicial system and policy makers to do a better job.

    The Toronto Star’s Chief Investigative Reporter Kevin Donovan will take you on a tour of some of his biggest stories, including the Sherman murders and Rob Ford's downfall, and tell you how he does it and why we need more of this kind of reporting to hold our Justice System to account.

    Lecturer - Kevin Donovan 

    Kevin Donovan is the Toronto Star's chief investigative reporter. He's investigated governments, police, lawyers, doctors, charities and other groups over the past 38 years. He also covered the wars in Afghanistan and the Gulf War and has been shot at by numerous nationalities. To date, he has not been hit.


    The Life of a Canadian Spy in the Age of Terrorism

    • Date: Thursday Sept. 14, 2023  10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    • Location: Bayshore Community Centre, Owen Sound

    Former Canadian Spy Andrew Kirsch gives a rarely seen peek behind the curtain of Canada’s intelligence agency. He explains what the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) is, what it’s really like to work there, and why it’s important that you know more about it!

    In this talk Andrew will share some entertaining stories from his national bestselling memoir I Was Never Here to explain the threats Canada faces, the challenges to come and the role we all must play to keep each other safe.

    Lecturer - Andrew Kirsch 

     Andrew Kirsch served as an intelligence officer with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) for a decade. His memoir, I Was Never Here was an instant national bestseller. Recently, Andrew founded Kirsch Group, a boutique Risk Consultancy serving government, corporate and private clients. 




    A Defence Counsel's Perspective on Criminal Law

    • Date: Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023   10:00 AM -12:00 PM
    • Location: Bayshore Community Centre, Owen Sound

    The job of criminal defence counsel has been called into question during recent legal and political controversies. This lecture will discuss the importance of defence counsel for the proper functioning of the criminal justice system, the rule of law, and our democracy. This lecture will further discuss the experience of practicing criminal defence from diverse perspectives, and the particular challenges faced by women criminal defence counsel.

    Lecturer - Maya Borooah


    Maya Borooah is a senior associate at Henein Hutchison Robitaille LLP, where her practice focuses on criminal and regulatory litigation, as well as internal investigations. She has appeared before all levels of court in Ontario, as well as before the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights.


    Crime Scene Investigation

    • Date: Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023   10:00 AM -12:00 PM
    • Location: Bayshore Community Centre, Owen Sound

    Forensic investigations are often incorrectly portrayed on television and film. This lecture will provide an accurate overview of forensic science and forensic identification. Following the lecture the speaker, assisted by students from the forensic science program at the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM), will demonstrate various forensic identification techniques currently practiced in the field.

    Lecturer - Wade Knaap

    Wade Knaap, Toronto Police Service Det. Cst. (Retired), is a faculty member in the forensic science program at the University of Toronto, Mississauga where he teaches forensic science and forensic identification related courses. Prior to this, Mr. Knaap was a forensic identification specialist in the Forensic Identification Services Unit.  





    New Hope is Coming for the Wrongly Convicted in Canada

    • Date: Thursday, Oct. 5, 2023   10:00 AM -12:00 PM
    • Location: Bayshore Community Centre, Owen Sound

    The Minister of Justice has promised to create a new Commission, to be known as the Miscarriages of Justice Commission, to address claims of wrongful conviction. Mr. Lockyer will explain how this change in our criminal justice system will revolutionize uncovering wrongful convictions and preventing them in the future.

    Lecturer - James Lockyer 

    Since 1992 James Lockyer, founder of Innocence Canada, has been using his legal skills to represent the wrongfully convicted. He’ll speak on the promised Miscarriages of Justice Commission and its mandate to address claims of wrongful conviction. This long-awaited addition to the justice system will revolutionize uncovering wrongful convictions and their prevention in the future.



    Reducing Violence by 50% before 2030: Using Evidence to Prevent Crime

    • Date: Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023   10:00 AM -12:00 PM
    • Location: Bayshore Community Centre, Owen Sound

    Violent crime injures, traumatizes and kills Canadians, particularly Indigenous people, at rates higher than most European countries. Canadian governments and the media continue a narrative that more police, better prisons and multiplying transition houses and sexual assault centres will stop violence. But they have not and will not.

    This violence is preventable. Research over the last fifty years identifies strategies proven to reduce violent victimization before it happens. UN resolutions endorsed by Canada show how to apply what works. Ontario requires cities to plan solutions. What is this knowledge? How can cities use it? What is needed to make the changes?

    Lecturer - Irvin Waller 

    Irvin Waller, Emeritus Professor, University of Ottawa, advocates for governments to halve violent crime before 2030 by investing smartly in prevention. His latest book on Science and Secrets of Ending Violent Crime builds on his encyclopedic knowledge of what works and 50 years pioneering rights for victims world-wide.