Speaker Series

Sharing innovation, inspiration, and expertise in social and criminal justice

Our Speaker Series includes free virtual presentations and workshops on social and criminal justice issues. Applying an intersectional and compassionate lens, the Speaker Series explores critical topics and community-based solutions to address them, such as homelessness, mental health, addiction, and the barriers faced by Indigenous peoples, people with developmental disabilities, and those with criminal justice experiences. Sessions feature the voices, research, and experience of industry experts, teams delivering innovative services, and people with lived experience navigating these barriers in their personal lives. 

14 sessions · 700+ attendees · 1000+ people engaged 


September 21  ·  12pm PT
Exploring opportunities for community & service providers to better serve Indigenous people impacted by the justice system.

Interested in attending an upcoming Speaker Series session?

Any service provider, student, professional, or member of the public interested in learning about social and criminal justice innovation is welcome to attend! Register for our Speaker Series Newsletter to receive periodic updates, information on upcoming sessions, and free resources including past session recordings.


Ripples of Hope

A lot has been learned about FASD since the term Fetal Alcohol Syndrom was first coined in 1973. With more than 1.5 million people living in Canada who have been prenatally alcohol-exposed (PAE), there is a widening gap between supports and programs most service providers currently offer to meet the complex needs of this population. Our May 2021 presentation explores how we can better advocate for and support people with FASD, and to remove the stigma that they face in their daily lives.

Preventing & Overcoming Burnout

Our in-house counsellor, Munir Velji, MSW, RSW, joins our first Speaker Series of 2021 to deliver a workshop on burnout. Munir shares practical skills, strategies, and resources to deal with stress and burnout. He differentiates the experiences of stress and burnout, highlights warning signs of both, and offers helpful techniques to prevent, manage, and overcome these experiences.

Civil Legal Needs of Justice-Involved Individuals 

During our December Speaker Series session, we were joined by Aileen Simon, Project Lead for Strategic Initiatives at JHS Ontario’s Centre for Policy and Research, who shared findings from Legally Bound, a research project on the civil legal needs of justice-involved individuals in the province. Aileen explores the key findings from the project and what it can teach us about how we can better serve individuals involved with the justice system.

Putting People at the Centre of BC’s Overdose Crisis

We are experiencing two major public health emergencies: the COVID-19 pandemic and the overdose crisis. In isolation, these two crises have profound impacts on our community. In conjunction, that impact has grown significantly. Across Canada, we’re seeing some ground-breaking approaches and initiatives being carried out to support the people most impacted by these emergencies. We heard about two incredible examples in our November Speaker Series session, one from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and another from Nanaimo. Check out this session to learn more about innovative peer-led, harm reduction services in BC!

Addressing Homelessness in 3 Canadian Cities

Our October Speaker Series session spoke to the critical issues surrounding Mental Health and Homelessness in Canada, featuring JHS innovators from 3 Canadian cities: Calgary, Fredericton, and Kelowna. While presenters from each city addressed unique challenges and opportunities within their communities, and the programs being delivered to address them, there were some key underlying themes throughout the session.

Restorative Practices: Exploring Innovative Programs Delivered in BC

Our first monthly Speaker session featured two John Howard Societies in BC working to deliver innovative restorative programs and services in the province. We learned about JHS Victoria’s Girl Circle, which addresses the rise of self harm, anxiety and depression experienced by young girls, and about JHS Okanagan and Kootenays Shoplifting Prevention Program.

JHS National Conference: Speaker Series

Last year, we were in the midst of planning the JHS National Conference when COVID-19 hit. This required us to change how we’d bring together JHS staff members from across Canada to learn about the innovative work being carried out by John Howard Societies from coast to coast. We transitioned to a virtual platform, featured weekly presentations, workshops, and webinars (rather than stacking these pieces into a two-day in-person event), and made the initiative free for all JHS staff and volunteers across Canada.

With the conference having seen so much success, we decided to keep the momentum going by hosting the JHS Pacific Monthly Speaker Series – an initiative that as of 2021, is now free to the public.