Thursday, December 8th

8:00 am – 8:45 am

Transportation – Yellowknife to Chief Drygeese Government Building and Conference Centre, Community of Dettah, NT
Bus leaves the Old Town Parking Lot (Corner of School Draw Ave. and Franklin Ave) at 8:00am SHARP

9:00 am – 9:30 am

Drummers and Prayer Song, Yellowknives Dene Drummers

Welcome and Introduction
Paul Andrew: Master of Ceremonies

Chief Edward Sangris, Yellowknives Dene First Nation

9:30 am – 9:45 am

Land Acknowledgement: Respecting and Honouring Indigenous Peoples

9:45 am – 10:15 am

Keynote Address: Restorative Justice and Reconciliation

The Honourable Chief Justice Shannon Smallwood, Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories

Justice Smallwood will provide an introduction to the Learning Event and discuss the concepts of restorative justice and reconciliation and will share some thoughts and reflections on the concepts from the perspective of a northern Indigenous Judge.

10:15 am – 10:30 amRefreshment Break – Dragon Toner Law Office
10:30 am – 11:30 pm

My Life as an Indigenous Judge and the Canadian Justice System

The Honourable Judge Alex Wolf, Provincial Court of British Columbia

Judge Wolf will share his thoughts on some of our victories and mistakes, when dealing with Indigenous Peoples in the Canadian criminal justice system.

11:30 am – 12:30 pm

Panel: Social Context and Indigenous Courts

This panel will explore the conference theme, “What can we do differently?” from the perspective of jurists and change-makers who have already made a difference. Panelists will draw on their lived experience to envision the future of courts and dispute resolution systems within Indigenous social contexts.


The Honourable Judge Gerald Morin, Provincial Court of Saskatchewan

The Honourable Judge Gerald Morin is a member of the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation in Saskatchewan. Judge Morin was appointed to the Provincial Court of Saskatchewan on January 24, 2001 and was instrumental in creating and running the of the Cree Circuit Court in Northern Saskatchewan.

The Honourable Judge Ivan Ladouceur, Provincial Court of Alberta

The Honourable Judge Ivan Ladouceur is a member of the Métis Nation of Alberta, fluent in the Cree language. Judge Ladouceur was appointed to the bench after several years in private practice in Northern Alberta and has been involved in Sentencing Circles and the Alberta Courts Restorative Justice Pilot Project.

Gail Cyr, NWT Human Rights Commissioner

Gail Cyr was the first executive director of the NWT Native Court Workers’ Association. She has served as a member Yellowknife City Council and is now a champion of restorative dispute resolution with the Human Rights Commissioner. Ms. Cyr was awarded the Order of Canada in 2021.

ModeratorSheldon Toner, Partner, Dragon Toner Law Office

12:30 pm – 1:00 pmLunch Break – Field Law
1:00 pm – 2:45 pm

Panel: Department of Justice and Restorative Justice

Corrections and Probation

Adrian Barrieau, Assistant Director, Corrections

Corrections will share information on its programming and services available through NWT Correctional facilities and Probation Services with a focus on core criminogenic programs and the planning and support for reintegration.

This presentation will also address changes to corrections programming undertaken in recent years including the emphasis placed on continuity between in custody programming and the transition of individuals to probation services. Further planned changes and current research underway will also be discussed.

Integrated Service Delivery/Yellowknife Demonstration Site

Ben Beaudoin, Manger, Integrated Case Management

This presentation focuses on the scope of the Integrated Case Management (ICM) program and it’s guiding principles, that are embedded in Integrated Service Delivery’s first demonstration site. ICM is a strength-based, person-centered, and voluntary program that assists individuals with numerous and complex needs navigate services here in Yellowknife.

Specialized Courts

The Honourable Chief Judge Robert Gorin, Territorial Court of the Northwest Territories

Rachel Burnet, Case Manager, Specialized Courts

Chief Judge Gorin and Rachel Burnet will provide an outline of the Specialized Courts and their history.  They will also explain recent changes that have been implemented as well as further anticipated changes.

Moderator: Charlene Doolittle, Deputy Minister, Department of Justice, GNWT

2:45 pm – 3:00 pmRefreshment Break
3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Panel: Community Restorative Justice

Community Justice Committees

Maggie O’Neill, Manager, Community Programs, and Jacqueline Beaudoin, Inuvik Justice Coordinator

In this presentation you will learn more about the current NWT CJC programming structure and approach. This is important work that can take different forms depending on the community, program, case, participants, or circumstances.

In the NWT, the Department of Justice works with local Community Justice Committee’s to establish RJ processes to provide opportunities for victims, offenders, and communities affected by a crime to communicate about the causes, circumstances, and impact of that crime, and to address their related needs.

K’atl’odeeche Restorative Justice Program

Chief April Martel and Vivian Lafleur (Victim Services), K’atl’odeeche First Nation

Chief Martel is the representative on behalf of the KFN Council for the KFN’s Restorative Justice Program and holds the portfolio for Justice and Youth. The KFN’s Restorative Justice Program works with everyone in the surrounding communities to utilize the program.

Inuvialuit Regional Corporation Justice Strategy

Kate Oja, Consultant, Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (Appearing by Video)

The IRC is beginning work to develop an Inuvialuit justice strategy and will be gathering input from Inuvialuit on their perceptions of the justice system and experience in it; and what can be done to enhance the process of criminal justice in the longer term.

Native Women’s Association

Grace Blake, President, Native Women’s Association

Ms. Blake will provide input on behalf of the Native Womens’s Association as to its work and concerns in the context of criminal justice and Restorative Justice. She will also provide the perspective of someone living in a small community (Tsiigehtchic) where the Courts do not usually sit.

ModeratorPeter Harte, Criminal Defence Counsel

4:45 pm – 5:30 pmTransportation – Chief Drygeese Government Building and Conference Centre to Yellowknife
Bus stops at Explorer Hotel and Chateau Nova Yellowknife first, then continues to the Old Town Parking Lot (corner of School Draw Ave. and Franklin Ave.)

  Friday, December 9th

8:00 am – 8:45 am

Transportation – Yellowknife to Chief Drygeese Government Building and Conference Centre, Community of Dettah, NT
Bus leaves the Old Town Parking Lot (corner of School Draw Ave. and Franklin Ave.) at 8:00am SHARP

9:00 am – 9:15 am

Opening Remarks

Minister RJ Simpson, Minister of Justice, NWT

This Bench and Bar Learning is an opportunity to bring partners in the NWT justice system together to reflect and learn about the potential of Restorative Justice to serve as a mechanism for reconciliation and justice transformation. The full potential of Restorative Justice in the justice system is not yet fulfilled but by continuing to work together with our partners and committing to change, we will ensure the justice system is transformed so that it repairs harms, addresses the circumstances which contribute to crime, increases access to justice, and makes our communities safer.

9:15 am – 10:00 am

Intimate Partner Violence

The Honourable Justice Len Marchand, British Columbia Court of Appeal (Appearing by Video)

Join Justice Marchand as he explores the twin crises of the disproportionate number of vulnerable Indigenous peoples experiencing Intimate Partner Violence, and the disproportionate incarceration rates of Indigenous peoples, including the Indigenous men who perpetrate some of the Intimate Partner Violence experienced by Indigenous women. He will speak of how our colonial history drives both of these crises, with some focus on the harmful legacy of residential schools, and the importance of treating both complainants and accused with the utmost respect and empathy. Justice Marchand will also provide an example of the difference Indigenous sentencing courts are making in BC.

10:00 am – 10:45 am

Panel: Counselling and Healing

The focus of this panel is to reflect on what can be done differently in our justice system. Members will focus on sharing their perspective using their personal experiences to illustrate barriers and how or if relationships can be improved. Members will also share experiences in remote and isolated communities. These topics will be explored through questions such as:

What has been your experience with the justice system?

What worked?

“What can be done differently”.

“What does it feel like to have a court party fly into a community, dispense justice and then leave?”


Cindy Caisse, Dene Wellness Programmer

Darryl Cook, Counsellor, Tree of Peace 

Wellness Court Graduates

Moderator/Speaker: Paul Andrew, Chairperson, Reconciliation Committee, LSNT

10:45 am – 11:00 amRefreshment Break – Marshall Law
11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Panel: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry


The Honourable Judge Marion Buller (Appearing by Video)

Former Chief Commissioner for the National Inquiry into Missing Indigenous Women and Girls

As the former Chief Commissioner for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, Judge Buller will present on the calls to action concerning Justice.

Minister Caroline Wawzonek, Minister Responsible for the Status of Women in the Northwest Territories

As the Minister Responsible for the Status of Women in the Northwest Territories and a member of the Special Committee on Reconciliation and Indigenous Affairs, Minister Wawzonek will discuss the GNWT’s response to the calls to action concerning Justice

Moderator: The Honourable Chief Justice Shannon Smallwood, Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories

12:00 am – 12:30 pmLunch Break – Lawson Lundell
12:30 pm – 2:15 pm

Panel: Intersection of Canadian Laws and Indigenous Laws


Dr. Hadley Friedland, University of Alberta, Faculty of Law

In recent years, there has been huge progress in the world of academia in recognizing, validating, and accessing Indigenous legal orders. Dr. Friedland works in both academia and practice to further this agenda. She will provide participants with an overview of where academic thinking has moved, as well as some practical examples of how theory has shifted in practice.

Dr. Glen Coulthard, Yellowknives Dene; Dechinta Centre for Research and Learning; University of British Columbia, First Nations and Indigenous Studies Program

In Red Skin White Masks, I suggested Canada, “reconciliation” tends to be invoked in three distinct yet interrelated ways when deployed in the context of Indigenous peoples’ struggles for self-determination. First, “reconciliation” is frequently used to refer to the diversity of individual and/or collective practices that Indigenous people undertake to re-establish a positive “relationto-self” in situations where this relation has been damaged or distorted by some form of symbolic and/or structural violence. Second, “reconciliation” is also commonly referred to as the act of restoring estranged or damaged social and political relationships. Finally, the third notion of “reconciliation” refers to, and here I quote one of the definitions of reconciliation offered in the Oxford English Dictionary, the process by which things are brought to agreement, concord, or harmony; the fact of being made consistent or compatible.” This third form of reconciliation – namely, the act of rendering things consistent – is the one that lies at the core of Canada’s legal and political understanding of term: that is rendering consistent Indigenous assertions of nationhood with the state’s unilateral assertion of sovereignty over Native peoples’ lands and populations. My concern with the discourse of reconciliation as it has been implemented in Canada, is that it attempts to impose this third understanding of reconciliation on the institutional field of Aboriginal rights jurisprudence in a manner that is effectively undermining the realization of reconciliation understood in the previous senses.

Sarah Arngna’naaq, Crown Counsel, Nunavut Regional Office, PPSC

In response to the Nunavut Court of Appeal decision in R v Itturiligaq, the Nunavut Regional Office of Public Procecution Service of Canada is creating a process for ongoing community consultation on Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit, the Inuit social system meant to guide individuals towards living a good life. This consultation will help inform prosecutors in their assessments of files broadly: from the beginning of the file’s life within the office to the end stages of a sentencing hearing.

ModeratorThe Honourable Judge Ivan Ladouceur, Provincial Court of Alberta

2:15 pm – 2:30 pmRefreshment Break
2:30 pm – 4:00 pm

Where to Go from Here: Breakout Activity

ModeratorPeter Harte, Criminal Defence Counsel

4:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Closing Remarks: The Way Forward


Chief Edward Sangris, Yellowknives Dene First Nation

Paul Andrew, Chairperson, Reconciliation Committee, LSNT

The Honourable Chief Justice Shannon Smallwood, Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories

The Honourable Chief Judge Robert Gorin, Territorial Court of the Northwest Territories

Jessi Casebeer, President, Canadian Bar Association – Northwest Territories Branch

4:45 pm – 5:30 pmTransportation –Chief Drygeese Government Building and Conference Centre to Yellowknife
Bus stops at Explorer Hotel and Chateau Nova Yellowknife first, then continues to the Old Town Parking Lot (corner of School Draw Ave. and Franklin Ave.)
7:00 pm – 10:00 pmEvening Social: The Fishy People Butchery, 3505 McDonald Dr, Yellowknife
Light canapes and a cash bar will be available.


Saturday, December 10th

10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Arctic Indigenous Wellness Foundation – Healing Camp Visit

Location: Urban Land Based Healing Site, Yellowknife Fieldhouse Parking Lot, along the edge of the parking lot at the back. 

Reconciliation in Indigenous Wellness and Healing


Besha Blondin, Elder and Traditional Healer

Rassi Nashalik, Elder and Traditional Healer

Moderator/Speaker: Magnolia Unka-Wool, Chair, Arctic Indigenous Wellness Foundation 

12:00 pmClosing Prayer
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