2019 Winter - CML3374JA - Justice Heidi Levenson Polowin Course in Child Protection (Class Number: 4386)

Professor(s): Julie I. Guindon
Language: English
Units: 3
Level: Upper year

Class Schedule

2019 Winter
(January 07 - January 24)
LECMon,tue,thu,fri 16:00 - 18:50BRS314
2019 Winter
(January 07 - January 24)
LECWed 16:00 - 18:50FTX136
Professor Julie Guindon

In memory of Justice Heidi Levenson Polowin

The child protection law course was developed, and is offered in memory of Justice Heidi Levenson Polowin. Justice Levenson Polowin received her LLB from the University of Ottawa in 1977, and was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1979. She was appointed to the Superior Court of Justice in 2000. Prior to her appointment, Heidi was a partner at the law firm of Ogilvy, Renault in Ottawa, where her practice focused on employment and labour law. In 1995, she left private practice, taking on the role of director of legal services at the Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa.

Although Justice Polowin sat as a judge of general jurisdiction, the child protection work of the court became her mission and her labour of love. Her leadership in this field was founded on a belief in the importance of the work and the children affected by it. Justice Levenson Polowin fostered a multi-systemic approach to the provision of judicial services, involving Courts Administration, the bench, the bar, Legal Aid, the Children’s Aid Society, the native community and mediators specialized in child protection.


To provide an opportunity for students to examine in some detail the child protection legislation and law in Ontario. The course will include theoretical and practical content. The purposes and objectives of child protection law will be examined. The course will also include an examination of how the child protection legislation balances the rights and responsibilities of the State and of the parents of children found to be in need of protection. The topics covered include the history and development of child protection services, the purposes of child protection legislation, defining child abuse and children in need of protection, the tools used to assess child abuse and risk, child protection justice system, the various stages in bringing a child protection matter to court, the power of the court in child protection matters, judicial case management of child protection cases, tools available to a court in making decisions in child protection matters, such as assessments, mediation in child protection matters, appeals of child protection matters and alternatives to the existing child protection regime.

Teaching Method:


Additional information on the teaching method delivered in this class:

-Lectures, class discussions, student presentations and selected guest lectures
-Visits to the Ottawa court house to shadow a judge and observe child protection matters before the court will also be arranged for the students taking this course.
-There will also be a component on child Welfare and the aboriginal communities

Method of Evaluation


Other Type of Evaluation:

25% class and court participation
25% class presentation on the court experience
50% final exam – 2 hours open book


Final Exams:

Exam type: On-campus open book

Exam duration: 2 hours

Computerized exam: Yes