The Northern Institute of Social Justice (NISJ) opened in January, 2010. The institute is funded by the Yukon Government and was created in response to the need for training and education courses for people delivering social justice-related programs and services.

The NISJ’s role is to broker, coordinate, develop and deliver social justice-related education and training to people employed in social justice-related work; and encourage support for related research, in order to:

  • help employers develop, retain and attract a well-qualified workforce
  • help individuals develop careers
  • provide tools to help support community leadership, capacity development, and transformation of service delivery.

Currently, the institute is focused on providing short, non-credit training courses primarily for frontline workers in governments and non-government organizations. Those who take this training work in such fields as education, enforcement, justice, health, policing, social services, wellness etc. Courses are also provided for members of boards and tribunals, and the general public.

The NISJ provides courses in such areas as administrative justice, FASD, mental health, loss and grief in the workplace, regulatory enforcement, residential school awareness, suicide intervention, trauma, vicarious trauma, Yukon First Nations history and cultures, to name a few.

The NISJ works with course developers and instructors from the college, private, public and non-government sectors. The institute partners with such organizations as the Crisis and Trauma Resource Institute (CTRI), the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Society Yukon (FASSY), Hospice Yukon, and First Nations Initiatives, Yukon College. The institute also works with some Yukon Government departments and the RCMP to meet some of their training needs.

Joanne Lewis is the Executive Director of the NISJ. She attended the University of Victoria and graduated with a BA, majoring in Political Science. Currently on secondment from the Yukon Government, Department of Justice, Joanne has worked for the government in various capacities and was an independent consultant in Whitehorse for many years.