Speaker Biographies

Keynote Speakers  |  Panel Speakers

Keynote Speakers
Nicholas Bala

Nicholas Bala, Professor, Queen’s University Faculty of Law

Nicholas Bala has been a Professor at the Faculty of Law at Queen's University since 1980 and is one of Canada’s leading experts on Family and Children’s Law. His research and teaching deal with such issues as juvenile justice and youth offending; child welfare law, child witnesses in the criminal justice system; children’s involvement in the family justice system; family violence; parental rights and responsibilities after divorce; and the legal definition of the family. He has published extensively, and his work is often cited by the courts, including the Supreme Court of Canada.

He recently co-authored a book that includes extensive discussion of the amendments to the YCJA:  Bala & Anand, Youth Criminal Justice Law 3rd edit (Irwin Law, 2012). His work on youth justice has been cited by all levels of court in Canada, including the Supreme Court and the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal.

He continues to research on teaching on issues related to youth justice, with on-going projects on “crossover youth,” adolescents in the child welfare system who are charged with criminal offences and dealt with in youth court, and on youth bail.

Professor Bala has been a consultant on youth justice as well as other child and family law issues to the federal government, as well as to the Saskatchewan Federation of Indian Nations, and to the governments of Ontario and the Yukon. He has appeared on a number of occasions as a witness before Parliamentary Committees dealing with youth justice reform and other issues related to family and children’s law, most recently in February 2014 on issues related to discrimination in the youth justice system. In February 2006 he was an expert witness at the Nova Scotia inquiry into the youth justice system (the Nunn Commission).

Bob Pringle

Bob Pringle, Provincial Children's Advocate, Saskatchewan Advocate for Children and Youth

Bob Pringle was appointed as Saskatchewan’s third Children’s Advocate on November 17, 2010. The Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly confirmed Mr. Pringle’s appointment in November of 2010, with the effective commencement date being January 1, 2011. On September 1, 2012, new legislation, The Advocate for Children and Youth Act, came into effect in our province. Correspondingly, the title of the Children's Advocate is now known as the Saskatchewan Advocate for Children and Youth.

Over the past 38 years, he has been extensively involved with delivering services to the public. He has worked with First Nations and Métis peoples, as a Social Worker, Manager and Minister of Social Services, and has been involved with leadership roles with community agencies such as Habitat for Humanity, the Saskatoon Food Bank, Cosmopolitan Industries, the Saskatchewan Association of Community Living, and the Saskatoon Housing Coalition.

Through his broad experience and as a Member of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan for 10 years (1988-98), Mr. Pringle has developed an understanding of how the complex cycles of poverty, mental illness, cognitive impairment, physical challenges, homelessness, and substance abuse can affect families. As Minister of Social Services (1993-96), he coordinated the Saskatchewan Action Plan for Children.

In 2009, his expertise was recognized through his appointment to serve as the Chair of the independent Child Welfare Review panel tasked with the comprehensive review of child welfare in Saskatchewan. Other contributions include serving as the Co-Chair and Facilitator of the Premier’s CBO Summits, and Co-chair of the province’s Task Force on Housing Affordability.

He has served on many community boards and committees, including the Saskatchewan and Canadian Association of Social Workers, the Canadian Association of Food Banks, and the Saskatoon Advisory Committee on Homelessness.  He is also a past President of the Saskatchewan Association of Social Workers.

Mr. Pringle has received many local, provincial and national awards for his advocacy work on behalf of children and families. In 2005, he was the recipient of a Saskatchewan Order of Merit and the Centennial Medal, and in  2009 received a special award for being a key contributor to the visioning and implementation of the City of Saskatoon’s unique affordable housing strategy. In May 2012, he was made an honourary member of the Sturgeon Lake Band. Most recently, he served as a Saskatoon City Councilor, as well as a Human Services Consultant.

Judge David Arnot

Judge David Arnot, Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission

Judge Arnot received his Bachelor of Law degree in 1975 from the University of Saskatchewan and was called to the Bar in 1976 after articling with Mr. R. Dennis Maher, Q.C. in North Battleford. After practicing law as a Crown Prosecutor between 1976 and 1978, he was appointed Senior Crown Prosecutor for the Battlefords Judicial Centre. In 1981, he was appointed a Judge of the Provincial Court of Saskatchewan, sitting at North Battleford.

In 1994, Judge Arnot accepted a secondment to the federal Department of Justice as Director General of the Aboriginal Justice Directorate. He was promoted to the position of Special Advisor to the Deputy Minister of Justice and Deputy Attorney General of Canada in May 1996.

Judge Arnot was appointed by the federal government as Treaty Commissioner for the Province of Saskatchewan for a five-year term in 1997. His term was extended twice, once in 2002 and again in 2005. He returned to the Provincial Court of Saskatchewan sitting in Saskatoon in April 2007. The Canadian Bar Association Saskatchewan Branch honoured him that year with the “Distinguished Service Award.”

On January 15, 2009, Judge Arnot was appointed the Chief Commissioner with the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission, for a five-year term.

Panel Speakers
Sanjev Anand

Sanjeev Anand, Dean, University of Saskatchewan College of Law

Sanjeev Anand, QC, became Dean of the College of Law at the University of Saskatchewan on July 1, 2011. Prior to that, he was a professor at the Faculty of Law at the University of Alberta. Dr. Anand teaches and researches in five fields: substantive criminal law, criminal procedure, sentencing, evidence, and constitutional law. He has authored over thirty articles in such scholarly journals as the Queen's Law Journal, the Dalhousie Law Journal, the Alberta Law Review, the Saskatchewan Law Review, the Canadian Bar Review, the Canadian Criminal Law Review, the National Journal of Constitutional Law, and the Criminal Law Quarterly.

Dr. Anand is the co-author (with Eric Colvin) of Principles of Criminal Law, 3d ed. (2007), a treatise that critically explores the general principles underlying the law of criminal culpability in Canada and he is the co-author (with Nicholas Bala) of Youth Criminal Justice Law, 3d ed. (2012), a book that analyzes jurisprudential developments concerning the Youth Criminal Justice Act. His work has been cited by courts across the nation, including the Supreme Court of Canada.

He has done considerable consulting on law reform issues in the criminal law field with the federal government and he is a frequent media commentator on criminal and constitutional law issues. In 2005, Professor Anand was appointed Independent Chairperson presiding over serious disciplinary offence hearings under the federal Corrections and Conditional Release Act in relation to inmates at the Edmonton Institution maximum security penitentiary. In 2012, Dean Anand was appointed to a five-year term as the Senior Independent Chairperson in the Prairie Region. Prior to entering the academy in 1999, Dr. Anand was Appellate Counsel in the Criminal Appeals Division of the Alberta Department of Justice. Before that he was a Crown Prosecutor in Edmonton. Professor Anand began his career as a Legal Aid staff lawyer whose practice primarily dealt with the defense of young offenders.

Dan Florizone

Dan Florizone, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Education, Government of Saskatchewan 

Dan Florizone was appointed Deputy Minister of Education and Deputy Minister Responsible for the Lean Initiative effective July 1, 2013.  He holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Regina and a Bachelor of Commerce degree (with Honours in Health Care Administration) from the University of Saskatchewan.  Mr. Florizone is dedicated to Student First and the pursuit of excellence in education and public service (through Lean).

Dan previously held the position of Deputy Minister of Health from August 1, 2008 to June 30, 2013.

Dan has participated in many national and international initiatives, committees and projects.  He served as the Chairperson of the Saskatchewan Health Quality Council, served as a Board Member on the Canadian Patient Safety Institute and the Mental Health Commission of Canada.  He is also a Policy Fellow with the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy.

Dan has extensive experience across the province having held senior positions in the health sector in the province of Saskatchewan.  He previously served as the CEO of the Five Hills Health Region.  He held the position of Assistant Deputy Minister in Saskatchewan Health, was CEO for Moose Jaw-Thunder Creek Health District, as well as the South-East Health District.

Dan received the IPAC – SK Lieutenant Governor’s Gold Medal Award in 2008 and the Excellence through Evidence Award from the Canadian Health Research Foundation in 2011. 

Judge Ross Green

Ross Green, a Judge of the Provincial Court of Saskatchewan

Judge Ross Green of the Provincial Court of Saskatchewan was admitted to the Law Society in 1986.  He was in private practice for two years in Saskatoon, and then practised with Legal Aid in Prince Albert and Melfort until his appointment in March 2004.  In 1995 he received an LLM degree in criminal law from the University of Manitoba, and in 2001 was appointed Queen’s Counsel.  In addition to having lectured in criminal law at the Law Society Bar Course for many years before his appointment, he is the author of Justice in Aboriginal Communities: Sentencing Alternatives and the co-author of Tough on Kids: Rethinking Approaches to Youth Justice, both published by Purich Publishing.  He is the co-editor of the Canadian Association of Provincial Court Judges’ Judges’ Journal.  He as well serves as the Provincial Court representative to the Judges Counselling Program.  As a lawyer, and then judge, he has dealt with a broad range of youth justice and child protection issues in the court system.  He lives with his family in Yorkton.

Cheryl Milne

Cheryl Milne, Director, Asper Centre for Constitutional Rights

Cheryl Milne was called to the Ontario Bar in 1987 and completed her M.S.W. at the University of Toronto in 1991.  From 1991 to  2008, she practised law at Justice for Children and Youth.  In this capacity, Cheryl appeared at all levels of court including the Supreme Court of Canada, as well as various administrative tribunals and the clinic itself in interventions and applications.  Cheryl has been involved in many significant Charter cases involving the rights of young people under the age of 18.  She was counsel for the clinic in its constitutional challenge to section 43 of the Criminal Code (the "corporal punishment case"), and in the D.B. case involving the constitutionality of the adult sentencing provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act. As the Executive Director of the Asper Centre, Cheryl has led the Centre’s interventions at the Supreme Court, acting as counsel in R. v. Conway, Alberta v. Caron, as well as the Polygamy Reference case at the British Columbia Supreme Court, among others.

Nazeem Muharharine

Nazeem Muhajarine, Professor of Community Health and Epidemiology, University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine; Director, Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation Research Unit

Dr. Muhajarine is a social epidemiologist and SPHERU Director, and leads SPHERU's Healthy Children research program. His work includes researching questions related to community and family contextual influences in child development and health, risk in the prenatal period, and developing community-university research partnerships to improve knowledge creation, transfer and application. His current research includes evaluations of population-level early childhood intervention programs. He particularly cherishes the mentoring role and works closely with junior colleagues and graduate students. He is the recipient of several awards of distinction, including his province's 2009 Health Research Achievement Award and the CIHR Knowledge Translation Award. He is a professor and head of the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, University of Saskatchewan.

Corey Neudorf

Cory Neudorf, Chief Medical Health Officer, Saskatoon Health Region

Dr. Neudorf has been working as a Medical Health Officer in Saskatoon since 1994. He started as a faculty member at the University of Saskatchewan, working as Associate Director of Northern Medical Services, and then became Deputy Medical Health Officer in the area of communicable disease control and population health for the Saskatoon District in 1996. He has been a member of the senior leadership team (SLT) since 2000, and has had various roles in addition to his main responsibility as the Chief Medical Health Officer, including oversight of the Strategic Health Information and Planning Services, Information Technology, and Research Departments for the Saskatoon Health Region.  As Chief Medical Health Officer, he provides medical leadership to Public Health Services, and reports on matters of public health to SLT and the Saskatoon Regional Health Authority.

He received his medical degree from the University of Saskatchewan, a Master’s of Health Science degree in Community Health and Epidemiology from the University of Toronto, and is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada with Certification in the specialty of Community Medicine.  He is the past president of the National Specialty Society for Community Medicine, Chair-elect of the Canadian Public Health Association, and Chair of the Canadian Population Health Initiative Council. Dr. Neudorf is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology at the University of Saskatchewan, College of Medicine. 

His research interests include health inequalities, health status indicators and surveys, health status monitoring and reporting, and integrating population health data and geographic information systems into public health and health planning.

Cassandra Opikokew

Cassandra Opikokew-Wajuntah, JSGS PhD candidate and Associate Director, Indigenous Peoples' Health Research Centre

Cassandra is from Canoe Lake Cree First Nation and was raised in Meadow Lake in Northern Saskatchewan. She graduated at the top of her class in 2009 with her Certificate in Indian Communication Arts and a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Regina. In 2012, she completed her Master’s of Public Administration from the U of R Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy where she is now a PhD candidate. In May 2013, Cassandra was awarded a doctoral research award by the Canadian Institute of Health Research, totaling $108,000 over three years, to further her work on Indigenous health and education policy (read more...).

In addition to her studies, Cassandra is also the Associate Director of the Indigenous Peoples' Health Research Centre. In this role, she assists with knowledge translation, policy development and the strategic initiatives of the centre. 

 Garry Prediger

Garry Prediger is the (acting) Executive Director of Child and Family Services, Service Delivery, Ministry of Social Services. He is responsibilities include the off-reserve child welfare services throughout the Province of Saskatchewan.

Patricia Prowse


Patricia Prowse, Student First Advisor, Ministry of Education, Government of Saskatchewan

Patricia Prowse has taken a leave of absence from her position as Superintendent of Education with the Saskatoon Public School Division, where she was responsible for the division’s strategic work on First Nations, Inuit and Métis Education and Safe, Caring and Accepting schools. Ms. Prowse is a passionate and values‐driven leader who never wavers from her focus on seeing every student succeed. In advocating for improved educational achievements for First Nations, Inuit and Metis students, she has implemented culturally responsive supports and nurtured effective partnerships. Ms. Prowse championed the use of a violence threat risk assessment model in Saskatoon that has been embraced by multiple community partners and recognized as an exemplar for other educational institutions nationally and internationally. Her belief in authentic relationships, interagency partnerships and equitable learning opportunities for all inspires learning and has strengthened our community’s support for children.

She has a B.A. (Psy), B.Ed. and a M.Ed. (Admin) from the University of Saskatchewan. Ms Prowse has received the Saskatchewan School Based Administrators’ Award for the Distinguished Administrator of the Year in 2003 and the Canadian Association of Principals’ Distinguished Principal of the Year Award in 2004. In 2013 she received the YWCA Women of Distinction Leadership and Management Award and the Saskatoon Fire and Protective Services’ Shield award for community service. Ms Prowse has 33 years of experience as a teacher, school‐based and central office administrator.

Brian Rector

Dr. Brian Rector, Executive Director, Research and Evidence-based Excellence, Corrections and Policing, Ministry of Justice

Dr. Rector began employment with the Government of Saskatchewan in 1981 and over the past 31 years has functioned as director of psychology and treatment in a number of fields including developmental disabilities, child welfare, young offenders, and adult corrections. 

Dr. Rector is currently Executive Director of Research and Evidence-Based Excellence in the Ministry of Justice; Corrections and Policing.  Dr. Rector is also an Adjunct Professor with the University of Saskatchewan.  Current initiatives involve the implementation and evaluation of multi-agency crime reduction strategies, evaluation of community-based secondary prevention programs, and development of community programs for offenders with serious chronic mental illness.  Dr. Rector provides provincial direction as it pertains to effective case management, program development, and therapeutic services in custody and community operations for Adult Corrections and Young Offender Programs. The position works closely with municipal police and the RCMP.

In the context of a MOU established in 2009 between the Saskatchewan Ministry of Justice and U.S. Probation and Pre-trial Services- District of North Dakota, and under the overall direction of the Chief Judge, Dr. Rector has been working closely with the Chief Probation Officer in the implementation of evidence-based practices that reduce offending.

Chief Delbert Wapass

Delbert Wapass, Chief, Thunderchild First Nations

A fluent speaker of the Cree language, Chief Delbert Wapass  is from Thunderchild First Nation. Chief Wapass holds a Bachelor Degree in Native Studies from the University of Regina, and a Master of Education (M.Ed) from the University of Saskatchewan. He has previously served with the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations as both the Second and Third Vice Chief, with portfolio experience in economic development, education and health. A very traditional and cultural person, Chief Wapass was raised by his grandparents on the Thunderchild First Nation.

Ailsa Watkinson

Ailsa Watkinson, Professor, University of Regina Faculty of Social Work

Ailsa M. Watkinson received her Ph.D. in educational administration from the University of Saskatchewan in 1992. Her research was on the Courts' interpretation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the possible consequences of their interpretation on social policy and the decision-making role of administrators.

In 1995, Ailsa Watkinson began the legal process of challenging the use of corporal punishment on children.  She argued that section 43 of the Criminal Code, which allows for the use of force to correct a child's behavior, discriminates against children on the basis of their age, violates their right to security and is cruel and unusual punishment and thus was a violation of their rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  The case was eventually heard by the Supreme Court of Canada in June 2003.  They issued their decision on January 30, 2004 ruling in a 6-3 split decision that s. 43 does not violate the Charter rights of children (See Canadian Foundation for Children, Youth and the Law v. Canada) (2004) 1 S.C.R. 76 available at http://csc.lexum.org/en/index.html.