Rayjon is thrilled to congratulate Justice Deborah Austin on being a recipient of the Sarnia Community Foundation’s 2018 Women of Excellence award.
Debbie is a long-time member of Rayjon and an active volunteer. She currently sits on our Board of Directors, acts of Projects Director, and regularly visits Haiti as part of a project monitoring team.
In our local community Debbie has more than two decades of experience as a judge on the Ontario Court of Justice. She is a respected leader and is actively teaching others involved in the legal system how they might contribute to positive change. In her courtroom special circumstances of Indigenous people are considered and she makes every effort to ensure that Indigenous traditions are not only respected but also integrated into the legal process, incorporating principles of restorative justice. Justice Austin played a role in supporting the establishment the “Gladue Court” in Sarnia and Indigenous Court on Walpole Island. Changes in format and the Indigenous Court have led to an increase in approval ratings for the restorative justice system on Walpole Island First Nation from 52 percent to 90 percent in the first three years. Her role in advocating for change in the treatment of indigenous offenders helps ensure that local at-risk Indigenous youth have access to resources and support that will promote rehabilitation and healing.
Debbie, thank you for sharing your passion for social justice. We are so grateful for all your hard work to address injustice in our own community, in Haiti, and in the world at large. We are honoured to work with you.