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JIBC International Women’s Day event to be held virtually March 8

The Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) will be marking International Women’s Day (IWD) virtually this year on Monday, March 8 from 9 to 11:30 a.m. (Pacific Time) with its fourth annual event celebrating women’s achievements in social justice and public safety.

This year’s IWD theme is Choose to Challenge (#ChooseToChallenge), recognizing that a challenged world is an alert world and from challenge comes change. International Women’s Day on March 8 is a global day celebrating the achievements of women. It also marks a call to action for raising awareness of bias and accelerating gender equality, which is not only a fundamental right but is also critical to a healthy, thriving society.

“This is our fourth annual event and it really has become a day of celebration and inspiration – celebrating the achievements of women in first responder and social justice roles as well as inspiring others by their calls to action,” said Melanie Chernoff, Youth Justice Program Manager in JIBC’s Corrections & Court Services Division and co-chair of the IWD event.

This year’s keynote speaker is the Honourable Judge Marion Buller, a member of the Mistawasis First Nation, who in 1994 was the first female Indigenous judge appointed in British Columbia. Prior to serving on the Provincial Court bench, Judge Buller worked as a civil and criminal lawyer. In 2016, after retiring as a judge, she was appointed as chief commissioner for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

Judge Buller will speak on the special opportunity the COVID-19 pandemic has created to help us see the inequalities and inequities present in our society, particularly regarding the well-being of women, and how we can move forward to effect positive change.

In addition to fun and inspiring activities, the morning will include presentations by:

  • Natasha Tabatabaei, an Iranian-Canadian student in the Law Enforcement Studies program at JIBC, whose passion for law enforcement stems from an interest in the relationship between the justice system and minorities in Canada. She has led programs with children and youth and taught workshops on leadership skills and gender inclusive language. A kickboxing trainer at a women's only gym, she takes pride in empowering women to stay fit and healthy.
  • Karen Fry is Fire Chief and General Manager of Vancouver Fire Rescue Services, the first woman to hold the position. She was appointed to her current post in January 2021 and is responsible for the operations of 20 fire halls employing more than 800 firefighters and administrative staff, as well as Canada Task Force 1, the heavy urban search and rescue team. She began her career in the fire service as a dispatcher in Nanaimo in 1999, served as a Deputy Fire Chief in Surrey from 2006 to 2016, then returned to Nanaimo to serve as its Deputy Chief and then as Fire Chief from 2017-2020, as well as a two-year stint as that city’s Director of Public Safety. She is the 1st Vice-President of the B.C. Fire Chiefs Association.

To empower JIBC students supporting equality and inclusion, this year’s event invites supporters to help establish the Choose to Challenge Award. Gifts of all sizes towards the award made by March 11, 2021 will be matched by The JIBC Foundation up to $2,500.

The IWD JIBC event is free and open to JIBC students, staff and community partners. For more information and to join the virtual event, on Monday, March 8 from 9 to 11:30 a.m. (Pacific Time), visit JIBC International Women's Day Event.


Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) is Canada’s leading public safety educator with a mission to develop dynamic justice and public safety professionals through its exceptional applied education, training and research. JIBC offers internationally recognized education that leads to certificates, diplomas, bachelor’s degrees and graduate certificates; exceptional continuing education for work and career-related learning and development; and customized contract training to government agencies and private organizations worldwide. Our education provides professionals with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to excel at every stage of their career contributing to safer communities and a more just society.