Staff and Board of Directors


Melanie Younger

Executive Director

Melanie’s heart for justice that heals, aligned her with CCJC’s mission and continues to inform her approach to CCJC’s projects, including her co-authorship of CCJC’s new curriculum for The Empathy Project...
Melanie’s first career was in yoga and alternative medicine, but in recent years Melanie’s work has shifted focus towards healing on a larger scale through adding her voice and elbow grease to movements aiming to repair systemic injustices and to try to mitigate climate change. Through her work with CCJC, Melanie continues a family legacy of compassionate approaches to justice and corrections, following in the footsteps of her late Grandparents Alan and Catherine Younger who created and stewarded a 40 year Prison Ministry at Joyceville Institution. Melanie continues to draw on her years of compassion-based and mindfulness skills cultivated through her decade-long tenure as a yoga teacher as well as her training in non-violent communication. To learn new skills to add to her arsenal to try to make positive change, she is currently a law and environmental science student. In addition to her work with CCJC Melanie functions in a consulting role as the Director of Project Advancement with an environmental organization called For The Wild, which is based in Northern California and is focused on supporting biodiversity, reforestation, education and research. Melanie also works as a legislative lobbyist specializing in environmental and animal rights in partnership with Florida-based NGO, Lobby For Animals. In 2017 Melanie received distinction as an International Scholar Laureate in International Relations and Diplomacy. In 2018 Melanie will complete her honours thesis focusing on international trade policies and their impacts on global human rights and environmental law and she will begin graduate studies through Harvard University’s extension program in environmental policy and international development.
Phone: 613-563-1688 ex 1
Coming soon…

Board of Directors – 2018/2019

Rebecca Bromwich

President of CCJC – Presbyterian Church in Canada

Rebecca Bromwich is a lawyer and legal academic, as well as an ordained ruling elder of the Presbyterian Church in Canada (PCC). She serves as the PCC representative on the CCJC Board, and served for several years as CCJC's Treasurer before being elected its President in 2017.
She is a faculty member with Carleton University’s Department of Law and Legal Studies, and has been a practicing lawyer since 2003, serving now as an Assistant Crown Attorney for Ontario’s Ministry of the Attorney General. Rebecca received her Ph.D. in 2015 from the Carleton University Department of Law and Legal Studies, and was the first ever graduate of that program. She was awarded a Carleton Senate Medal as well as the 2015 CLSA Graduate Student Essay Prize for her graduate work. Rebecca also has an LL.M. and LL.B., received from Queen’s University in 2002 and 2001 respectively, and holds a Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies from the University of Cincinnati. In addition to her several years teaching at Carleton University, she previously taught at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law, Rebecca has taught at the University of Western Ontario’s Faculty of Law, and at the University of Cincinnati. She is a columnist for the Lawyers Weekly and has authored and co-authored several mongraphs, anthologies and legal textbooks for students and legal system practitioners, including lawyers, paralegals and police. She lives in Ottawa with her husband, four children, and two dogs.

Randy Klassen

Vice-President of CCJC – Mennonite Central Committee

Randy Klassen currently serves as the national coordinator for the Restorative Justice network of Mennonite Central Committee throughout Canada. Prior to that, he has worked as both a college instructor and church pastor.
Saskatoon has been home for fifteen years, but only recently has he become aware of the two prisons (federal and provincial) that are each within a few kilometres of his neighbourhood, and of the many social issues that they represent. He is grateful for the many organizations and volunteers who work to bring hope to the incarcerated, and healing to victims, across this wide country. Randy hopes that by the time his grandchildren are adults, when people speak of—or demand—justice, they will always include the word “restorative.”

Steve Hoffard

Treasurer – Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

Rev. Steve Hoffard serves on the CCJC Board of Directors representing the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC).
He is pastor of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Kingston, ON where he is personally involved in prison visitation.  St. Mark’s congregation also holds monthly worship services at Joyceville Minimum Institution and welcomes inmates with weekly escorted temporary absences to attend worship and participate in the life of the congregation.  It is his personal and parish ministry that has fostered in Steve an interest in corrections and restorative justice practices.

John DeVries

Director – Christian Reformed Church in North America

CCJC first introduced me to Restorative Justice which has become a life passion. CCJC facilitated training materials and communication between faith communities and government.
While staying healthy, I have served Christian Reformed (CRC) churches in Regina, Sask., and Hamilton, Ont. As chaplain I served in the Federal Penitentiary (Montreal) and provincially (Guelph) as well as in psychiatric facilities. I served as Ont. Regional Coordinator of Chaplaincy in SW Ont., (English) and NE Ont. (French)for twelve years. I continue to serve on CRC Chaplaincy Ministries Advisory Committee. I am the husband of Elly (50yrs) and father of three married sons. Since retiring eight years ago at 65 yrs old, I have had the freedom to pursue my passions -that now means serving nationally on CCJC, plus the CSC Federal Interfaith Committees, provincially that means monthly Dismas meetings with ex-inmates, and in London I serve on the Mission Services board -ministries with the homeless, hungry and hurting. In my local church, I co-facilitate monthly seniors fellowship activities.
I have a history as Restorative Justice trainer and advocate. Now I still volunteer while traveling more and more family time.

Having finished my 20th Boston Marathon last April and my 50th overall marathon last October, I start every day with a 8-10 km. run..

Shalom, John de Vries Jr., London

Stuart Lyster

Director – United Church of Canada

Stuart Lyster is a retired United Church clergy living in White Rock, BC. In the pastorate Stuart has worked with prison visitations, including with First Nations inmates.
In the 1990s he was a volunteer with Crown Counsel’s Victims Services at the Surrey (BC) courthouse. In 2011 and 2012 he made two visits to political prisoners in jail in The Philippines, and as such is the co-founder of the United Church Foundation’s Legal Defense Fund Philippines for bail bond, lawyers fees and family travel for inmates identified as political prisoners. Recently he has become attached to the chaplaincy at the Fraser Valley Institution for Women near Abbotsford, BC, and has conducted a wedding there. He has spoken about Restorative Justice at many Vancouver area churches.

Verena Tan

Director – Canadian Friends Service Committee

Verena Tan is the coordinator of the criminal justice program at the Canadian Friends Service Committee in Toronto, ON.
Originally from New Zealand, Verena has worked in the community and pro bono legal services in Australia, United States and now Canada. Prior to moving to Canada, Verena has worked in remote indigenous communities, for prisoners on death row and most recently, as a criminal and civil legal aid lawyer, working specifically with people with disabilities and mental health issues. Specializing in therapeutic and restorative justice courts, Verena is a passionate advocate of restorative and a focus on healing within the criminal justice system.

Pamela Dillon

Director – The Anglican Church of Canada

Over the past 16 years, Pam has been a presence at the Monday night chapel programme in the Cowansville Prison.
Her volunteer work has supported educational opportunities and literacy initiatives in her community, especially for prison inmates. Pam lives in the Eastern Townships of Quebec.

Dennis Whitford

Director – Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops

Dennis Whitford is the owner/operator of 2Thunder Consulting ( since retiring in June 2015
from the Government of Alberta, Child and Family Services, where he worked for 27 years as a caseworker, supervisor, Aboriginal policy specialist, and senior manager. He completed his Bachelor of Social Work, and Master of Social Work degrees, both at the University of Calgary, and is a registered Social Worker with the Alberta College of Social Workers. Dennis is an accomplished researcher, conference speaker, facilitator, community development worker, and community organizer. He is most proud of reconnecting with his Indigenous heritage over the past thirty years through traditional dancing and experiencing and living the teachings of Indigenous Elders and ceremonialists. Dennis feels he owes success he has experienced to his wife Jean, and the many people and organizations he has worked and collaborated with during his career, and to a loving and benevolent Creator.

Yves Racicot

Director – Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops

Retired from finance in 2012, Yves is currently the Director of : Régime de retraite des prêtres du diocèse de Montréal,
Fondation du Grand Séminaire de Montréal, Fondation de la Vidéo Religieuse, Comité de placements du Diocèse de Montréal, Institut Jeanne-Mance, Fond d’entraide de l’Archevêque pour les paroisses du Diocèse de Montréal and Director of the spiritual exercises of Saint-Ignatius and philosophy for students at the Grand Seminary of Montreal.
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