The Founder

Shawna Paris Hoyte, QC, MSW, RSW

Shawna Paris- Hoyte QC, PhD (stdt), JD, BSW, MSW, RSW


Shawna Paris Hoyte is a highly regarded and sought-after interdisciplinary and inter-professional practitioner in clinical and forensic Social work where her focus is on mental health and addictions, and her clinical specialty is depression care, anxiety and trauma. She is also a well known and reputable family law, criminal law and human rights social justice advocate and lawyer. As an educator, she teaches clinical law practice, cross-cultural studies, law and social work, social work and diversity in Canada and human development and environments at several universities in Canada. As a current PhD student, her doctoral research and studies in social work focus on the trans-generational transmission of trauma and the impact on the biopsychosocial development of African Canadians and Indigenous African Canadians.

Shawna has experience in cultural competency consulting worked for many NGO’s, government and grassroots and community-based organizations assisting in program development and implementation for marginalized populations.

Her Clinical and Forensic Practice Framework is anti-oppressive, feminist, culturally competent interventions that are trauma informed, client and solution focused and employing a critical thinking and race lens. 

Program Development:  Cultural Competency Education and Program Development, Race and Culture Equity- Policy Development, Human Development and Environments, Corrections Programming, Court Reports and Assessments - Race and Culture Impact Assessment, Parental Capacity and Access Reports in Family Law, Criminal Law and Child Protection Cases.

Clinical Therapy-Psychotherapist


Specialities: * Trauma * Anxiety * Depression 

Issues:  crisis intervention, school and social anxiety, life transitions, suicidal ideation, coping, relationship, couples counselling, parent & child conflict, domestic violence and abuse, grief, self-esteem.

Mental Health: mood disorders, personality disorders.

Treatment Approach: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness-based (MBCT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Solution-focused Therapy (SFT), Relational therapy, Trauma-focused.

Assessments: Consultation on Race and Culture reports, parental capacity, access reports and child wishes statements. 

Modality: in person - individuals and group.

Lawyer/Barrister & Solicitor/Mediator


*Twenty-two years practise in Family Law, Child Protection Law, Criminal Law, Youth Justice Law and Human Rights. 

*Appear at all levels of court and tribunals including the Supreme Court of Canada ( R. v. L.T.H. SCC, 2008). 

*Trial Consultant: specific to issues of race and culture, trial prep, relevant assessments and reports. 

*Assessments: cultural competency consulting on Impact of Race and Culture reports, parental capacity assessments, access reports and child wishes statements. 

*Clinical Instructor – third-year law students in the above-noted areas of practice. 

*Adjudicator/Chair –Residential Tenancies Board, Assessment Appeal Court, Involuntary Psychiatric Treatment Act Board.

*Mediator/ Conflict Resolution – Child welfare cases, family matters, community relations, workplace conflict, parent-child conflict. 

Consultant - Program Development and Implementation


*Correctional Services program development for staff and inmates.

*Community Reintegration Programming.

*Trial Consultation specific to race and culture cases.

*Consultation with lawyers and social workers on family and criminal court reports and assessments specific to race and culture. 

*Forensic Social Work consultation. 

*Policy Development. 


Social Work Educator


Dalhousie University and University of Calgary – Schools of Social Work 


*Cross-Cultural Perspectives

*Law and Social Work 

*Diversity in Canada 

*Human Development and Environments

*Clinical Law - DLAS


PhD Research Studies- Memorial University


Current research and studies in social work focus on the transgenerational transmission of trauma and the impact on the biopsychosocial development of African Canadians and Indigenous peoples.



For additional information-  see Shawna’s curriculum vitae


Curriculum Vitae


S. Paris Hoyte QC, PhD (stdt), BA, BSW, JD, MSW, RSW


Educator/Curriculum Development – twenty years as a university instructor in the Dalhousie Faculty of Law -Pre-law and Clinical Law Program. Over twelve years in the Faculty of Health Professions – Dalhousie School of Social Work. 

Lawyer – twenty years in practice as a Barrister & Solicitor at Dalhousie Legal Aid Service, Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University.

Social Worker – fourteen years as a licensed registered private practise social worker with NSASW with a speciality in children and families and mental health and addictions. Training in various evidence-based therapeutic practices. Certificate in Forensic Social Work. 

Management/Supervision/Administration – over twenty years in private sector and university sector combined. 

Program Development & Implementation- race, culture and equity education program development for courts, government, Ngo’s, and community organizations. 

Summary: Extensive work with individuals, community groups and organizations as a lawyer, adviser, licensed private practice social worker, mediator, educator, trainer, consultant, and life skills, counsellor. Specialized skills in cultural competency consulting,restorative practice, cross-cultural, psycho-social services that are anti-oppressive, client and family focused, restorative and solution based. 

Professional Memberships


Nova Scotia College of Social Workers - member since 2004.

Nova Scotia College of Social Workers-licensed private practice SW -since 2007.

Canadian Association of Social Workers – since 2007 - present

Nova Scotia Barrister’s Society – Barrister & Solicitor - since 1995 - present .

Canadian Bar Association – agency membership - since 1995.

National Organization of Forensic Social Worker- USA 2016 - present

Canadian Association of Social Work Education  2016 - present.

Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association - member 2013-2015.

Family Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario – member 2017 – present.

Alberta College of Social Workers – September 2017 – 2018 




Speaker & panellist for local and national organizations on a variety of issues related to both law and social work regarding a variety of topics.

  • National Organization of Forensic Social Work 2019 National Conference: Competing Competencies of lawyers and Social Workers in Community Law Offices. 
  • National Organization of Forensic Social Work 2017 National Conference -Access to Justice- Promising Practices in the Pursuit of Justice in Sentencing Procedures: A Case Study. Boston, MA.
  •  United Nations Working Group of Experts on People of African Decent presentation on child welfare and criminal justice – Halifax, NS, October 2016.
  •   Hoyte, Shawna, National Judicial Institute, NS & PEI Supreme Court Justices Education Seminar, Racial Profiling in Child Protection Matters, White Point Lodge, May 2015 (PP submitted).
  • Hoyte, Shawna, NSLA,  Criminal Law Conference, African Canadian Youth-Racial Profiling in  Policing, Halifax, NS January 2015.
  • Provincial Cyberbullying Conference: Impact on Black Youth – September 2013
  • Mi’kmaq Family Conferencing: Trauma and Child Protection Issues – Indian Brook – 2013
  • Health Board of Nova Scotia Conference: Health and Race in the African Nova Scotian Community- 2013
  • Hoyte, Shawna, Serious Incident Response Team, Cultural Competency Training for First Responders in Policing and Public Safety, June 2013.
  • Hoyte, Shawna, Cultural Clinical Consultants, Reality Check: Improving Service Delivery to      Multi-Challenged Families, June 6 & 7, 2013. 
  • Hoyte, Shawna- National Judicial Institute- Race, Law & Judging (Children and Families), April 2009
  • NS Women’s Centre, St FX, Workshops- Sexual Violence from a Cultural Lens. 2009
  • Hoyte,  Shawna - Canadian African Council on Education Bi-Annual Education Summit, Parenting: Effective Education – From Anger To Accountability, January 2007, and April & May 2008.
  • Hoyte, Shawna, Avalon Sexual Assault Centre, Ashburn Golf Club, Guest Speaker –panel presentation. 
  • Hoyte, Shawna, National Social Work Conference- Maneuvering Through the Youth Criminal Justice System, June 2006.
  • Hoyte, Shawna, National Criminal Justice Association - Inaugural Presentation –Criminal Justice in the 21st Century: Public Policy Challenges – Youth Criminal Justice System, November 2005.
  • Hoyte, Shawna, Nova Scotia Association of Social Work – Annual Conference – Youth Crime, 2005.
  • Hoyte, Shawna, Nova Scotia Association of Social Work – Annual Conference - Social Work Advocacy – An Africentric Approach, 2003.
  • Hoyte, Shawna, Black United Students Association- Youth Conference – Our Youth, Our People, Our Community – “What’s going Wrong with Our Communities and How Do we Correct It: From the Social to the Legal, February 2006
  • Hoyte, Shawna, Inner City Committee for a Non-Violent Community-Youth Justice – The Impact of Issues on Community Development, 2003.
  • Hoyte, Shawna MSVU- School of Psychology, Educational Perspectives, Race, Culture and Human Rights: Bridging the Gap between Students, Schools and the Community, March 8, 2004.
  • Hoyte, Shawna, Guest Presentation: Black Youth at Risk: Connections Between the Education and Criminal Justice System, Educational Perspectives, Mount St Vincent University, November 24, 2003.
  • Hoyte,Shawna, “Blacks and Justice: What the Research Says, Black Youth and Crime: A Community Speaks Out”, June 2003.


PUBLICATIONS: Manuals, Published Articles, Books

  • Nova Scotia Barrister’s Society, Article: Here To Help, Contributor, 2014.

  • Nova Scotia Barrister’s Society, Article: Close Communities, Contributor, 2013.

  • Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society - The Society Record, You Be The Judge, February 5, 2005.
  • Hoyte, Shawna “Blacks and Justice: What the Research Says, Black Youth and Crime: A Community Speaks Out” Halifax Public Libraries, (contributor), 2004.
  • The Public Legal Education Society of Nova Scotia, Advocacy Training & Resource Manual Update,1998. 
  • Grassroots Leaders Building Skills: A Course in Community Leadership (Contributor: Commentary), Fernwood Publishing, 2004.
  • Treasury Board of Canada, Embracing Change in the Federal Public Service, Task Force on the Participation of Visible Minorities in the Federal Public Service, 2000
  • The Public Legal Education Society of Nova Scotia, Advocacy Training & Resource Manual,      1995.
  • The Peoples of Nova Scotia, Multicultural Association of Nova Scotia, 1979

NON- PUBLICATIONS  Research Articles

· The Children’s Aid Society of Halifax Foundation, The Law and You: Survival Tips – Youth in Care, (Legal Consultant), 2006. 

· Hoyte, Shawna, Black on Black Violence Among Adolescent Females, MSW Research Project, Maritime School of Social Work, 2003. 

· Hoyte, Shawna, Immigration and the Canadian Labour Market, Independent Research Course, Dalhousie Law School, 1994.

· Hoyte, Shawna, Children and Family Services, “Less Intrusive Intervention”, Dalhousie Law School, 1993.

· Hoyte, Shawna, The Social Assistance Appeal Board in Nova Scotia, Dalhousie Law School, 1992.

· New Canadian Training Modules – Multicultural Council of Halifax, 1976



Memorial University School of Social Work St. John’s, NL

Doctor of Philosophy  - present 

Research area: Transmission of transgenerational Trauma and epigenetics.  

Certificate in Legal Aspects of Healthcare Administration 

Dalhousie University  - Schulich School Law and School of Health Administration 

Maritime School of Social Work. Halifax, NS

Master of Social Work 

Bachelor of Social Work 

Dalhousie University  Faculty of Law & Faculty of Arts  Halifax, NS

(J.D.) Juris Doctor Bachelor of Laws 

Bachelor of Arts 

Certificate in Community Development Halifax, NS

Henson College 

Certificate in Mediation – University of P.E.I. & Attorney General 

Level II 

Certificate in Forensic Social Work - NOFSW, USA.

GOVERNMENT APPOINTMENTS (Governor of Council & Executive Council & NSBS)


  • NS Home for Colored Children Restorative Inquiry- Council of Parties- Appointment by NS Premier’s office- 2015-2016.
  • Involuntary Psychiatric Treatment Act- Lawyer Adjudicator/ Hearing Chair- 2016-2017.· Queens Counsel Appointments Selection Committee – NSBS Appointment in 2013-2016· NSBS -Complaints Investigation Committee- 2012-2015
  • NS Provincial Appointment – Nova Scotia Assessment Appeal Court, 2002
  • Federal Government Appointment – Treasury Board of Canada –Ottawa: Task Force on the Participation of   Visible Minorities in the Federal Public Service, 1999 – 2001.
  • NS Provincial Appointment - Residential Tenancies Board – Adjudicator, 1996 –1998



· Canadian Association of Social Workers- National Distinguished Service Award- 2016

  • The Honourable Justice Bertha Wilson Honour Society Inductee,October 17, 2014.
  • Nova Scotia Legal Aid,Service Recognition Award, October 15, 2014
  • Lifetime Achievement Award –National Black Law Student Association of Canada- January 2014
  • Queen’s Counsel Designation – February 2011
  • The Inaugural recipient of the Hon. Justice Lorne Clarke, Q.C Award for Access to Justice, 2010.
  • National Black Law Students Association: People Making a Difference Award – March 2009. 
  • Elizabeth Fry Society - Rebels with a Cause - 2006 Recipient, May 2006.
  •  Black Community Advocates Association of NS- Recognition Award as Founding Member, 2002.
  • Treasury Board of Canada - Award of Recognition - Embracing Change Task Force -2001§ 
  • Recipient of numerous contribution awards from local university, schools and organizations.