ROBB JOHANNES earned his Master of Arts from the School of Criminology at Simon Fraser University (SFU) in Burnaby, BC. As a young musician and activist, he worked as an instructor in the School of Criminology and Department of Women’s Studies at SFU.
Robb’s commitment to the grassroots was amplified by his position as Executive Director of VANDU, the organization responsible for opening InSite, North America’s only supervised injection facility, in the Downtown Eastside Vancouver. The legal and social value of InSite was endorsed by the Supreme Court of Canada in Canada (Attorney General) v. PHS Community Services Society. During his time at VANDU, Robb was also involved in early consultations around the Downtown Eastside Missing Women that led to the eventual Canada (Attorney General) v. Bedford decision that deemed Canada’s prostitution laws unconstitutional. Another significant achievement of his time at VANDU was Robb’s establishment of a satellite residency agreement that allowed homeless citizens to vote in the Canadian federal election of 2008.
Prior to VANDU, Robb worked as Coordinator of Aboriginal Justice Studies at the Native Education Centre, Canada’s longest-running Aboriginal post-secondary educational institution. He also worked with the City of Vancouver to design and implement the RestART graffiti diversion program which connects youth charged with graffiti offences to artist mentors and business owners in reconciling damages through relationship-building with victims and the use of graffiti on city-sanctioned walls. And for eight years, he coordinated the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP), a restorative justice-based conflict resolution initiative in federal women’s and men’s prisons.
A lifelong artist, Robb is currently the singer/frontman of the Toronto rock band Paint (www.paintband.com), who have earned national acclaim not only for the band’s songwriting and stage performance, but tireless work ethic and fusion of UK-inspired rock with socially-progressive lyrics; “Rockstars and entertainers with a sincere change-the-world-with-heart atttitude.” Paint has performed 200 shows from Vancouver to Halifax in support of its two releases: Can You Hear Me? and Where We Are Today. Paint is currently working in its third release and accompanying film project, 11:11.
Robb is committed to the needs of the precariat; citizens who are amply qualified but underemployed and without predictability or long-term stability. However, this devotion is not exclusive; he believes that under the current economy, we are all relative members of the precariat and deserve protection and security regardless of our ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic standing, or physical ability.
Robb is a proud resident of Toronto’s Danforth community and owner of a beautiful 4-year-old boxer named Hannah.
On October 27, 2014, vote ROBB NOT FORD: The extra “b” stands for “better”.