Reflections on the Past, Present, and Future of Restorative Justice in Canada

  • Barbara Tomporowski Senior Policy Analyst, Saskatchewan Ministry of Justice and Attorney General; Co-Chair, Federal-Provincial-Territorial Working Group on Restorative Justice; Sessional Lecturer, Department of Justice Studies, University of Regina.
  • Manon Buck Restorative Justice Division, Correctional Service Canada.
  • Catherine Bargen M.A. (Conflict Transformation), Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, Eastern Mennonite University; Restorative Justice Coordinator, British Columbia Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General.
  • Valarie Binder Coordinator, Restorative Community Conference Program for Youth Justice, Health and Social Services, Yukon Government.

Abstract

Restorative justice has been integrated into the Canadian justice system for over 30 years and it is now appropriate to acknowledge the achievements of the past, reflect on its current status, and consider where it may go in the future. Restorative justice evolved from experimentation by justice officials and community members looking for better ways to respond to crime, and there is a great deal of variation in how it is defined, understood, and practised. Provisions of the Criminal Code and the Youth Criminal Justice Act support the use of restorative justice in the criminal context. While restorative justice is being used across Canada and there are signs that it is maturing, there are also a number of challenges it faces, such as the need for ongoing funding and national data collection, and the need to define its relationship with Aboriginal justice and continue to engage victim service agencies. However, with continued leadership and support from community-based agencies, Aboriginal groups, faith organizations, governments, universities, and justice agencies, restorative justice will continue to evolve and expand in Canada.

Author Biographies

Barbara Tomporowski, Senior Policy Analyst, Saskatchewan Ministry of Justice and Attorney General; Co-Chair, Federal-Provincial-Territorial Working Group on Restorative Justice; Sessional Lecturer, Department of Justice Studies, University of Regina.
She works and volunteers with restorative justice initiatives at the local, provincial, and national levels, such as the Steering Committee for the Canadian Restorative Justice Consortium.
Manon Buck, Restorative Justice Division, Correctional Service Canada.
Formerly, she worked as a Conflict Resolution Advisor for Canada Revenue Agency where she coached and mediated employees in conflict. She has also volunteered with YOUCAN, promoting and facilitating non-violent conflict resolution in schools and communities, and now volunteers for the Collaborative Justice Program, facilitating victim-offender mediation at the Ottawa Provincial Courthouse.
Catherine Bargen, M.A. (Conflict Transformation), Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, Eastern Mennonite University; Restorative Justice Coordinator, British Columbia Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General.
Formerly, she was on staff with Langley, British Columbia’s Community Justice Initiatives Association and is the author of Educating for Peacebuilding: Implementing Restorative Justice Principles and Practices in a School System (Langley: Community Justice Initiatives Association, 2010).
Valarie Binder, Coordinator, Restorative Community Conference Program for Youth Justice, Health and Social Services, Yukon Government.
As a practitioner and instructor in restorative community conferences, she has contributed to and influenced the development of restorative practices throughout Yukon and some parts of Alaska. She has presented on restorative justice at national and international conferences, for First Nation Governments, and as a guest lecturer at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.
How to Cite
Tomporowski, B., Buck, M., Bargen, C., & Binder, V. (1). Reflections on the Past, Present, and Future of Restorative Justice in Canada. Alberta Law Review, 48(4), 815. https://doi.org/10.29173/alr135
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Articles