Restorative Justice

What is Restorative Justice?

Restorative justice refers to “an approach to justice that seeks to repair harm by providing an opportunity for those harmed and those who take responsibility for the harm to communicate about and address their needs in the aftermath of a crime.”Footnote 1

Restorative Justice:

  • Provides opportunities for victims, offenders, and communities affected by a crime to communicate (directly or indirectly) about the causes, circumstances, and impact of that crime, and to address their related needs.
  • Is based on an understanding that crime is a violation of people and relationships and is based on principles of respect, compassion and inclusivity.
  • Encourages meaningful engagement and accountability and provides an opportunity for healing, reparation and reintegration.
  • Uses processes, including conferences, dialogues and circles, and is guided by skilled facilitators.
  • Is a flexible process and can take different forms depending on the community, program, case, participants, or circumstances.Footnote 2
  • Uses processes that may take place at all stages of the criminal justice system and can be used with adults and youth.
  • Is used in every province and territory and is supported by legislation and federal, provincial and territorial government programs and policies.

Restorative justice contributes to a criminal justice system that is accessible, compassionate and fair, and promotes the safety and well-being of Canadians.

Services and information

Search the Directory of Restorative Justice

Currently, you may submit your information electronically to

Legislation and Policy

Restorative justice measures have been part of Canada’s criminal justice system for over forty years and are supported through federal legislation, policy and program responses.


The Indigenous Justice Program supports Indigenous community-based justice programs that offer culturally relevant alternatives to mainstream justice processes in appropriate circumstances.


Footnote 1

Federal-Provincial-Territorial Ministers Responsible for Justice and Public Safety (2018). Principles and Guidelines for Restorative Practice in the Criminal Matters.

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Footnote 2


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