The National Justice Survey

The National Justice Survey is an annual public opinion research survey conducted to explore Canadians’ perceptions and knowledge of justice-related issues. Findings from the survey are used to inform policy development, public engagement, and communications.

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National Justice Survey 2023

The objective of the 2023 National Justice Survey was to collect information on the following:

In addition to questions on the topic areas outlined above, the survey included questions on key demographic characteristics of respondents (e.g., gender, age, ethno-cultural group, Indigenous identity, income, employment).

A total of 4,487 people aged 18 years or older participated in the survey.

An oversampling of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis, as well as those from racialized ethno-cultural groups, was employed and important in the context of the growing calls for public sector organizations to improve efforts to collect disaggregated data, and to understand justice issues through an intersectional lens. The survey data were weighted to replicate, as closely as possible, the Canadian population, aged 18 years or older.

National Justice Survey 2022

The 2022 National Justice Survey captured Canadians’ knowledge of, opinions on, and experiences with various aspects of Canada’s justice system, including:

A randomly selected sample of 4,949 people aged 18 years and older living in Canada participated in the survey. Data are available by age, gender, region, income, employment status, Indigenous identity, education, place of birth, and ethnocultural group. Results are reasonably representative of the total population of Canada.

National Justice Survey 2021

The 2021 National Justice Survey provides important insight into whether and how Canadians’ views on the fairness and accessibility of the criminal and family justice systems have changed since the pandemic was declared. This year, participants were also asked about their awareness of and opinions on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, Canadian sex trade legislation and impaired driving laws. Canadians were also asked about their experiences with traffic stops in the past two years. Those who had experienced a stop were asked if they would participate in a follow-up interview. Interviews examined the perceived impact of race on experiences with traffic stops. The survey includes a randomly selected generally representative sample of 3,211 Canadians 18 and over. Data were analyzed by age, gender, region, and ethnocultural group.

National Justice Survey 2018

The 2018 National Justice Survey explores Canadians’ views and perceptions of:

  • The criminal justice system;
  • Sexual harassment in the work place;
  • Privacy and the management of personal information;
  • The Canadian Human Rights Act; and
  • Family law.

The online survey included 2,016, responses and results are reasonably representative of the total population of Canada. Data were analyzed by age, gender, region, level of education, annual household income, employment status, and more.

National Justice Survey 2017: Issues in Canada’s Criminal Justice System

The 2017 National Justice Survey gathered information on Canadians’ views and perceptions of the criminal justice system. The study included three components: an online survey of just over 2,000 randomly sampled Canadians reasonably representative of the Canadian population; a sample of close to 3,500 Canadians who were recruited via an openlink featured on the Justice Canada website and circulated on social media; and finally a series of 12 in-person focus groups and 20 telephone interviews to explore selected issues in greater depth.

In addition, several topic- based short summaries of the results are available in the following Research and a Glance publications:

  1. Community-based sentencing
  2. Administration of Justice Offences
  3. Discretion in sentencing
  4. Diversion
  5. Mandatory Minimum Penalties
  6. Problem-solving justice
  7. Restorative Justice
  8. Sentencing commissions and guidelines

Researchers also recruited participants who were familiar with Justice Canada to answer the survey and then they compared the results to the survey of the general public in the representative sample.

The open-link survey respondents who reported higher levels of knowledge regarding issues such as sentencing and Mandatory Minimum Penalties, were asked the same questions as the representative sample of Canadians. Their responses are analyzed and compared with the representative sample in the following Research at a Glance publications:

National Justice Survey 2016: Canada’s Criminal Justice System

The 2016 National Justice Survey focused on Canada’s criminal justice system (CJS) to inform the Department’s review of the criminal justice system.

Specifically, this nationally representative research involved a traditional public opinion research survey, an informed choice survey and in-person and online focus groups. The purpose of this research was to explore Canadians’ views, perceptions and expectations for the CJS, including the values they want it to reflect and its objectives, as well as priorities and concerns with respect to criminal justice issues.

Archived reports

These reports and data tables, as well as other NJS-related research products, including microdata files (where available), can also be found on the Open Government portal.