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 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.

The full report and data tables are available on the Library and Archives Canada website and from the Open Government portal.

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 so results are reasonably generalizable to the broader population of Canadians.

The full report and data tables are available on the Library and Archives Canada website and from the Open Government portal. The microdata file is also available on the Open Government Portal.

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

In 2017, Justice Canada undertook public opinion research to gather information on Canadians’ views and perceptions of the criminal justice system (CJS). The study included three components: an online survey of just over 2,000 randomly sampled Canadians reasonably generalizable to the Canadian population; a sample of close to 3,500 Canadians who were recruited via an open link 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.

The full report and data tables are available on Library and Archives Canada website and from the Open Government portal.

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

In addition, researchers recruited participants who were already familiar with Justice 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 the 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.

The full report and data tables are available on Library and Archives Canada website and from the Open Government portal.