Source: (2002) Paper presented at the Technical Assistance Workshop of the Programme Network of Institutes at the 11th Session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, held in Vienna from April 16 to 25, 2002.

The purpose of this paper is to summarize the directions and developments in respect of restorative justice (RJ) in Canada as well as Canada’s efforts in support of the adoption of international principles to guide policy and practice in this emerging field. The summary of RJ in Canada includes a brief account of its roots in Aboriginal cultures, faith communities and non-governmental organizations, the milestone events that led to an expansion of programmes during the 1990s, and an overview of recent activities that have promoted awareness, discussion and education in RJ across the country. The paper also provides a synopsis of the results of research on RJ in Canada, including evaluations of programmes, meta-analyses of the impacts of RJ, victims’ perceptions of RJ and public attitudes towards RJ. The policy debate and expressed concerns about RJ are highlighted. This summary of developments and debate, which serves to illustrate the promise and pitfalls of RJ, is followed by an account of Canada’s contribution to the elaboration of U.N. Basic Principles of Restorative Justice. The paper concludes with a call for further research to guide future policy and programme development.