Restorative Opportunities Program Protocols


  • To provide guidance on the Restorative Opportunities Program and its victim-offender mediation services


  • Applies to all Correctional Service of Canada staff and contracted service providers who may be involved in matters relating to restorative justice and victim-offender mediation services


  1. All referrals to the Restorative Opportunities Program (including victim referrals, institutional referrals and community referrals) will be forwarded to the National Headquarters (NHQ) Restorative Justice Unit.

Non-Communication Orders or No Contact Conditions

  1. The following procedures apply in cases where a non-communication with a victim has been ordered by the court or a no contact condition has been imposed by the Parole Board of Canada:
    1. all requests for communication where a non-communication order or a no contact condition is in place are to be referred to the NHQ Restorative Justice Unit
    2. a meeting between an offender and a Restorative Opportunities Mediator is not considered a breach of a non-communication order or a no contact condition
    3. CSC staff drafting a recommendation for a no contact condition in cases where they are aware of the offender's participation in a Restorative Opportunities process should draft the recommendation in a way that allows for the provision of CSC's victim-offender mediation services, by adding the following wording to the condition: “unless deemed appropriate and facilitated by CSC’s Restorative Opportunities Program”
    4. CSC staff who are advised by the NHQ Restorative Justice Unit of an upcoming facilitated dialogue between a victim and an offender who currently has a no contact condition will recommend the amendment of the condition to allow for the provision of victim-offender mediation services by adding the following wording: "unless deemed appropriate and facilitated by CSC's Restorative Opportunities Program".

Victims Entering Institutions

  1. In preparation for an upcoming meeting between an offender and a victim, the mediator will contact institutional staff or parole office staff to arrange for the reservation of date, time and meeting space.
  2. Victims accompanied by a Restorative Opportunities Mediator do not need to complete a visitor application.
  3. Institutional staff will ensure proper entry documents (identifying the victims by name and indicating arrival times) are ready for victim arrival at the principle entrance to ensure that their entry for the purpose of victim-offender mediation services is treated as a sensitive matter.

Meeting Space

  1. The priority is to provide a safe environment conducive to dialogue or discussions without risk of further victimization. As such:
    1. the institution or parole office is required to provide closed accommodations, such as a boardroom, meeting room or chapel, that are private enough so that the meeting can be conducted effectively without interruptions or observations
    2. only the mediator, victim, offender and support persons for the victim or the offender, whose presence had been discussed and agreed upon by all participants, may attend meetings
    3. meetings are not to be held in the Visits and Correspondence area, unless under exceptional circumstances. Should this be the case, the area should not accommodate any other visitors or staff members other than those agreed upon prior to the meeting. The dialogue should not be recorded either by audio or video by the institutional staff or heard by any outside parties.

Information Management

  1. The Victim file held by the Victim Services Unit can record activities related to the provision of Restorative Opportunities information using the outlined activity record identifier. Any further details or information on the request to participate, sharing of information or outcomes must be excluded from the activity record.
  2. All existing recordings of participation, requests for participation or process information must be removed from all case management and victim files excluding files held by the Restorative Justice Unit at NHQ. In order to ensure confidentiality, the rationale to be used for the amendment of the file is the following: “At the direction of National Headquarters, this report was unlocked on (date) to remove information that should not have been documented. The identified information has been removed with no other changes.

Assistant Commissioner,
Communications and Engagement

Original Signed by:
Scott Harris




CD 085 - Correspondence and Telephone Communication

CD 559 - Visits

CD 701 - Information Sharing

CD 784 - Victim Engagement

CD 785 - Restorative Opportunities Program and Victim-Offender Mediation Services

CD 786 - Victim Complaints

Restorative Opportunities Referral Process


Community referral : a means for CSC staff to communicate a conditionally released offender's or a long-term offender's request to initiate any type of communication with the victim.

Institutional referral : a means for CSC staff to communicate an offender's request to initiate any type of communication with the victim.

Restorative Opportunities (RO) : a CSC program based on restorative justice principles and values, such as accountability, inclusiveness, honesty, and empathy. RO provides victims, offenders and community members with an opportunity to address the harms caused by crime through victim-offender mediation services. Participation in the RO Program is voluntary for all participants.

Restorative Opportunities (RO) Mediators : community-based mediators specialized in working with people affected by crime. They are employed by CSC on a casual basis and renewed annually (except in the Pacific region, where mediators are provided through a service contract).

Victim-offender mediation (VOM) : a communication and mediation process that uses, but is not limited to, letter exchange, video recording exchange, face-to-face meetings, and group conferencing.

Victim referral : a means for victims or victim representatives to communicate/initiate a request on behalf of a victim to enter into communication with the offender who caused him or her harm.

For more information

To learn about upcoming or ongoing consultations on proposed federal regulations, visit the Canada Gazette and Consulting with Canadians websites.