Restorative Justice and the Correctional Service of Canada’s Restorative Opportunities Program (Victim- offender Mediation)

Restorative Justice is an approach to justice that encourages communication between victims, offenders and the community to address the harm caused by a crime. Restorative Justice is a safe and voluntary process that leads to healing in victims, meaningful accountability of offenders, and contributes to healthier, safer communities.

Our Restorative Opportunities Program is a post-sentence federal program that offers people who have been harmed by crime, either directly or indirectly, a chance to communicate with the offender who has harmed them through various victim-offender mediation models.

The program is based on Restorative Justice principles and values which seek to address the harm caused by crime by focusing on the needs and issues of the people affected, as defined by them. Restorative Opportunities processes are led by highly-trained professional mediators and participation is voluntary for everyone concerned.

Participation in the Restorative Opportunities program is available to people harmed by an offence that has resulted in a federal sentence who are requesting to communicate with the offender who caused the harm. Services provided by the Restorative Opportunities program are available to registered victims, victim representatives acting on behalf of registered victims, and non-registered victims impacted by the crime.

Restorative Opportunities mediators are community-based mediators highly skilled in restorative justice, conflict resolution, victimology, addressing trauma, and victim-offender mediation services in cases of serious crime. The mediators are neutral parties that help prepare interested participants to communicate and provide them with the opportunity to meet in a safe, structured setting.

The program does not require a face-to-face meeting with the offender. Meeting with the offender is one of many options. Participants can also communicate in writing or through video recorded messages. The mediator can also relay messages between the victim and the offender.

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