Restorative Justice and the Law

Restorative practices have been used by a variety of Indigenous peoples in present day North America, Oceania, Europe and beyond long before they were enshrined into Canadian law. Many of these practices were adapted by settler North Americans to develop Restorative Justice as we know it today. In 1974, the Elmira Case marked the first Restorative Justice case recognized by Canadian law. Since then, Restorative Justice and Restorative practices have been built into:

Who Can Refer

Referral to a Restorative process can happen at any stage in a criminal trial by…

Restorative Justice can work independently or alongside the Criminal Court system.

Referral Stages

Pre-Charge Diversion

A case is referred to RJ before charges are laid. If unsuccessful, charges can be laid later.

Post-Charge Diversion

Charges are forwarded to the crown and then diverted to RJ.


After a guilty plea, the case is diverted to RJ, and the outcome is taken into account for sentencing.


A judge can include RJ in the sentence given.