Key to the Restorative Justice Program is that the offender must take responsibility for his/her actions in order to be eligible for diversion to our program.

The Process

  1. A diversion referral is received – this can be pre-charge or post-charge
  2. A Restorative Justice Worker arranges for a Circle to take place
  3. A Circle is held – more than one Circle may be needed
  4. From the Circle, the eventual goal is to reach a Circle Agreement or a Circle Settlement
  5. The Circle Agreement is when the offender agrees to take a course of action to repair harms caused to the victim
  6. If the offender is successful in meeting the conditions of the Circle Agreement, the outstanding criminal charges may be withdrawn
  7. If the offender is unsuccessful in meeting the conditions of the Circle Agreement, the criminal charge(s) may be re-initiated
  8. If the offender breaches the terms of the Circle Agreement, the criminal charge(s) may be re-initiated

The Circle Participants?

  • The victim and his/her supporters (i.e. family members, friends, etc.)
  • The offender and his/her supporters (i.e. family members, friends, etc.)
  • Key persons involved in helping the offender and victim, such as youth workers, social workers, teachers and counsellors
  • Elders
  • Concerned members of the community

Requirements or Outcomes from the Circle Process

  • Volunteer work in the community, tending to Elders, getting firewood or shovelling, gathering of food, volunteering or attending community events
  • Fine
  • Written or verbal apology
  • Attending presentations
  • Attendance at school
  • Testimonies, sharing of stories to provide a teaching
  • Making and presenting gifts to the person(s) harmed
  • Attending a treatment program or another self-help program


Talking Together

Talking Together is a restorative approach for dealing with child welfare issues. The program is an alternative dispute resolution option created in 2002 to address the child welfare needs of families from the NAN communities.

Justice Sinclair Transcript

Associate Chief Judge Murray Sinclair delivered a presentation at the Elders-Policy Makers-Academics-Constituency Group Meeting held in Alymer, Quebec on April 16-18, 1997.

“We have a lot of ground to cover, all of us, in a very short period of time. We only have one lifetime each and we have much to do when it comes to dealing with Aboriginal people and justice issues. I am not sure that one lifetime is enough to do all that needs to be done.

So let us begin with the understanding that we cannot do all of the things that need to be done in the short time we have together. We can only do so much with what we have been given and we can only go so far within the time that we are here together.

As always, I’m a bit perplexed about how I can contribute to the conversation when invited to gatherings like this because I’m never certain what it is that each of you knows, nor am I certain of what each of you do or want to do and how I can help with whatever you’ve come here for.

So, perhaps, some of you have already heard some of the things I’m going to talk about; however there are many of you here who I have not previously met and those people have not yet had a chance to hear some of the views that I have on the issues that Aboriginal people face in the Aboriginal justice system. You have also not had an opportunity to hear, perhaps, some of my thoughts about where it is we should be going…”


Read Justice Sinclair's Full Transcript