The Restorative Justice Center of Quebec City (RJC-Qc)
When talking about restorative justice, the initial belief is the beauty of self-reconciliation with one’s personal life story and entourage. To have people who suffer suddenly go through an emotional release because they’ve had the courage to face perpetrators of a criminal offense and find a new light to continue their healing journey is an amazing grace to witness.
In the field of restorative justice, our motto is "a passion for compassion." At the RJC-Qc, our mission is specifically based on values of true respect, deep listening and a heart to heart dialogue. We work with people who need to go through a reconciliation process according to human and spiritual values. The objective is to improve the human relations of women and men and to enforce meaningful relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in the context of the legacy of residential schools around the province of Quebec.
There are two components to our program 1.) Offer Victim-offender mediation which is provided by in-kind services 2.) Promote the traditional approach of First Nations by offering the “Returning to spirit” workshops thanks to our partnership with the wonderful team of Returning to Spirit based in Winnipeg.
Did you know that in Canada, reparation was the First Nations’ traditional justice until it was eclipsed by the Anglo-Canadian criminal justice system, late nineteenth, early twentieth century? Nevertheless, in 1974, in Ontario, a Mennonite parole officer named Mark Yantzi offered the judge to proceed by having the victim meet the offender which was granted. Hence, the meeting of the parties in this context became a way of reclaiming the crime and taking the matter in one’s own hands.
Hence, the implementation of our restorative justice programs is a work in progress, and deserves to be known in the vicinity of Quebec where there is an increasing need for truth and transparency, as well as a great need for victims’ rights to be heard. One can only hope that the holistic benefits of restorative justice will soon spread throughout the territory of Quebec, and moreover, be available at the provincial prison (ÉDQ) where the population of inmates from the First Nations is incidentally a growing number.