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Session #1 Options

The following seven workshops will happen simultaneously on Thursday morning. Please read the descriptions and select which session you wish to attend. 

*Please note there is a capacity to each workshop. Register soon and select your preferred workshops for a better chance at getting your top choice.

Stress, Adversity, Trauma, Nervous System Development and Restorative Practices in Schools


Mardi Hardt

The experience of extreme, prolonged and uncertain patterns of stress is one that we all have become uncomfortably familiar with over the past few years. We've now survived a pandemic, multiple Alberta wildfires, and a societal landscape that is novel and somewhat disturbing to many of us. How does this experience impact the brain development of our students in the in the moment functioning of our educators? What can schools do to support communities who are struggling? Why is rebuilding relationships so important to the well-being of our children and youth? How can the principles of restorative justice contribute? Join us for a unique description of how the information available from the field of neuroscience can support success for our children and youth. Enjoy games and activities that help us get to the cortex in our classrooms, come prepared to laugh and to leave with new ideas and inspiration.

Trauma Informed Care in Restorative Justice

Violet Soosay and Keith Johnson

Trauma is prevalent in our world and has an impact on many of the people we interact with, including those we engage with in our organisations and communities. Compassionate and trauma informed care is essential to providing effective support and building sustainable services. Five key principles are explored to integrate a trauma informed approach through the community. By embracing these principles, participants can better contribute to the positive transformation of individuals and relationships affected by trauma. Becoming trauma informed creates a sustainable foundation in any setting to promote strength, engagement and healing.

Sex Offenders, Restorative Justice and Education Around Stigma


Ken Grahlman

Paul Bernardo, Clifford Olson, Bill Cosby, Russell Williams. There are many high profile names that stand out within this field. All of them have one thing in common with us. They are human, despite what many media outlets may describe otherwise. Together we'll have a discussion about the people who commit sex offences, some reasons why they got there in the first place, how restorative justice plays a role and what role the community plays, as well as some success stories.

Circle Sentencing - Beyond Theory

Jason Fenno and Robin Quantick PhD

Circle sentencing (also referred to as community or healing circles) is a form of restorative justice that is rooted in Indigenous worldviews pertaining to the sacred circle. Circles are sacred locations that must be respected at all times due to the crucial importance that circles continue to have for Indigenous Nations across Turtle Island. In this presentation two applications of circles within a restorative justice approach will be examined with respect and care in regard to circle sentencing and community circles. Both circle applications are key locations for change to occur both inside and outside of prisons. Moreover, a short overview of how and why circles became utilized within the Eurocentric justice system in Canada will also be discussed. This presentation will also examine the important differences between each circle application vs. the adversarial justice process. Possible avenues for real-world applications of each circle process will also be explored within the criminal justice system, social services, education, and youth justice. The potential for change and healing to occur within each of the possible applications listed above will also be discussed. Lastly, a role-playing example activity rooted in respect will also be discussed as an interactive real-world process that will allow for a reorientation of perspectives when it comes to the use of circles.

Restorative Justice and the Opioid Crisis: An Indigenous Approach

Amber Jensen and Billi-J Heavy Shields

The presenters look at the intersection between the opioid crisis and restorative justice through an Indigenous lens. Different approaches and techniques will be discussed in this skills-based workshop. Attendees can expect to learn how the presenters have used Indigenous harm reduction firsthand in their community to support those with substance use disorder during the opioid crisis.

Indigenous Justice

Presenter: Val Hoglund and Mabel Roasting

Indigenous Justice is a book written in 2023 by judges, lawyers, and law enforcement officers. I have a chapter as a law enforcement officer in this new book. This workshop is about my chapter called, “The Unwitting Criminal, Alone but Full of Hope.” I will share the story of a teenage female I helped when I was in the Youth Unit in EPS and then how I helped her as an adult in the HELP unit of EPS. As always, I will have my therapy dog with me so you can ask me questions about that as well.

Repairing Broken Arrows

Presenters: Heather Loudon and Nadine Okalik

Tungasuvvingat Inuit’s Restorative presentation focuses on Inuit history and culturally appropriate restorative justice practices. The presentation will highlight various topics such as the Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit principles, Inuit and the criminal justice system, intergenerational trauma and shame in restorative justice, and an overall structure of the program.

Session #2 Options

The following seven workshops will happen simultaneously on Thursday afternoon. Please read the descriptions and choose which session you wish to attend. 

*Please note there is a capacity to each workshop. Register soon and select your workshop choices for a better chance at getting your top choice.

Starting Up a Restorative Justice Program - Tips and Tactics/From the Ground Up - How to Develop a Successful Restorative Justice Program in Your Community (panel)

Debbie Leitch and Nicole Chouinard

If you are interested in starting a restorative justice program in your community but don't know where to start, or if your community already has a restorative justice program and you want to know more about factors that will support the success and sustainability of the program, then this session is for you.

The Rural Red Deer Restorative Justice Program has been in operation for almost three years. In that time, we've expanded from working in partnership with one RCMP detachment and the communities they serve to supporting four different RCMP and municipal police detachments. We will also look at a Restorative Justice Program in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo that is a very diverse population and includes urban, rural and First Nations land.

In this session, you will learn about the steps that were followed from idea inception to implementation, as well as the challenges faced. Processes for recognizing and responding to successes, opportunities and failures, overcoming obstacles, addressing ongoing challenges and strategies to grow and develop a program that continued to meet the needs of your partners and the community will be shared and discussed.

Restorative Justice and the Beautiful Ripples Created

Roberto Diaz

My name is Roberto Diaz and having been afflicted with the disease of addiction for 13 years I had given up hope. Being homeless, estranged from my daughter and my family and facing a federal sentence for the first time I had given up. Restorative justice was introduced to me in the form of the Edmonton Drug Treatment Court Service and after 13 months a graduate my life is completely different. The broken person that walked into detox July 29 2017 and the man that is writing this to you today has used the tools learned in recovery and through the this amazing program has found healing, acceptance, courage, honesty and so many other qualities that allows me today to be a father, son, brother, a support to many others and so many other meaningful opportunities. Ive been working on the front lines of for the last 5 years and currently work with Alberta Health Services Addictions and Mental Health as a Peer Support Worker, Edmonton Drug Treatment Court Service as a PSW and with Parents Empowering Parents as a facilitator with there family recovery support group. Its an honor and a privilege to serve others after many years of being a negative ripple in the lives of all that came into contact with me. Today that ripple is beautiful, loving, kind, compassionate and allows opportunities for many to being impacted positively by that ripple.

Transforming Family Spaces Through the Power of Restorative Justice

Akanksha Marwah

Family or family-like spaces are the first learning spaces we enter and that develop our cognitive, social, emotional and psychological ability to pursue a holistic living. Coming from a traditional joint family set up in a country like India and then researching-working in restorative approach as I reflect, I can say with conviction that restorative approach has a great transformative potential in such an environment. It has been witnessed in the circles I have attended and conducted. Restorative approach aims to create a harmonious and inclusive family dynamic. It can do so by addressing the needs of each family member and fostering open communication, empathy, and active listening. Through this approach, conflicts are seen as opportunities for growth and learning, promoting healing, understanding and strengthening family relationships. This presentation will explore the principles and benefits of adopting a restorative mindset within the family context, emphasizing the long lasting, positive impact on family dynamics. It will highlight how restorative pedagogy can be applied within a home to further develop social skills, social confidence and a sense of social responsibility. This can help families in creating a safe and supportive environment to foster social connection, responsibility and resilience. Special emphasis will be on intergenerational relationships.

Standing in the Conversation Gap: Surrogacy

Jennifer Beaudin

Community Justice Initiatives (CJI) is currently piloting an innovative option in Facilitated Dialogue cases of sexual harm: Surrogacy.

Surrogacy is a Vicarious Restorative Justice (VRJ) approach, which brings together victims, offenders and others impacted for a dialogue, but who are not parties of the same harm or crime. It can provide dialogue opportunities to those for whom a direct restorative justice approach would not be possible.

In this presentation, we will explore:

- What VRJ is and why we would use it

- How CJI is piloting surrogacy

- Initial learnings and current practices

We are excited to share with attendees our journey so far in providing creative and meaningful opportunities to address sexual harm in our community.

Circles Restore Us - Beyond Conflict

Sharon Steinhauer and Shirley Hunter

Circles have their roots in all cultures and are an old practice with many contemporary applications. Indigenous wisdom guides us in remembering the structure and practice of circles and participants will learn skills they can use in their own lives or those they work with. This presentation will describe key concepts in the Indigenous world view that provide the foundation for Indigenous relational practice. The teaching, 'relationships are medicine', will be experienced within the structure of a circle which is a primary tool for engaging diverse voices, finding common ground, and tapping into intergenerational wisdom. We move from disconnect to reconnect - in relationships, in families and in our villages. This workshop offers the knowledge and validation through circle experience that everyone has a voice and vision to contribute to personal, family and community growth when we offer a safe space for that to emerge - to explore, to grow together, to find peace. We start where we are at and collectively become more than we are now.

Restorative Practices in Schools - Rebuilding Connections Through a Pandemic

Mardi Hardt and Caroline Gosling

Relationships matter in the classroom, in our families and in our communities, and a sense of connection and belonging can support student success. This session explores the creation of a Restorative Practice Implementation Team in 12 schools in an urban-rural school division in Alberta. School teams received formal training, coaching and mentoring, and in turn supported other members of their own faculty to embed restorative principles into everyday teaching practices and enhance their unique school culture. Join us for a description of this work and for an opportunity to participate in fun activities that promote connection and relationships in school settings.

Restorative Justice and Feminist Anti-Violence: Building Bridges

JJ Tracy, Catherine Bargan, Gillian Lindquist and Felix Gilliland

For decades the movements of restorative justice (RJ) and feminist anti-violence (FAV) have occupied two separate camps. After controversial attempts to use RJ to address sexualized violence in the early 2000’s, and subsequent protestations of feminist organizers, moratoriums

were enacted on the practice in provinces nationwide. Both movements have suffered –ideologically, pragmatically–from this schism. Restorative justice has been criticized for failing to fully understand and centre the needs of survivors. Anti-violence organizations have invested decades of work into reforming a criminal legal system that has not met the needs of survivors and shows little signs of changing. Throughout, survivors have borne the brunt of this breakdown in communication and collaboration. Today, however, there is an increasing awareness from both sides that partnerships between the RJ and FAV worlds are necessary to create truly transformative responses to sexualized violence. In this panel we explore the historical and emergent tensions between RJ and FAV through the perspective of three BC-based organizations working to build bridges between these movements. Gillian Lindquist of Restorative Justice Victoria, Catherine Bargen of Just Outcomes Consulting, and Felix Gilliland and JJ Tracy of Salal Sexual Violence Support Centre (formerly WAVAW Rape Crisis Centre) will discuss the history of our organizational relationship building, explore lessons learned and the challenges faced in our collaborations, and share about our current projects creating new restorative and transformative justice processes for survivors of sexualized violence.

Session #3 Options

The following seven workshops will happen simultaneously on Friday morning. Please read the descriptions and choose which session you wish to attend. 

*Please note there is a capacity to each workshop. Register soon and select your workshop choices for a better chance at getting your top choice.

Enoch Restorative Justice "Ehtapastayan Tapwewin" Restoring the Truth

Alicia Morin

This presentation will cover the process of Enoch RJ from start to finish with the Cree culture as the foundation. Discussion involves the initial contact with Crown Prosecutors, intake, sharing circle and self identified needs/conditions, elder involvement, RCMP, Edmonton City Police Services and probation roles, Cree ceremonies, HUB (community wrap around services), relationship with Edmonton Indigenous Court. Identifying the barriers of the RJ process and acknowledging these successes with a few examples of successful and complete files.

Role of the Crown in the Alberta Courts’ Restorative Justice Pilot Project

Matthew Hinshaw

In 2020, the Alberta Court of King’s Bench launched a Restorative Justice Committee to study the possibility of creating a referral mechanism to send appropriate court matters to a restorative justice process. The Committee was founded by the late Justice Beverley Browne, the first chief justice of Nunavut. The Committee was renamed Wîyasôw Iskweêw, the spirit name given to Justice Browne by Cree Elders during a blanket ceremony shortly before her passing. While there is no direct translation, it conveys the idea of “Woman standing with the law”. The Committee was made up of judges from the Court of King’s Bench and the Alberta Court of Justice, Crown prosecutors, defence counsel, Indigenous groups, restorative justice service providers and other community stakeholders. Through extensive collaborative work, a referral Framework was developed to guide consistent and transparent decision making by Crown prosecutors in relation to making referrals to restorative justice processes. This session will provide a brief background of the work done by the Committee, and will focus on the role of the Crown in decision making within the parameters of the Alberta Courts’ Restorative Justice Pilot Project.

Restorative Practices in Edmonton Catholic Schools

Gina Daus and Donita Large


A key strategy in Edmonton Catholic School’s Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism (EDIAR)

Strategic Plan is to commit to a transformative approach when addressing discrimination in order to rebuild good relations through accountability. Over the last two school years we have engaged in professional learning through the International Institute for Restorative Practices to build capacity across all schools and sites in utilizing a restorative approach. We are implementing strategies across the continuum from proactive restorative practices to the facilitation of formal restorative conferences. Our lead Restorative Conference Facilitator group is comprised of staff from our Family School Liaison Team, Indigenous Learning Services Team and the EDIAR team. Join this session to hear how one school division has been working towards building a division wide restorative culture through an intentional professional development plan.

Re-imagining Family Justice – A Community Collaboration Underway in Grande Prairie, Alberta


Diana Lowe and Justice Rod Jerke

In Canada there has been a longstanding concern about the family justice system. We know that it is not working for families and in fact, can do more harm than good.

Alberta’s Reforming the Family Justice System initiative (RFJS) is working to transform the family justice system in Alberta, based on brain science and Adverse Childhood Experiences. The RFJS is a broad collaboration working to refocus the system on the outcome of family well-being. This is essentially about reducing harm, building skills and ensuring supports are in place to assist families to heal and to thrive.

Since March of 2020 the RFJS has been working with collaborators in the community of Grande Prairie, which has become a demonstration community for the initiative. Collaborators include family lawyers, mediators, collaborative practitioners, restorative justice practitioners, Family and Community Support Services representatives, Native Counselling Services of Alberta staff, police, Crown, Family Court Counsellors, domestic and sexual violence organizations, the RFJS Co-Conveners and Co-Leads, and more.

Presenters will share the brain science foundation that informs the RFJS, how it relates to family matters; strategies the community has developed to shift the pathways in family matters, and changes that are underway including:

  • exploring a new model for divorce,

  • a possible court pilot, and

  • using restorative approaches in domestic violence situations.


Join us to learn more about the RFJS, to discussion the possibilities of incorporating restorative approaches in family matters, and to find out about becoming involved in the transformational change underway in Alberta’s family justice system.

Alternatives to Formal Justice: Placing Canada's Use of Restorative Practices in Comparative Context

Dr. Daniel Alati, Dr. McKay White, Arlan Delisle

There is no shortage of academic material or professional practice work related to the topic of restorative justice and the need for alternatives to the systems of formal justice in Canada or in comparable jurisdictions abroad. That said, research on the use of restorative practices that extend into our legal contexts outside of just the criminal justice system is not as well developed. The presenters will present the preliminary results of a McEwan University funded Strategic Research Grant, a collaboration between the Department of Sociology, the School of Business and the Alberta John Howard Society.

Each presenter will speak to a different aspect of the project work, namely:

1. The comparative use of restorative practices around the world.

2. How restorative practices can fill in the access to justice gap in a variety of legal and quasi legal contexts.

3. The nexium between restorative practices an indigenous self governance and self determination.

Shifting Focus: How Restorative Justice Can Create Inclusive Communities and Reduce Risk

Dr. Monetta Bailey

This workshop explores the transformative nature of restorative justice. Previous research has revealed that racialized and immigrant youth do not experience the benefits of restorative justice programs in the same manner as other youth. For these racialized and/or immigrant youth RJ does not hold up to its promise of transformation. Newcomer, and racialized youth encounter difficulties connecting to a community with which they have few bonds prior to offending. In addition, when considering transformation, many restorative justice programs focus on transforming the youth and their families, however, many have commented on the fact that there is little emphasis on transformation, the community and their views on diverse youth. This paper presents data collected through observations and interviews highlighting a program in Edmonton AB. The program under study provides integrative services for newcomers while also establishing relationships between them and other Canadians to demonstrate how the transformative focus of RJ can also function as a preventative strategy. The population served by this program represents those who are from a community at a higher risk of offending. By fostering bonds between newcomers and this larger community. This program demonstrates how RJ can serve to reduce risks of offending, rather than focusing only on reducing reoffending.

From the Ground Up: Educating for Restorative Justice in Central Alberta

Becky Wylie-Jardine and Dr. Carrie Dennett

Founded in 2018, the Justice Studies program at Red Deer Polytechnic incorporates Restorative Justice (RJ) principles and practices into both curriculum and the approach taken to teaching and learning in the classroom. In this presentation we explore the evolution of RJ within post-secondary education, drawing on the RDP Justice Studies Program as a case study to demonstrate how RJ is envisioned and taught as a subject, as well as how RJ links our program, faculty, students, and graduates to the community through applied practice.

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