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Restorative Practices

The Center's Restorative Practices program offers City employees a creative opportunity to transform the impact of conflict on relationships and work teams.

The program is based on a theory of justice that focuses on the harm caused in a conflict and emphasizes the repair of that harm through collaborative processes that includes all impacted stakeholders. The word "Restorative" places value on repairing and restoring relationships that have been impacted by miscommunication, misunderstandings and conflict with the intention to transform and heal those relationships.

At the Center, we draw from various indigenous practices that are used around the world including: Canada's First Nation's People, the Maori people in New Zealand and the Navajo Peacemaking traditions of the North Americas.

City employees and teams have the opportunity to shape a needs-appropriate and collective response to workplace conflict.  Some examples of these processes are:

The Circle Process

The Circle Process is used to improve collaboration, foster harmony and camaraderie among colleagues, repair relationships and manage or resolve conflict.  Incorporating exercises that develop a shared foundation of values and guidelines, the Circle Process creates the opportunity to have a different kind of conversation.  This process places importance on looking forward and strengthening work relationships. It is an effective way to re-engage employees, boost morale and improve team dynamics. It can also help to align the goals of a team to the mission and vision of an organization.  

If you are interested in building your own capacity to hold circles, please contact us.

Restorative Practices
A centerpiece that is placed in the middle of the circle is sometimes used in the process.

Community Conferencing Process

The Community Conferencing process is used to repair a particular harm caused by one person to another. The process provides an opportunity for the victim of harm to be directly involved in the discussion of their experience, for the offender to have an increased understanding of the impact of their behavior and take full responsibility for their actions. In this process, both victim and offender are asked to invite others to support them. With the help of those supporters and a trained facilitator, the group explores the various impacts of the harm, designs actions the offender can take and plan ways everyone can take reduce future harm.