History

The Mediation & Restorative Justice Centre is a not-for-profit, community-based charitable organization that was established in May 2000 through the merger of the Edmonton Community Mediation Society and the Edmonton Victim Offender Mediation Society. The visionary leaders of the two organizations came together, and what emerged was the beginning of a new way to provide services to the community.

Since 2000, MRJC has grown and continues to offer a variety of services to address community needs. MRJC works collaboratively with government bodies, community groups and individual citizens to respond to emerging needs.

The Edmonton Community Mediation Society

The Edmonton Community Mediation Society was first offered in 1986 as a pilot program to serve needs of residents in the west end. Based on the success of the pilot, steps began to create a permanent city-wide service. The seed for this program was planted at the mediation Outlook Conference held in Edmonton in 1985. A highlight of the conference was a presentation on the Community Boards Program that had been running in San Francisco for over 10 years. The first Board of Directors was elected in November 1989. Volunteerism was at the heart of the program. Community members received professional-level training that was valuable not only in their work with the program but also in other community-based volunteer activities. From 1987 until 1999 mediation services were offered citywide in partnership with the City of Edmonton Family and Community Services. City staff were convinced that development of a program that helped neighbours and neighbourhoods communicate about differences so that they could take responsibility for resolving their own conflicts was an ideal community development activity. This program not only offered a valuable service to the citizens of Edmonton but played an important role in the development of the Alberta justice Civil Claims program in 1997.

The Edmonton Victim Offender Mediation Society

The Edmonton Victim Offender Mediation Society (EVOMS) was first introduced in 1994 as a pilot project involving three community agencies (Edmonton John Howard Society, Elizabeth Fry Society and Community Justice Ministries) supported by a grant from the Muttart Foundation. In 1997 the project became a non-profit society and the first Board of Directors was elected. EVOMS delivered services from 1994 predominantly in first offence, post-charge/pre-adjudication referrals with domestic violence clients accounting for up to half of the caseload. In addition to providing direct services EVOMS was active in promoting and fostering the development of restorative justice in Alberta. In 1998 EVOMS submitted recommendations to the Alberta Summit on Justice which was made possible by the support of the Alberta Law Foundation. This work was undertaken for the organization by by Susan Sharpe and Lynn PrishIn. 1998 EVOMS and Susan Sharpe collaborated to publish Restorative Justice: A Vision for Healing and Change. This book was and continues to be of interest and benefit to a wide variety of people and organizations.