Restorative Engagement program

The Sexual Misconduct Support and Resource Centre (SMSRC) Restorative Engagement (RE) program provides flexible options for members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF)-Department of National Defence (DND) Sexual Misconduct Class Action Settlement to share aspects of their experience, impacts and/or insights as they relate to sexual misconduct in the CAF and DND.

In an effort to keep class members informed about the program, we have been sending updates via email or mail based on the contact information provided on their claim form. For those who have not received them, we have published the class member updates online.

Be a Defence representative in the SMSRC Restorative Engagement program (only available on the National Defence network) to support the Defence Team’s transformation to a respectful and inclusive community in which everyone can thrive.

On this page

About the Restorative Engagement program

The RE program was mandated through the Canadian Armed Forces-Department of National Defence Sexual Misconduct Class Action Final Settlement. The program was designed and developed by the SMSRC.

The program creates opportunities and environments:

Program development and implementation

A dedicated RE program team within the SMSRC designed and developed the program in collaboration with:

The SMSRC officially launched the RE program in its initial operating capability (IOC) on November 15, 2021. During this phase, the program contacted a small group of class members to participate. In January 2022, the first groups of Defence representatives began working in cohorts with restorative practitioners to prepare for and support engagements with class members. This was the first of several rounds of engagements that will continue until 2026.

Program team

The RE program team is composed of the following:

Each regional program coordinator has a positional mailbox:

A restorative approach to justice

The RE program applies a restorative approach to help CAF/DND to contribute to culture change.

Principles of a restorative approach

Focused on relations

Puts people and their relationships, to one another, between groups and with institutions, at the centre. A restorative approach places the emphasis on addressing harm and establishing or re-establishing justice and trust in relationships (this means characterized by mutual dignity, respect, care and concern).

Comprehensive and holistic

Works in integrated ways and looks for the connections between issues, causes, circumstances, and culture.

Inclusive and participatory

Including and empowering those with lived experience, being open and transparent with them about options and limitations, honouring choices for how they would like to participate, and removing barriers to access.


Being flexible and adaptable in all of our work so as to be responsive to participants’ needs, objectives, and circumstances and the context within which the program exists.

Focused on individual and collective responsibility

Pays attention to the ways in which the system affects individuals and the ways in which individuals affect the system. Defence representatives take responsibility for change in their daily roles and also work with each other and the institution to address structural factors that contribute to harm.

Collaborative and non-adversarial

Looks at bringing people into the process and working towards a common goal rather than working against one another.

Safety and confidentiality

The SMSRC Restorative Engagement (RE) program does not facilitate communication between individuals affected and those who affected them. Instead, it involves representatives of the institution in which the harm occurred. The program also provides support services and resources to participants.

RE is confidential as participation in, and information shared within the program are confidential, within legal limitations. If you choose to share your experience(s), you may do so anonymously. This sharing can take many different forms and will only be submitted with your consent. All personal information is handled in accordance with the Privacy Act.

The RE program is outside the CAF chain of command and the investigation process. Participation in the program is not part of any administrative, disciplinary or criminal process.

Exception to the Duty to Report

An exception to the Duty to Report is in effect “in the context of a restorative engagement program”. Without this exception, the duty to report would require CAF representatives in the program to report incidents of wrongdoing, regardless of whether the affected person is ready or wants to report them.

This exception helps to ensure that others are not reporting on their behalf. Likewise, it ensures that CAF members who are Defence representatives are not put in a position by the Duty to Report to report an incident of wrongdoing regardless of whether the person affected wants to report it.

Class members who are or were DND public service employees are not bound by the CAF Duty to Report.

Read the May 25, 2022 News Release announcing this exception.

Class members

If you are a class member and wish to participate in the SMSRC RE program but did not indicate this on your claim form, you must send a written request to the claims administrator at within 30 days of the date of your initial claim decision. Once you have indicated your interest in the program, participation is completely voluntary, and you can change your mind about participating at any time.

The RE program does not facilitate communication between class members and those who directly affected them.

What to expect

There are different ways in which class members may share their experiences and insights related to sexual misconduct.

As part of RE, class members may choose any or all of the following:

These options may be done:

Restorative practitioners facilitate communications with class members and help them prepare through individual sessions before engagements. Class members are in control of the information they provide and what they choose to share.

Phases of the Restorative Engagement process

Phase 1

Once class members have decided to participate in the program, they will meet their restorative practitioner and learn more about the:

Restorative practitioners will also guide class members to:

Class members will not be asked to share their sexual misconduct experience.

Phase 2

In this phase, their restorative practitioner will guide them to:

Class members may choose to participate in different ways, for different purposes and their engagement overall can include different process options.

Phase 3

In this phase, class members will be invited to:

If their goals and objectives have not been met, they may discuss their goals and objectives in order to determine whether next steps are taken to meet them.

If their goals and objectives were met, they may share their feedback, validate how they want their input to be used and discuss their expectations regarding maintaining a connection with the program in order to obtain updates on the program, and potentially participate in research or consultations with respect to culture change.

It may take some time for class members to be able to confirm with certainty that the program has met their goals and objectives, therefore, with their consent, the restorative practitioner will explore options to follow up with them sometime after the process.

Class member updates

Read the latest updates sent to class members who have expressed an interest to participate in the Restorative Engagement program.

Defence representatives

Defence representatives are CAF members and DND public service employees who acknowledge and learn from the experiences and insights of those who have been harmed by sexual misconduct in order to contribute to culture change in a meaningful and tangible way.

In volunteering in the program, Defence representatives commit to:

Defence representatives participate in groups of six to eight called a cohort. Diversity and inclusion are core principles of this program therefore we encourage participation from people of diverse ranks and levels, professions, backgrounds, and identity factors. Full-time cohorts will meet daily for 12 weeks, and part-time cohorts will meet on a week-on/week-off rotation for 25 weeks, either virtually, in person, or a mix of both. Cohort work happens with the guidance and support of restorative practitioners. Defence representatives are essential agents of culture change that class members expect will occur through RE. To this end, Defence representative participation in the program has been carefully designed, using a restorative approach, to maximize Defence representative learning, planning and action, in real time.

Defence representatives will typically engage with class members. Engagement sessions are one of several ways of learning in this program about sexual misconduct; they will have many opportunities to learn from class members’ experiences throughout the program (readings, videos, CM submissions, etc.).

Engagement sessions with class members are organized and facilitated by restorative practitioners and may be in-person, virtual or indirect, as an individual or in a group.

For more information and to send in a nomination to become a Defence representative, visit the Defence Team Intranet page.

The Defence leadership’s role

Members of the CAF chain of command and DND executives and management support implementation of the program by:

Restorative practitioners

Restorative practitioners are DND public service employees. They do not have a Duty to Report and are independent from the CAF chain of command.

Working with Defence representatives

Two restorative practitioners are assigned to guide each cohort of Defence representatives through their participation, including facilitating reflection, dialogue, learning, understanding, skills building, preparation, and planning for action. They facilitate processes to identify lessons learned about sexual misconduct, the RE program, and solutions for change, and build capacity for Defence representatives to know and do better after they complete their participation in the program.

Working with class members

One restorative practitioner is assigned to each class member to facilitate their participation in the program, including coordinating, preparing and facilitating class member engagement processes. Two restorative practitioners can be assigned to one class member, depending on the person’s needs.

Support services and resources

Participating in the program can be very rewarding, and it can also be difficult. The restorative practitioner(s) assigned to you will support you through the process and can refer you to other support services and resources, depending on your needs.

At any time, you can contact the Sexual Misconduct Support and Resource Centre’s 24/7 confidential support line (1-844-750-1648) to reach a counsellor who has been briefed on the RE program and who is dedicated to providing support and connecting class members, Defence Team members and restorative practitioners to support services.

Support can also come from a support person that may be present during engagement and other stages of participation. Defence representatives can also reach out to other members of their cohort or to their management for support.

Information sessions

Attend an information session to learn more about what to expect as a class member or as a future Defence representative.

Send us feedback

As a participant in the RE program, you may raise your concerns, complaints, or feedback regarding your participation, such as:

When we receive complaints, we will attempt to resolve them at the lowest level possible, to support timeliness in resolution. If your concerns have not been resolved to your satisfaction, you have a right of review which means that your complaint can be escalated to the next level of authority for a review of the circumstances and a resolution.

A written submission is preferred, and can be submitted to:

We will acknowledge receipt of a complaint sent electronically within two business days. If your complaint is sent by mail, it may take longer than two business days depending on when we receive it. We will ensure that the complaint is sent to the appropriate person. Your complaint will be responded to within 30 business days.

Our response will include the name, role and contact information of who the complaint can be further elevated to if the complaint is not resolved to your satisfaction.

For more information

Call us or send us an email if you still have questions about the Restorative Engagement program:

Toll-free: 1-833-998-2048

Note: All calls to the Restorative Engagement program toll-free number are automatically transferred to the Sexual Misconduct Support and Resource Centre’s 24/7 line, where a counsellor can speak with you about Restorative Engagement and other support services and resources available.

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