Respect for, and confidence in, the criminal justice system is directly related to social justice policy that is effective, just and humane. To encourage the development of these characteristics, we have a continuing presence and involvement in the field of reform and policy development. The John Howard Society is interested in the relationship between correctional policy, criminal justice policy and other areas of social policy generally. We are aware of the fact that policy initiatives in other areas can have profound effects on the criminal justice system. We are concerned, therefore, that policy-makers consider the implications for criminal justice, and in particular, corrections, when they revise or draft a policy. The Society has a long history of commitment, involvement and knowledge in this field and can keep policy-makers in touch with the practical implications of policy. We can bring to their work our broad-based experience and knowledge in community-based corrections and justice.

The John Howard Society has actively participated in consultative forums of government and made submissions to legislative committees with respect to sentencing, conditional release, crime prevention, restorative justice, and young offenders. The John Howard Society of Canada’s advice and expertise is regularly sought out by a variety of government, voluntary and professional organizations.

Community Education

The Society supports the provincial offices and local branches in their community education efforts through the publication and distribution of information, support for community forums and the facilitation of discussion throughout the Society as a whole on relevant issues.

A significant aspect of the society’s education mandate at both the national and provincial levels, is research and public policy development on justice issues.

The national organization has accumulated a library of peer-reviewed best evidence on correctional and criminal justice policy, including primary research, Senate and House of Commons submissions, and links to various related resources. Some of the larger provincial societies are also significantly involved in a broad range of research activity designated to promote and enhance the society’s mandate. The Ontario website, for example, has a large database of information on current criminal justice policy issues.


The John Howard Society of Canada is responsible for the administration of the national grant which is received by the Society from the Public Safety Canada. This includes the receipt and distribution of funds to the qualifying provincial societies as well as the collection and compilation of all information and documentation required for the submission of the application for the grant.

The John Howard Society of Canada provides administrative support and advice to provincial offices and local branches as required.


The John Howard Society of Canada successfully negotiated a comprehensive national insurance policy which provides optional coverage to John Howard Societies which meet minimum standard requirements and which comply with National Policies which have been developed and approved by the membership. These include: “National Risk Management Policies”, and “Preparation for and Responses to Serious Incidents”.


The John Howard Society of Canada holds the registered patent for the name “John Howard Society”.