The Restorative Justice Society – North Okanagan (RJSNO) and Canadian Mental Health
Association Vernon and District Branch (CMHA Vernon), are releasing the following joint
statement regarding Restorative Justice Services for the Vernon/North Okanagan area.

Restorative Justice programming in our community provides important services to people
harmed by crime, as well as their families, friends and the broader population. For years,
Restorative Justice Services have been provided by the Restorative Justice Society – North
Okanagan (RJSNO), and will soon be operated as part of Canadian Mental Health
Association Vernon and District (CMHA Vernon).

Following significant discussions and planning, on November 4, 2020, in a Special
Resolution Meeting the RJSNO Board of Directors obtained approval and direction on the
dissolution and wind up of the RJSNO from its Membership.

“Our longstanding partnership with CMHA Vernon gives us great confidence that the
mission and mandate of Restorative Justice Services in our community will not only
continue, but grow to best serve the needs of our diverse community,” said Wendy Adams, RJSNO President.

The dissolution and wind up of the RJSNO will be in effect by December 31, 2020 and in
accordance to the Societies Act of British Columbia the RJSNO will transfer the Restorative
Justice Services, staff and assets to CMHA Vernon.

“As a small and powerful agency, RJSNO has done great work,” said Julia Payson, CMHA
Vernon Executive Director. “CMHA looks forward to continuing this valuable communitybased resource and is committed to ensuring there will be little to no interruption of Restorative Justice Services during the transition period.”

A key factor to any success in providing restorative justice programs in our community is
having the right leader.

“CMHA Vernon is very excited to work with Margaret Clark, in her role as Manager of
Restorative Justice, and to have the staff and volunteer contingent maintained,” said Payson.
Clark has led Restorative Justice Services in the North Okanagan for the past 14 years.

“I am excited to join CMHA Vernon,” said Clark. “Having restorative justice closely
integrated into mental health services helps foster community cohesion in safe, inclusive
spaces where we can enhance understanding, healing and growth for those impacted by harm
and those who have caused harm to others.”

About Restorative Justice Society – North Okanagan
The RJSNO was incorporated in November 2011 and provides Restorative Services within
the Vernon/North Okanagan RCMP Detachment Area. The 1st referral –received at the then
North Okanagan Restorative Justice Program– was in January 2006. To date there have been
close to 350 referrals. The RJSNO provides a safe and supportive place for those seeking to
address the impact of wrong-doing (criminal or non-criminal) as a non-court alternative.

Referrals are received primarily through the RCMP and other referrals sources, such as,
schools, schools districts, and ICBC. CMHA Vernon has always been a vital resource to
Restorative Justice Services and this transfer will strengthen our abilities to address an ongoing increase in referrals where mental health, substance use and poverty-related issues
have been a factor for the person harmed, person who caused harm and/or family

About CMHA Vernon & District Branch
Founded in 1959, CMHA Vernon & District has been saving and changing lives while
improving mental health in our community. CMHA provides programs and services for
individuals and families of all ages across the spectrum of mental health with approximately
600 people monthly receiving support, education and rehabilitation.

To learn more about the Canadian Mental Health Association Vernon Branch or to make a
donation to improve mental health in our community, visit the CMHA website or call 250-542-3114.

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