This paper critically explores the potential of restorative justice processes to address corporate wrongdoing, including criminal and regulatory offences by corporations, in Canada. Criminal liability on the part of corporations has a long history of being provided for under Canadian criminal law. The Criminal Code of Canada, in section 2, defines “every one”, “person” and “owner” to include “public bodies, bodies corporate, societies, companies”. However, reaching a verdict that a corporation has committed a crime is a more complicated process than making the same findings about a natural person, and meting out meaningful consequences in sentencing a corporation is still more difficult. Obtaining meaningful redress for regulatory violations is also difficult. This paper specifically considers the potential criminal and regulatory liability of oil and gas companies for environmental harms. Working from the example of Environmental Justice Forums now being used as a restorative measure in the Canadian province of British Columbia, this paper critically assesses problems with, and considers the potential of, using restorative justice principles as frameworks around which to design mechanisms to govern the conduct of large corporations in the Canadian context.
Corporate Crime, Regulatory Liability of Corporations, Environmental Regulation, Restorative Justice