C O A C H E S
Akbar Ebrahim is an Accredited Mediator and a Master Trainer certified by the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR), London, England in 2013 and accredited Family Mediator certified by the OAFM Ontario in 2014.
Akbar was appointed by the His Highness Aga Khan on the Regional Conciliation and Arbitration Board (RCAB) for Ontario as Mediator in 1999. He served as Mediator for 6 years and in 2005 he was appointed Chairperson of the Board for 7 years until 2012.
Akbar has mediated over 150 matrimonial, commercial and Wills/Estate related disputes and during his term as Chairperson of the Ontraio RCAB, he managed over 400 cases.
Akbar is also B.Comm, C.A. (finalist) from London, England and Certified Fraud Examiner from USA from 1997 to 2015. He speaks English, Urdu, Bengali, Gujerati and Hindi.
Lisa Eisen is a seasoned family law lawyer and a certified professional coach. After law school, Lisa spent the first few years working the dispute resolution field, training others to negotiate and mediate. Lisa offers her family law services “a la carte”, which means that she helps people who represent themselves with specific pieces of their family law situation. Whether Lisa is working with a client by drafting court material, helping them navigate the family law system, or preparing their financial information, she does it from the perspective of empowering people to take control of their unique experience and their future.
Gregg Fenten has a long history of assisting and supporting individuals and groups in all types of relationships from his work in community mediation/development. He is an accredited family mediator and also works in private practice with all types of relationships. As an independent practitioner, he works as an Information and Referral Coordinator at Family Court and with York University’s Certificate in Dispute Resolution. Certificate in Family Mediation and Advanced Certificate in Dispute Resolution Programs. His work also involves writing funding proposals and developing and implementing community projects.
He provides coaching and mentoring of mediators along with private training. Since February 2005 he has produced and hosted radio program Mediation Station on CHHA 1610 AM in Toronto and also is the CHHA Volunteer Coordinator for the NonSpanish Speaking Community.
Mediation Station is heard live each Sunday from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. EST either at 1610 AM on the radio dial, at www.chha1610am.ca or at Rogers Digital Cable Channel 951. Podcasts are available by going to www.soundcloud.com and searching under Mediation Station.
Caroline Felstiner is an accredited family mediator, child protection mediator and a registered social worker. Caroline has worked with children and parents in a variety of capacities including as a child protection worker and Roots of Empathy instructor. Caroline also works as a family professional in collaborative family law cases. Caroline’s calm, problem-solving approach ensures that parents’ contributions to their children’s lives are respected and carried forward even after separation or divorce.
Cindy Holovac Leithead is an Accredited Family Mediator, a Child Protection Mediator on the Ontario Roster, and a Parenting Coordinator who also provides Circle Mediation and Counseling. Cindy draws on 25 years of experience supporting individuals from diverse backgrounds dealing with difficulties or disputes in or outside of the justice system.
Robyn Hurley is an accredited family mediator and experienced family lawyer. Robyn offers mediation services in all aspects of family law. She is also a panel lawyer of the Office of the Children’s Lawyer, representing the views and preferences of children in custody and access, and child protection cases.
Robyn has over six years of experience in family law, and has represented individuals in divorce proceedings, as well as both parents, and the Children’s Aid Society, in child protection proceedings. She has also provided legal services to the public as a family duty and advice counsel. Robyn employs an interest-based, collaborative approach to settling cases whenever suitable, which clients appreciate for the increased input in the process, cost-savings, and de-escalation of conflict.
Seema Jain (B.SW., M.SW., LL.B. Acc. FM, CP, MED, PC).
With a background in social work, Seema practices as a Collaborative Family Law Lawyer, is a member of the Office of the Children’s Lawyer’s legal panel and acts as a Parenting Co-ordinator. She conducts child protection mediations, and full comprehensive family law mediations. (Jain Family Law and Mediation)
Zahra Khedri is an Accredited Mediator (certified by the OAFM Ontario in 2015), a graduate of Kabul University, with a B.A. Degree in Law, and a graduate of McGill University, with a Degree in Civil and Common Law.
In May 2006, Zahra was called to the Ontario Bar, where she practiced family law and immigration and refugee law as an associate with Kerr and Associates, and since 2011, as a sole practitioner. Zahra served as member and mediator with the Aga Khan Conciliation & Arbitration Board for Ontario from 2009 to 2015. Currently, Zahra is a member of the Aga Khan National Conciliation and Arbitration Board (2015-2018).
Christine Kim specializes in custody and access issues with high conflict families, development of parenting plans, and parent and teen relations. She is on the roster for mediate393, and is a Clinical Member with the Ontario Children’s Lawyer (OCL). She has recently started to teach in the areas of family mediation, high conflict and culture.
Christine has over twenty years’ experience in the Social Work Field, working with diverse groups, ranging from street kids to seniors, both locally and globally. She is an Accredited Family Mediator with the Ontario Association of Family Mediation (OAFM) and a Child Protection Mediator on the Ontario roster. She is presently on the Board of Directors of OAFM.
Anthony Macri is a family law lawyer who practices family law and child protection law, representing parents, children and child protection agencies.
Joanne Schaefer is an accredited family mediator with the Ontario Association for Family Mediation. Previously, Joanne was a partner and practiced civil commercial litigation for a large Canadian firm. She is also a certified coach and recent graduate of Certified Applied Positive Psychology. As a former lawyer with a civil based practice, Joanne brings over 20 years’ experience to her mediation practice.
Joel Skapinker (B.A., LL.B., LL.M., Acc. FM) has many years of experience practicing family law, currently with Skapinker & Shapiro.
Nicole Stewart Kamanga is a lawyer and an Accredited Family Mediator. Prior to entering her legal career, Nicole worked as a Children’s Advocate in a women’s shelter, providing individual and group counseling to the children and their mothers.
Shelley Stirling-Boyes is an Associate with Agree Incorporated. She specializes in providing family mediation, with a focus on developing creative parenting plans and providing parties with strategies that will enable them to maintain a successful parenting relationship. Her practice also includes designing and delivering customized conflict management, communication and interest-based negotiation training, conducting workplace assessments and conflict management coaching. Shelley has been involved in court-based mediation programs since 1999. She is a roster Mediator for Peel Family Mediation Services and provides training for mediation interns. She is a regular presenter for the Ministry of the Attorney General’s Mandatory Information Program
Her academic background is in the field of Psychology, having completed a B.A. Honours with a major in Psychology and a minor in Business Administration from the University of Guelph. Shelley earned a Diploma in Family Mediation from McMaster University receiving an award of Academic Excellence. She completed a mediation internship at the Ontario Court of Justice in Brampton, Ontario. She received Conflict Management Coaching training through Cinergy and Facilitation Skills training through the Institute of Cultural Affairs. She is an Accredited Family Mediator and Vice-Chair of the Conflict Management Coaching Special Interest Section of the ADR Institute of Ontario. She is a member in good standing of ADRIO and the Ontario Association of Family Mediation.
Heather Swartz (M.S.W.) is a partner with Agree Incorporated. She provides civil, workplace and family mediation, delivers customized conflict management training, facilitates Partnering workshops, conducts workplace assessments, restorations and investigations, and provides conflict coaching.
In her private family mediation practice she has mediated how and when to separate, parenting plans, child and spousal support, division of property, as well as specific issues around parenting communication plans, access to information, estate and intergenerational issues. As a Supervisor with Peel Family Mediation Services at the A. Grenville and William Davis Courthouse, Ontario Court of Justice (Family), in Brampton since 2002 she has mediated high-conflict, complex and culturally diverse custody, access and support cases.
Brook Thorndycraft is a current intern with Riverdale Mediation Ltd., and has been working in community work and education for the last 12 years. She currently works as a Professor in the Community Worker Program at George Brown College, and as a Counselor with Toronto Public Health. She also works in private practice as a Conflict Resolution Consultant with individuals, families, and non-profit organizations. She encourages people to understand conflict as an opportunity for change and growth, and supports them to develop their emotional capacity and practical skills in order to deal with conflict more successfully. She provides skills building workshops, organizational development and conflict resolution, and one-on-one coaching. Brook has training and experience in popular education methods, restorative justice, and mediation, and brings her community-based experience into her conflict resolution work.
Liz Waisberg is a registered therapist and accredited family mediator with a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Toronto. She also holds a Bachelor of Social Work degree from Ryerson University. Liz has extensive clinical experience working in hospital-based settings since 2001. She has worked as a clinical social worker in the Emergency Department and in Mental Health settings working with children, adults and families. Liz has also worked in the mental health field providing support and crisis intervention to individuals and families struggling with issues such as depression, anxiety, chronic pain and grief. Most recently she has been working with individuals who have experienced trauma or sustained traumatic brain injuries.
Daniella Wald is a family law lawyer practicing in Toronto with a focus on Alternative Dispute Resolution. She is an Accredited Family Mediator (OAFM) and trained in Collaborative Practice. Daniella sits on the Board of Collaborative Practice Toronto and on the steering committee for the Family Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario (FDRIO).
G U E S T S P E A K E R S
Dr. Barbara Benoliel (Ph.D.) is a professional mediator, and facilitator specializing in and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in organizations. She holds degrees in Psychology, Organizational Behaviour, and Criminal Justice. She is the President of Preferred Solutions. Her practice area is in civil and criminal mediation, restorative justice, group facilitation, governance, dispute resolution and system design with family owned businesses, partnerships, large companies, institutions and not-for-profits, governments and unions. She is an original member of the roster of mediators of the Superior Court of Ontario, Toronto, and of the Bank of Nova Scotia.
In her career, she has combined practice with advancing knowledge in the field. She is a course developer and leader at York University in the Alternative Dispute Resolution Certificate Program and at Schulich School of Business, in the department of policy, under the Tannenbaum Chair of Family Enterprise. As well she is a professor of Criminal Justice in the School of Social Sciences at Walden University in Minneapolis Minnesota. She has lectured at Osgoode Law School, Simon Fraser University, Ryerson University, and the University of Calgary. Her current area of focus in research is in the practices and processes of Restorative Justice in intimate partner violence and workplace violence. Barbara is a member of the Advisory Committee for the Integrated Domestic Violence Court in Toronto. She is the Past President of the ADR Institute of Ontario, President of Just People, a justice advocacy collective, and has served as a member of the Board of Canadian Association for Family Enterprise, and the Research Ethics Board of the Hospital for Sick Children.
Thomas Dart was called to the Bar of Ontario in April, 1976. He is a partner at Barriston LLP, Barrie. Tom has practiced exclusively in the area of family law and family law related estate matters since 1982. He has been a mediator since 1997 and is Accredited as such with the Ontario Association of Family Mediation (OAFM). Tom is also a family arbitrator. He is past President of the Family Law Section of the Ontario Bar Association, past President of OAFM and the current Past President of Family Mediation Canada. He has been a speaker at numerous continuing education programs.
Nneka MacGregor is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Women’s Centre for Social Justice, better known as the WomenatthecentrE, a nonprofit organization created by and for women survivors of gendered violence. The organization has over 1,500 members globally, half of whom live in Ontario, and engage in advocacy to ensure that social policies and practice are informed by and responsive to the needs of women fleeing violence and their children. As an advocate who works with government and other organizations to eradicate violence against women, Nneka sits on a number of advisory and governance Boards and Committees, including the Toronto Police Domestic Violence Advisory Committee and the Violence against Women & Legal Aid Ontario Consultation group.
In 2007, she was part of an expert panel appointed by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, the Domestic Violence Advisory Council, to provide advice to the government on ways to improve existing systems of supports and services for abused women and their children. The Report, Transforming our Communities: Report from the Domestic Violence Advisory Council for the Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues, remains a critical piece which continues to inform government policy.
Nneka devotes a lot of her time to volunteering, including as a Trustee on the Board of the Girl Child Network Worldwide, a UK based Charity that focuses on empowerment of the girl child through education and the eradication of practices that impede their full physical, emotional and spiritual growth and development. She is also Past-Chair of the Moatfield Foundation Board of Bayview Glen School, a role she played for six years. Nneka is the proud mother of three awesome children.
Ken Nathens is the founding and managing partner of Nathens, Siegel, a Toronto law firm dedicated exclusively to the practice of family law. He was called to the Ontario Bar in 1994. Ken holds both a Civil Law degree and a Common Law degree from McGill University where he graduated in 1992 with Upper Class Honours. Ken has experience in all areas of family law, including negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and court litigation. He has been certified to represent clients in collaborative negotiation since 2002.He has extensive litigation experience and has been involved in trials relating to such issues as child custody, the mobility rights of parents, imputing income under the Child Support Guidelines, and the rights of adoptive parents under child welfare legislation. He has recently appeared before the Ontario Court of Appeal arguing on behalf of clients in relation to property and financial disclosure issues. Ken has written extensively on family law issues, including articles published in Divorce Magazine dealing with such issues as the Potential Perils of Collaborative Family Law and vacations in the family law context. He has offered frequent lectures on family law issues for members and staff of the Ontario Federation of Labour. In 2010, Ken was certified by the Law Society of Upper Canada as a specialist in the practice of family law. He was also appointed a Dispute Resolution Officer of the Ontario Superior Court (Family Division) in Newmarket where he assists litigants to narrow or resolve issues in the early stages of court proceedings.
Nicholas Bala is a professor at the Faculty of Law at Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada. He has law degrees from Queen’s and Harvard. He is an expert in Family and Children’s Law, focussing on such issues as juvenile justice, child witnesses, divorce, domestic violence and the legal definition of the family. He has been a consultant on youth justice issues to the Canada’s federal government and to aboriginal groups, and has been a witness before Parliamentary Committees dealing with youth justice reform. He is a member of the Youth Justice Education Planning Committee of Canada’s National Judicial Institute, and is a volunteer at a local youth diversion programme. He is the author of numerous articles on youth justice, and recently coedited Juvenile Justice Systems: An International Comparison of Problems and Solutions (Toronto: Thompson Educational, 2002.
Tom Bastedo (Q.C. Ph.D., Cert.F. Arb.) is a certified specialist in family law and certified family arbitrator, has taught at the University of Toronto, Osgoode Hall Law School and Atkinson College, on a full time and part-time basis, and lectured extensively on the subjects of mediation, mediation/arbitration and arbitration in Ontario family law both nationally and internationally. He carries on an active family law practice and was the first Chair of the Family Law Specialty Certification Committee for the Province of Ontario. In 2004 he received the Kroll Linquist Avey Award For Excellence in Family Law given by the Ontario Bar Association. He has written numerous articles in the field of family law and in the legal and practical aspects of mediation and arbitration in this province.
Adam Black is an associate at Bastedo Stewart Smith where he practices all aspects of family law with particular emphasis on the financial implications of divorce and separation and alternative dispute resolution. Prior to joining Bastedo Stewart Smith, Adam articled with the Ministry of the Attorney General at the Family Responsibility Office. Adam has appeared in Courts throughout the Greater Toronto Area, including the Ontario Court of Justice, Superior Court of Justice and the Court of Appeal for Ontario. Adam has authored and contributed to several papers which have been presented and discussed in various Ontario Bar Association programs. Notably, Adam has prepared a collection of case comments on the issue of judicial intervention in alternative dispute resolution. This work has been included as course materials in various academic and legal education forums. Adam has appeared as a guest speaker at Riverdale Mediation. Adam is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian and Ontario Bar Associations, and the Toronto Lawyers’ Association. Adam is actively involved in the Ontario Bar Association’s Young Lawyers’ Division where he contributes to continuing legal education programs.Adam holds an Honours Bachelor of Commerce from Ryerson University and a Bachelor of Laws from Queen’s University. Adam was called to the Ontario Bar in 2007.
Karen B. K. Chan is a sex and emotional literacy educator in Toronto. She has taught empathy and sex ed for 18+ years. BK works with parents, couples, families, and organizations to improve relationships, resolve conflicts, and reduce relational stress.
Her 5-minute YouTube video “Jam” has received over 70,000 hits and is used as a teaching resource internationally. She recently authored a chapter on sex and creativity in Carl Franken’s anthology, which was named the AASECT Book of the Year in 2014. She has written a number of online articles on emotional intellience and its applications, and is soon to publish a feature article on masuclinity in Sexology International magazine. In 2014, BK was awarded “Service Provider of the Year” by Planned Parenthood of Toronto for her work in sexual health. She will be teaching emotional intelligence and LGBTQ competence to mediators and other professionals at the upcoming AFCC Conference, the U.S. National Sex Ed Conference, and the Creativity Problem Solving Institute.
Trish Crowe has a private practice offering counselling and psychotherapy to individuals, couples and families. Her strong interests are in providing clinical service for children, teenagers, and parents dealing with separation and divorce. Trish is a member of the Clinical Panel of the Office of the Children’s Lawyer, providing clinical investigation and assessment services to lawyers and to the Court in custody and access disputes and in child welfare matters. She has been qualified as an expert witness in the Superior Court of Ontario.
John Crouchman has represented private citizens, insurance companies, lending institutions and small businesses in various legal matters, including matters in all levels of the Ontario Court system. As a General Practitioner and Legal Counsel, he has obtained the wide and varied experience in areas of personal injury litigation, commercial and criminal litigation, real estate, wills, estates, and corporate-commercial matters, necessary to identify and resolve clients’ needs. For the past several years he has been actively involved in dispute resolution as a mediator and as an arbitrator promoting reasonable and more cost-effective alternatives to resolving disputes.
Raheena Dahya (LL.B, LL.M, SPCP Mediator) is the Director of Fair(e) Enough, a violence and conflict resolution consultancy, which offers professional development training, advocacy, research and conflict resolution services.
Her background is in law, having been called to the Bar of England and Wales, with her professional expertise being in domestic violence and specializing in forced marriages and ‘honour’ based violence. Power imbalances and violence prevention are two of her major academic and professional interests. With an international background that has led her to studying and working globally as far as England, Spain and the United Arab Emirates, she has a great sense of cultural diversity and sensitivity, helping to provide clients with pluralistic perspectives on the issues at hand.
Raheena is an accredited SPCP Mediator, a unique mediation designation available in London, England, that requires mediators to learn and use psychotherapeutic and counseling psychology techniques in mediations. She is a passionate proponent of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) processes, and believes that whilst litigation is sometimes the appropriate way to resolve disputes, appropriate parties for ADR processes can benefit in some of the most respectful and empowering forms of dispute resolution.
Cindy Dymond (B.A., LL.B, C.Med., IMI Cert. Med.)
is a lawyer, arbitrator and Chartered Mediator and has worked in conflict resolution for over 20 years. Cindy’s practice has encompassed a very broad range of dispute resolution, conflict management and peacebuilding work, including family conflicts, separation and divorce, court-connected mediation, farm debt and commercial disputes, regulatory matters, facilitation of public interest meetings, energy rate settlement conferences with multiple stakeholders, insurance arbitrations, employment disputes, estates, criminal and restorative justice, community conflict, international and inter-cultural mediation, training, youth development, and the legal aid clinic network.
As well as being a past board member of the ADR Institute of Ontario, Ms Dymond is a former Chair of the Ontario Police Arbitration Commission and former Executive Director of Community Legal Education Ontario. She currently works exclusively as a private mediator and arbitrator, with an emphasis on legal disputes, interpersonal relations, conflict management and peacebuilding, working with clients of all ages and backgrounds, both locally and internationally. She is a certified International Mediator. Ms Dymond is a trainer and Lead Circlekeeper for Peacebuilders International. She volunteers for the Scarborough Conflict Resolution Service, for the Massey Centre for Women and for several community music organizations. She is also researching the connection between music and mediation.
Mary Lou Fassel is the Director of Legal Services at the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic, a non-profit organization that provides multidisciplinary services to women who have been victimized by violence. Ms. Fas
sel has been with the Schlifer Commemorative Clinic since 1987. Prior to joining the Schlifer Clinic, Ms. Fassel had a family law practice centred on defending battered women.
Called to the Ontario Bar in 1983, Ms. Fassel has devoted her entire career to advocating for gender equality and law reform. Ms. Fassel has worked tirelessly to make a difference in the lives of over 3600 women who receive assistance at the Schlifer Clinic each year, acting as an advocate in family law matters and before the courts.
Mary Lou also worked towards gender equality as a member of the Executive Committee of the Feminist Legal Analysis Section during the 1990s.
Faith Feldman has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from McGill University. She graduated from Western Law in 2013. Faith is currently articling at a boutique civil litigation firm in Toronto and she will be called to the Ontario Bar in June 2014. Faith has always been interested in family law and alternate dispute resolution and she has been a member of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts since 2012. During her time at Western Law, Faith participated in Hilary Linton’s intensive Family Law Dispute Resolution course. Faith also volunteered with Pro Bono Students Canada’s Family Law Project where she assisted duty counsel with family law clients at the London courthouse.
Dr. Barbara Jo Fidler (Ph.D., C.Psych., Acc.FM)
Barbara is a registered psychologist and accredited mediator practicing in Ontario, Canada. She maintains a private practice and is a founding member of Family Solutions, a team devoted to working with separated and divorced families. Dr. Fidler provides mediation, arbitration, parenting coordination, and expert court testimony. Her practice also includes child, individual, marital and family therapy and reunification intervention. She provides consultation and training and is on the faculty of the Part-Time LLM (Family Law Specialization) Program at Osgoode Hall Law School, York University. She has been actively involved in the development and training of Parenting Coordination services and was appointed to the AFCC Task Force charged with developing guidelines and standards of practice. Dr. Fidler is currently President-Elect of AFCC Ontario and a member of the High Conflict Forum in Toronto. She is on the editorial board of the Family Court Review and guest co-editor of the January 2010 special issue of the Family Court Review: Alienated Children in Divorce and Separation: Emerging Approaches for Families and Courts. A frequent presenter to the judiciary, family bar and mental health professionals on high conflict families and related topics, Dr. Fidler has published articles and chapters in the areas of separation/divorce, parenting plans and residential schedules, alienation and parenting coordination. She is co-author of three books: Child Custody Assessments: A Resource Guide for Legal and Mental Health Professionals, Challenging Issues in Child Custody Disputes, and A Differential Approach to Children Resisting Post-Separation Contact: A Guide for Legal & Mental Health Professionals.
Cheryl Goldhart has practiced exclusively in the area of family law since she was called to the bar in 1987. She is certified by the Law Society of Upper Canada as a Specialist in Family Law. She specializes in negotiating complex agreements in all areas of family law and litigates in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, the Ontario Court of Justice, and the Court of Appeal. She is also an accomplished mediator and arbitrator. She is the past Chair of the Ontario Bar Association, Family Law Executive, and past member of the Canadian Bar Association (Federal), Family Law Executive. She has worked as a Dispute Resolution Officer at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice for the past 12 years. Cheryl is a past member of the Panel of the Children’s Lawyer of Ontario, representing children in custody, access and child protection cases. She is a member of the Bench and Bar Committee of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Toronto), and the Family Law Committee (Toronto). She has been a family law instructor for the Bar Admission Course of the Law Society of Upper Canada and is a frequent lecturer on various topics in family law. Over her years of practice, Cheryl has written numerous articles for the Bar Admission Course, professional journals, periodicals and magazines. Cheryl has been certified as a “Best Lawyer in Canada” for family law 2008, 2009, and 2010.
Rob Hammond is a lawyer and mediator, practicing in Brockville, Ontario. As a partner in the firm Hammond & Osborne, his primary areas of practice are family law and family mediation. His clientele has included individuals, families, businesses, municipalities and, as a Crown agent, both federal and provincial ministries. He has appeared before all levels of the Ontario Court systems and a variety of tribunals. He has practised family mediation since 1996. Rob is actively involved in many community initiatives including as current Chair of the Brockville Foundation and a Director of the Brockville Library. He is a past President of the Brockville and District Chamber of Commerce and has served as a Director of the Brockville General Hospital, the Brockville Concert Association, Leads and Grenville Interval House and the Brockville and Area Community Living Association.
Janine Lawford (M.S.W, R.S.W) is a social worker and psychotherapist with a specific interest and expertise in the area of trauma and who has extensive experience working with children and families. She works at the Hincks Dellcrest Centre as a therapist, trainee supervisor and instructor. Janine co- leads both a trauma seminar for staff and trainees and a trauma-focused treatment team. As part of her private practice she also consults to the Telepsychiatry program at the Hospital for Sick Children in the area of trauma. Janine also works for the Office of the Children’s Lawyer and specializes in assessment and treatment related to high conflict divorce.
Tara Noble (M.S.W., R.S.W.) holds a Master of Social Work degree from Wilfrid Laurier University and has over 14 years’ experience working in child welfare and children’s mental health. Throughout her career, Tara has provided parenting assessments for families involved with child protection, children’s mental health agencies and the family courts. She also has extensive experience providing consultation and training to child protection and children’s mental health agencies on the development of assessment and treatment plans for complex families. As a Regional
Supervisor at the Office of the Children’s lawyer, Tara’s focus is on Custody and Access assessments and working with families experiencing high conflict. Tara utilizes Family Systems Theory and Attachment Theory as a foundation for her practise. She is also knowledgeable in trauma and the interplay of infant brain development and the impact of early life experiences on individual’s ongoing social/emotional development.
Shely Polak (M.S.W., R.S.W., PhD) is a doctoral student focusing on high conflict separated and divorced families at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto . She has a wide range of experience in working with both children and adult. She has a private practice conducting custody evaluations for the courts and is also an agent of the Office of the Children’s lawyer, where she is responsible for conducting custody evaluations and assisting in representing children’s legal positions. Shely has experience working as a mediator for separated families, helping separated parents create child focused parenting agreements. She also has a passion for working directly with children. For the past 5 years, Shely has been a group facilitator at JFCS for children who have experienced and witnessed domestic violence. Shely is a Registered Social Worker with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW), a member of the Ontario Association of Social Workers (OASW) and a member of Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC).
Claudette Reimer is passionate about her work as a family relations mediator. She has completed over 1000 court onsite and offsite mediations and has helped families lower conflict levels through mediated discussions. Some of Claudette’s mediations occur with separated parents on their court day (onsite) but she also helps parents develop parenting plans in offsite mediation.Credentials/Experience: Bilingual, Board of Directors – Secretary, Former Manager of the Centre, Accredited by Ontario Association for Family Mediation (OAFM), Social Work background, Developed and continues to coordinate the Centre’s internship program, Involved in peer mediation and family mediation training, Past Director at OAFM, Conflict and parenting coaching.
Robert has been a criminal lawyer for the past 25 years. Most of his practice is now limited to domestic cases and he works very closely with a number of family lawyers. He is also the bestselling author of four novels set in Toronto. One of them, THE GUILTY PLEA, begins the night before a high-profile divorce trial when the husband is killed and the wife is charged with his murder.
Ilana Tamari has been in private practice since 2002, where she provides assessments, counseling and consultations in the area of custody and access and divorce and separation. The various services she offers range from Section 30 Assessments, to Parenting Coordination and developing parenting plans. As an adjunct to the services listed above, Ilana also provides consultation to lawyers under the auspices of the Office of The Children’s Lawyer, a branch of the Attorney General. She draws on her strengths as a detail oriented, compassionate and results focused therapist, to assist her clients, who hail from a diverse population of individuals and groups of adults and children in the Greater Toronto Area. Ilana holds a graduate degree in child psychology from the University of Toronto and completed an Extern Program in Family Therapy through the George Hull Centre. Since 2002, she has focused on cases involving separation and divorce and custody and access matters. Prior to this, Ilana worked as a therapist and psychometrist for 9 years in various Children’s Mental Health Centres in Toronto and Ottawa, where she provided therapy and conducted neuropsychological assessments and oversaw the day to day running of a head-injury clinic. In addition, Ilana Tamari provided Young Offender Pre-disposition Reports and Neuropsychological Reports for Ontario Courts. Ilana has contributed to various segments on parenting issues for GLOW magazine, Canada’s Health and Beauty Magazine. Ilana is a member of The Association of Family and Conciliation Courts. She participates in a monthly peer consultation group with Dr. Barbara Fidler around Parenting Coordination matters, Section 30 Custody and Access Assessments and high conflict families. Ilana also is an active participant on the High Conflict Forum. She is also a certified member of the OACCPP and was a Board Member of the OACCPP and chaired the Professional Conduct Committee, and sat on the Ethics and Governance & Risk Management Committees.
Richard received his Honours Bachelor of Arts (B.A. Hons.) from York University with a major in psychology and went on to obtain a Masters in Social Work (M.S.W.) at the University of Toronto. Thereafter, Richard studied law at the University of Windsor where he received his Bachelor of Law (LL.B.). After completing law school, Richard went on to the Graduate Studies of Law program at the University of Ottawa and earned his Masters of Law (LL.M.).
Richard was called to the Ontario bar in 2000 and has worked exclusively in the field of family law since that time. Richard’s experience in the family law field is quite extensive. Richard has held positions with the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General Family Justice Division, has practiced family law at a well-respected boutique family law firm, a large Bay Street law firm and in the last few years has opened his own family law practice. In addition, Richard is also a qualified collaborative family law lawyer. Richard looks forward to using his educational background and work experience to the benefit of individuals who seek to mediate their disputes.
Nicole Tellier graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1986 and was called to the Bar in 1988. Her practice is restricted to family law. She appears in all levels of court, with four cases in the Supreme Court of Canada. She has extensive experience in resolving and litigating complex financial matters and difficult custody and access cases. She offers mediation and arbitration services. She is a former Director of the Advocates’ Society and former Executive member of the OBA and continues to be actively involved in those organizations. She has been engaged in law reform by testifying as an expert before numerous federal and provincial justice committees on criminal, constitutional and family law issues. She contributes widely to Claudette Reimer continuing Claudette Reimer’s legal education programs, including judicial education, in Ontario and elsewhere. In 2010, she received the Ontario Bar Association Award for Excellence in Family Law.
Regina Thompson (Acc.FM, C. Med., Cert. Adjudicator. LLM (ADR) Candidate) is a parenting mediator, a family/child protection mediator and a Certified Adjudicator. Regina is founder and principal of Strategic Intervention Services Associates; a full-service culturally contextualized ADR consultancy.
Mina Vaish is an accredited family mediator and is Principal Mediator and Managing Director of York Mediation. She is an onsite family court mediator at the Newmarket Superior Court of Justice (Family Branch) and a presenter for the Mandatory Information Program (MIP) for applicants and respondents in York Region. She is a roster mediator at the court-connected mediation rosters of Blue Hills (York Region) and mediate393 (Toronto). She is an affiliate mediator with Markham Psychologists and is a partner with the JIBC for the marketing of mediation training courses in Ontario.
Vicky Visca has 30 years of experience working with children, youth and families in the Quinte area. She has been in private practice for the past 15 years and was, before that, Executive Director of the Durham Family Court Clinic and the Coordinator of the Belleville Family Court Clinic. Vicky specializes in family mediation and child protection mediation, having completed almost 150 child protection mediations. She also conducts Parenting Capacity Assessments for Family Court, and provides assessment and treatment services. Vicky is dedicated to advocating for the protection and well-being of children through the provision of direct treatment services, staff training and development, and partnering with the community.
Erica has been a social worker and psychotherapist at the Hincks-Dellcrest Centre for the past twelve years, and has Adjunct Lecturer status at the University of Toronto, Department of Social Work. Erica provides family and individual therapy, formerly in the HDC’s Day Treatment Program and, currently within the Outpatient Services Department. Erica has developed a strong passion for practising, teaching and training in the area of trauma. Erica co-leads a trauma seminar and a trauma assessment and treatment team for staff and trainees. She also works in the field of high-conflict divorce as a part-time clinical investigator for the Office of the Children’s Lawyer.