Family mediation can be a rewarding career from many standpoints: professional, emotional, and financial. As a trained family mediator you will work with spouses and common-law partners who have decided to end their relationships effectively and affordably. Family mediation training with Riverdale Mediation is a great first step to becoming a trained and certified family mediator.

With the Government of Ontario providing free in-court family mediation and subsidized out-of-court family mediation, the demand for skilled and well-trained family mediators has never been greater. There is more opportunity for those providing professional family dispute resolution (FDR) services (also called Alternative Dispute Resolution, ADR) than ever before.

At the same time, because many professionals are seeking to become family mediators, it is important to find the best family mediation training for you, and also to have a career plan before you commit to the course of study required to become an accredited or certified family mediator.

Our Family Mediation Training Program is Comprehensive, Accessible and Innovative! And we offer Internships through our Mediator-In-Training (MIT) Program.

Taking powerful family mediation training with us at Riverdale will give you valuable and marketable skills that you can immediately put to use. Our Family Mediation Training Program  includes the entire suite of courses required for Certification or Accreditation as a family mediator in Ontario (Family law, Screening for Power Imbalances and Family Violence, Family Relations, and Basic and Advanced Family Mediation Theory and Skills.) Successful candidates are also often successful in obtaining necessary experience, supervised by experienced mediators, in our acclaimed Mediator-In-Training (MIT) Program, or with other programs.

And we now offer our entire program using a user-friendly Learning Management System (LMS) that allows our students to take our courses on their own time. Our students learn the theory in lectures from industry leaders, engage in interactive quizzes and exercises, and benefit from live-coached sessions with leading mediators as their seminar leaders.

All students must achieve a passing grade on all quizzes and tests and must achieve at least a ‘satisfactory’ review from their seminar leaders before receiving a course or program certificate. Attendance at all scheduled seminars is mandatory; the rest of the course can be taken online on the learner’s schedule.

Why is Family Mediation in Such Demand?

Upwards of 50 percent of those in family court are Self-Represented Litigants (SRLs). These are often people who have either run out of money to pay a family law lawyer or never had money to pay a family law lawyer in the first place. Their challenge is to reach a satisfactory resolution on the major and often complex issues in separation: child custody, child access, child support, spousal support, and division of net family property.

And navigating the court system, especially post-Covid-19, is enormously difficult and time-consuming.

The stark reality remains: Canada’s court system was designed for lawyers, not lay people. Those who represent themselves in family court, even with the amazing, free supports available through Family Law Information Centres, the National Self-Represented Litigants Project, and many more resources, are often disadvantaged both procedurally and in their outcomes as a result.

We also know that the adversarial legal system can, in some cases, enhance the risk of coercive controlling violence in high-risk cases. Because of the emphasis in our training on identifying, assessing and managing risk in family mediation, we believe that effective family mediation that includes safety planning can enhance safety for families at this critical time.

Family mediation is a good process for many separating couples who want an efficient, timely, informed and low-cost resolution of their disputes.

Our training is designed to give you the knowledge, skills, experience and tools to meet these challenges, competently and professionally.

As a well-trained family mediator, you will have the confidence that you can help couples settle their family law matters effectively. Quality family mediation training from Riverdale Mediation will also equip you with the best practices and highest standards, resulting in a more successful practice with a lower risk of client complaints or professional mistakes.

Family Mediation Training Gives you the Skills to Help Couples, Families and Children

Why do so many married and common-law couples who have decided to end their marriages and relationships want to work with family mediators?

Because mediation is a process of self-determination, separating couples can keep control over their mediation process in a way that they cannot in court or other processes such as family arbitration. 

Mediation is voluntary in Ontario family law, giving mediators and their clients the ability to design a family mediation that will work best for them.

Secondly, mediation is private and confidential in most cases, unlike court, where all records are generally public. This means that anyone can search the court file and read everything in it.

Third, family mediation is generally faster than court, and it is also often less expensive than going to court or negotiating through lawyers.

With the opportunity to become a family mediator comes a professional responsibility to “do no harm.” FDR professionals often work with the most vulnerable people—those without lawyers, those whose languages or cultures are not fully understood or even recognized, those at risk of family violence, or those coping with mental and physical health challenges.

Today’s family mediators work in a fast-moving and sophisticated legal and emotional environment. They need to understand the use of technology and to offer their clients efficient, seamless, secure and professional processes.

And they need to be good at what they do. The most effective family mediators are problem-solvers who guide separating couples through the complexities of divorce in a focused and caring way. Their mediation training must be designed to help them meet these challenges successfully…. something we take seriously in the design of all of our courses.

Family Mediation Training with Riverdale Mediation Prepares you for Certification

Although our students put our training to use in many ways, most are seeking to become accredited or certified as an FDR (Family Dispute Resolution) professional with one of Ontario’s four professional certifying organizations.

Riverdale Mediation has an enviable reputation among our alumni, our current students and our peers as being second to none, for both our Family Mediation Certificate and our internships (MIT program).

The starting point for anyone seeking to become a trained and certified family mediator is to visit the websites of the certifying organizations, which will provide you with the most reliable information about their membership as well as certification options and requirements.

In Ontario, there are four organizations that grant certification:

  1. The Ontario Association of Family Mediation(OAFM)
  2. The ADR Institute of Ontario (ADRIO)
  3. Family Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario (FDRIO)
  4. Family Mediation Canada (FMC)

Riverdale Mediation’s family mediation training is designed to meet the requirements for Ontario certification with OAFM, ADRIO and FDRIO.

Why take Family Mediation Training with Riverdale Mediation?

Riverdale Mediation has trained many hundreds of mediation students since 2001, many of whom now operate successful family mediation practices across Canada and internationally.

We are experienced family mediators ourselves, with active professional practices. Our extensive experience helps us understand what you need to know to become a great family mediator.

Our innovative Learning Management System allows our students to attend all lectures on their own time, and to engage in dynamic and relevant seminars and coached role-play sessions led by seasoned family mediators.

All of our courses are tested, meaning our graduates have confidence that they have learned what they need to succeed.

Our highly experienced teaching and coaching team will work hard, one-on-one,  with you to ensure you learn the skills you need. We provide real and meaningful feedback and coaching. We work with professional actors for quality role playing experience in our more advanced trainings.

We started as a small shop in the Riverdale neighbourhood of Toronto,  the setting of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s (CBC) landmark television series Degrassi Junior High from 1987 to 1989. Importantly, the series was well known for dealing with critical societal issues including divorce, child abuse, drug abuse, teenage pregnancy, family violence, homophobia, cultural differences and racism—all issues that family mediators must confront on a regular basis.

Today, our family mediation training is acclaimed for its dynamic and practical content, its accessible delivery and its innovative design. It is also a good choice for professionals who are not able to commit the time needed to study family mediation at a university or community college.

Dynamic, Extensive Mediator-In-Training (MIT) Program

Our MIT Program offers students broad exposure to the diverse field of family mediation. Our MIT students work with family mediators who are family lawyers or mental health professionals, both in the court-connected context and in private practice. MITs work on cases involving parenting plans, child support, spousal support, income determination, relocation, property valuation and division, business valuations and marriage contracts. Our structured program of supervision, co-mediation and mediation, with intensive coaching and feedback, offers our MITs an outstanding experience that meets or exceeds the requirements of the family mediation certification organizations.

As an independent training organization, we have the flexibility to constantly create new mediation training content and methods to meet the evolving needs of our mediation students.

Importantly, Riverdale Mediation has earned a reputation among our students and hundreds of alumni for being a leader in family mediation training in Toronto, Ontario, as well as across Canada and internationally.

We seek to:

  • Give you the training you need to practice family mediation with excellence
  • Equip you to meet the highest professional and ethical standards
  • Help you know how to build and grow a successful family mediation practice
  • Infuse you with our enthusiasm for and love of family dispute resolution and
  • Provide training to the standards of each Ontario certifying organization.
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Q&A - Family Mediation Training

Am I required to be certified to practice family mediation in Ontario?

Currently, no. But certification is an important qualification that distinguishes those who are suitably trained, qualified and insured from those who may not be. If you want to obtain work with one of Ontario’s court-connected family mediation programs, like mediate393 inc., you generally must be certified.

Which organizations certify family mediators?

In Ontario, there are four options.

  1. The Ontario Association of Family Mediation (OAFM)
  2. The ADR Institute of Ontario (ADRIO)
  3. Family Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario (FDRIO)
  4. Family Mediation Canada (FMC)

To practice anywhere in Canada, FMC certification is required. Our training program is designed to meet the requirements for Ontario certification with OAFM, ADRIO and FDRIO.

Please note that the training requirements of these organizations may change from time to time. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that the organization with which they seek to be certified has approved the training programs they are taking, and we do not warrant that our training will meet all requirements of all organizations.

What kind of professional background do I need to become a certified family mediator?

Please check each organization’s requirements for certification.

What courses are required to become certified?

Training for different designations is complicated. Each certifying organization has different standards, and they change from time to time. Please consult with the organization with which you wish to become certified to learn their specific requirements.

What does the training cost?

Our courses are competitively priced, and we offer a discounted Foundation Course Package. Flexible payment arrangements are negotiable.

To link to individual courses for detailed information, including pricing, please go to Courses page.

What are the Mediator-In-Training (MIT) requirements?

Although the essential requirements are similar among the certifying organizations, they may change from time to time in detail. Please confirm the requirements of the organization whose certification you are seeking before registering for our MIT program. Click here for details of our Mediator-In-Training (MIT) Program.

Have more questions? Please visit the websites of the certifying organizations. If you have questions they cannot answer, feel free to contact us at [email protected]

For questions pertaining to our mediator-in-training (MIT) program, please contact [email protected]

Q&A - Family Arbitration Training

Why take Family Arbitration Training?

As more people opt for out-of-court dispute resolution, processes such as family arbitration are becoming more popular. Arbitration is a private process of adjudication that results in a binding decision. Arbitrators can significantly impact the lives of their clients. Those providing such services should seek to “do no harm”, and taking quality training that teaches the best current practices is a good way to try to achieve that goal.

As well, Ontario’s Ministry of the Attorney General requires those providing family arbitration services to meet specific requirements in order for their decisions to be effective. Click here for more information about the Ministry’s requirements.

Q: Which organizations provide professional designations for Family Arbitrators?

A: In Ontario, there are two certifying organizations for arbitrators:

  1. ADR Institute of Ontario (ADRIO)
  2. Family Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario (FDRIO)

Q: Why take Family Arbitration training with Riverdale?

A: Our lead trainers combine active professional practices in mediation, arbitration and parenting coordination with training— enabling them to teach based on their experiences.

Our family arbitration training is provided in collaboration with experienced professionals from the legal and mental health fields— allowing our students to learn from a diverse range of professionals.

Our training is highly rated by our students. It is designed to be compliant with the requirements of the Ministry of the Attorney General as well as the certification requirements of both FDRIO and ADRIO.

Q&A - Parenting Coordination Training

Q: Why take Parenting Coordination training?

A: Parenting Coordination (PC) is the newest of the process options for separating parents. It is an evolving process, one that is not regulated in Ontario— unlike many other jurisdictions that have legislation and/or Rules of the Court that address PC practice. In Ontario, Parenting Coordination is entirely a matter of private contract between the professional providing the service and the parents.

PC is designed for high conflict parents who need help with managing and implementing their parenting plans. It is a highly sophisticated process that includes education, coaching, mediation, and arbitration. Those providing the service should seek to “do no harm”, as they are working with vulnerable people—including children. Given the unregulated nature of this process in Ontario, professionals providing this service should seek to do in accordance with the highest of professional standards. Quality training is one way of seeking to achieve this goal.

Q: Which organizations provide professional designations for Parenting Coordinators?

A: In Ontario one organization has developed a Parenting Coordination designation:

Family Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario (FDRIO)

Q: Why take Parenting Coordination Training with Riverdale?

A: Our lead trainers in Parenting Coordination are also highly experienced PCs. Our teaching team consists of experienced, professional trainers, and our PC courses are highly acclaimed by those who have taken them.