Category Archives: Uncategorised

Navigating Mediation with Cultural Sensitivity – A Black History Month Perspective

As we commemorate Black History Month, let us not only celebrate the vibrant mosaic and diverse narrative of black history. Let’s consider the importance of supporting and fostering inclusivity in all aspects of FDR practice. In the field of mediation, cultural competence is paramount in ensuring a fair and effective process for our clients. By embracing diversity and pursuing knowledge …

Why Is Screening So Crucial to Mediation Success?

First of all, SCREEN! Then Screen some more. Screening mediation clients for power imbalances and intimate partner violence does not stop at the initial intake/screening meeting.  Screening is not just a one-off triage process to help a mediator determine whether mediation is appropriate and how the mediation should be structured. A decision that mediation is appropriate at the outset could …

Is it confidential? Is it binding? A recent case answers common questions about mediation

A recent decision of Justice A. Himel of the Newmarket Superior Court of Justice is instructive for family mediators, parties seeking mediation services and their lawyers. Butler v Butler addresses the question of mediation confidentiality, and whether an unsigned Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) can be enforced as an agreement. After a long day of closed (eg/confidential) mediation, the mediator dictated …

12 Stages of Family Mediator Moves

Our 40 hour Basic Family Mediation course is rich with useful content designed to teach the fundamentals of family mediation, including this helpful flowchart, which is an excerpt from those training materials:

Arbitration: Sufficiency of Reasons

Judges sometimes make reversible errors that are overturned on appeal; so too with arbitrators. It is not very often, however, that judges or arbitrators have their decisions overturned for lack of sufficiency in their reasons, especially in complicated cases, involving lots of money. It also does not often happen that an appellate judge feels the need to set out a …

Best Practices for Addressing Power Imbalances and Safety in Family Dispute Resolution Processes: Research, Protocols and the Law

Introduction Originally published in Ontario Family Law Reporter (33 O.F.L.R), April 2020 With courts, for now, restricting services to all but emergency matters due to COVID-19, the demand for alternative dispute resolution services is growing exponentially. The need is greater than ever to ensure that those processes put issues of power imbalance and safety of clients and children first. Private …

Enforcement of Agreements and Orders in a Closed PC Process

Walk softly and carry a big stick is a variation on a phrase popularized by US President Theodore Roosevelt in a 1903 speech when he said to the crowd “speak softly and carry a big stick”. In other words, attempt peaceful negotiations while also being prepared for confrontation by displaying one’s power, especially elements of force.  When I think of the …

CBC Promotes Family Mediation!

Listening to the CBC’s recent program on family law (Ontario Morning, March 12), it became clear to me that separating parents do not always understand their dispute resolution options. Recent changes to the federal and provincial laws require all separating couples to consider trying out-of-court settlement, and many are doing just that. But it can be wildly confusing trying to …