Mediation in Ontario: What Is the Process and How Does It Work? | Carpenter Family LawyersWhen it comes to resolving a legal dispute, tensions are often heightened, and the parties involved head to court to argue their side in front of a judge. However, as with any dispute, it’s important to look at the bigger picture and try to hash things out rationally before going to trial.

One of the best ways to do this is through resolution mediation. In this article, we will explain what mediation is and what the process looks like in Ontario.

What Is Mediation?

Mediation is a process used to resolve a dispute between two parties. In resolution mediation, the two disputing parties sit down with a neutral third party, known as a mediator, who guides the parties toward a resolution that benefits both sides. Both parties must voluntarily consent to participate in mediation.

What Are Mediators and What Are Their Credentials?

Mediators are not judges and do not make decisions for the parties involved. The mediator facilitates communication between the two sides and uses proven resolution methods to avoid confrontation and fighting so the dispute can be resolved calmly and rationally.

It’s important to note that mediators are unable to:

  • take the side of one party over the other
  • make decisions on behalf of either party
  • provide legal advice unless they are a licensed and practising lawyer

In Ontario, mediators are trained professionals who often have years of experience working as social workers, lawyers and psychologists.

In order to be accredited by the Ontario Association for Family Mediation (OAFM), mediators must complete 40 hours of Fundamental Family Mediation Training through an approved OAFM Accredited Mediator.

Matters That Mediation Can Help Resolve

Resolution mediation is often used to help resolve the following types of disputes without going to court:

In Ontario, mediation is mandatory in all civil legal cases (with some exceptions) to help resolve disputes before heading to trial.

What the Mediation Process Looks Like

The first step in resolution mediation is to choose an experienced and reliable mediator.

Before mediation, both sides may be asked to sign a mediation agreement that outlines:

  • what issues will be mediated
  • the impartial role of the mediator
  • whether it will be open or closed mediation
  • what the next step is if mediation fails

During mediation sessions, both parties are allowed to have their lawyers present. Each party can speak and present their side of the story without being interrupted. The opposing side then responds to the other party – also without interruption. The mediator will then identify the issues and negotiate a resolution for each. The process continues until all concerns are resolved, at which point an agreement is drawn up stating what actions each party must take to fulfil the agreement.

Some disputes require multiple mediation sessions before they are resolved. If the issues are resolved after multiple sessions, the parties will take the matter to court.

What Are the Benefits of Mediation?

Mediation is an effective tool for resolving disputes in a calm and neutral environment. An advantage of this is that you can avoid a lengthy court battle; however, there are many other benefits. They include:

  • saving money, as it’s more cost-effective than going to court
  • settling disputes in a confidential setting
  • keeping relationships amicable
  • improving communication

Resolution Mediation in Ontario

If you require the services of a reputable mediator, contact Carpenter Family Law. Our Oakville family lawyer Geoffrey Carpenter is an accredited family law mediator, child protection mediator and arbitrator. He has over a decade of experience mediating family law matters.

Visit our office in Oakville, call us at 905-842-0635 or complete our online contact form to request a free consultation.