2023 Annual Conference

Event banner for FDRIO Annual Conference 2023

*Please note – if you are a member of the Ontario Association for Family Mediation please contact Judith DaSilva at support@oafm.on.ca for your discount code!

Conference Agenda | November 20, 2023

8:30 AM

Waiting Rooms Open

8:45 AM

FDRIO Annual General Meeting | Crowe Soberman Award Presentation 

9:30 AM

Conference Opens | Welcome & Land Acknowledgement

9:40 AM

Keynote Address | Justice Gertrude Spiegel : Her Settlement Secrets Revealed

Justice Gertrude Spiegel, “Gertie” to her friends and colleagues, has been settling family law cases for more than forty years; first as a family law commissioner and then as a Superior Court Judge. Her techniques and results are legendary. Take advantage of this unique opportunity to learn the secrets of her success

10:45 AM

Health Break

11:00 AM

Breakout One

Complex Financial Issues Part 1

This first session on complex financial issues will explore capital gains strips, trusts, life insurance and RRSPs as it pertains to family dispute resolution

Speakers: Nyla Roopnarinesingh (Moderator), Jinghan Hu, Nicole Abergil-Grimes, Rick Davies and Laura Klaehn

Who’s Actually Calling the Shots?

In Family Dispute Resolution there are sometimes influencers, who are not at the table, that can make or break the process, leaving all participant scratching their heads as to who is really calling the shots behind the scenes. Whether it is a parent exerting financial control, a child applying emotional pressure, or a children’s lawyer whose report has entrenched the parties in their respective positions, these third parties must be managed if settlement is to be reached. This panel will examine methods for professionals to recognize and address these influences in the FDR process so that the parties may focus on a positive resolution. 

Speakers: Khavita Baghat

11:50 AM

Breakout Two

Complex Financial Issues Part 2

In this second session on complex financial issues, presenters will review and discuss challenges and provide commentary on how issues should be dealt with in a calculation of income for Family Law purposes 

Speakers: Melanie Russell (Moderator), Mitchel Ornstein, Anna Barrett and Brahm Siegel


The Storm before the Calm – High Conflict Personality Disorders in FDR 

FDR professionals encounter people during on of the most emotionally charged and often traumatic periods of their lives. Most people look for ways to reduce conflict during this time. Others seem to just add to the conflict, intentionally or not. Working with clients with high conflict personalities (HCP) and personality disorders can make FDR exceptionally challenging. 

Understanding personality disorders and how to properly react to them can result in more productive and safe FDR processes and better results for families. 

In this session you will learn from clinical experts what characteristics, thinking and behaviours indicate that a party or client may have an HCP and/or personality disorder. Our expert panel will share their experience, advice and best practices for facilitating the resolution of conflict with HCPs.

Speakers: Hilary Linton, Dr. Irwin Butkowsky, Dr. Kim Harris and Dr. Shely Polak

12:35 PM

Lunch Break

1:20 PM

Welcome Back

Our Family Wizard Presentation

1:40 PM

Breakout Three

Notional Disposition Costs

In this session panelists will examine various assets and provide their insight into how and why the contingent disposition costs should be calculated

Speakers: Neil Maisel (Moderator) Aaron Franks, Andrew Freedman and Martin Pont

Mental Health for Family Dispute Resolution Professionals 

Since the COVID-19 pandemic a light has beeen shone on the importance of mental health and this has caused professionals to reflect on the risks affecting their own mental health. Professionals in Family Dispute Resolution are constantly bombarded with negativity from counsel, clients, Judges, and others in their professionals lives. This negativity can wreak havoc on professionals’ mental health and wellbeing in and outside the office. Join us for an open discussion on mental health issues facing family law professionals and strategies for change. 

Speakers: Glen Hickerson, Nicole Kopping-Pavars and Jason Ward

2:30 PM

Breakout Four

Financial Disclosure

Disclosure panelists will discuss their thoughts on disclosure, whether there can be too much disclosure, how to get the disclosure needed and why some items are requested for disclosure

Speakers: Schmuel Stern (Moderator), Justice Melanie Kraft, Julie Gill, Matt Krofchick and Herschel Fogelman

The Pros and Cons of AI in Family Dispute Resolution

In a rapidly evolving legal landscape, the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in family law cases is both a promising innovation and the subject of intense debate. The emerging technology promises the potential of streamlining case management, accelerating research, and enhanced decision-making processes. Learn how AI-powered tools can employer legal professionals to provide more efficient and effective services to their clients. At the same time, it raises ethical implications of AI algorithms, including concerns about bias, privacy and transparency that have become central in family law practice. How do we ensure safeguarding the interests of vulnerable parties?

Speakers: Coming soon!

3:15 PM

Health Break

3:30 PM

Keynote Address | Polyamory: More Spouses, More Issues to Resolve on Separation 

The definition of family is ever evolving and how each type of family resolves disputes on separation must evolve as well. A polyamorous relationship is defined as the practice of, or desire for, romantic relationships with more than one partner at the same time, with the informed consent of all partners involved. Families living in polyamorous relationships face not only societal stigma but complex situations on separation. This is a must see panel discussion!

Panel experts will address this developing area of the law and advise on the various issues that arise when these types of families dissolve. 

Speakers: Coming soon!

4:35 PM

Thank you & Closing Remarks

*Please note – if you are a member of the Ontario Association for Family Mediation please contact Judith DaSilva at support@oafm.on.ca for your discount code!

Thank you so much to all of our 2023 sponsors for making the FDRIO Annual Conference possible!





Interested in becoming a sponsor for our 2023 Conference? Email info@fdrio.ca to find out more!