Join FDRIO members this fall for our 10th Annual Conference hosted in person at the Ismaili Centre in Toronto!


Our Keynote Speaker

Justice Lene Madsen

Justice Madsen was appointed to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on October 18, 2016, and to the Court of Appeal for Ontario on April 30, 2024. She previously sat in Kitchener-Waterloo Superior Court, where she was the Local Administrative Judge as well as the Team Lead for the Unified Family Court. Prior to that she presided in the Unified Family Court in Hamilton, Ontario. Justice Madsen obtained her BA (Hons) from McGill University in 1992 and her LLB from Osgoode Hall Law School in 2002. She also holds a Master’s Degree in Environmental Studies (2000) and a Master’s Degree in Law (2012), both from York University. In addition, she holds a Graduate Diploma in Refugee and Migration Studies (2000), also from York University. Justice Madsen has authored a range of academic articles on issues related to family law and alternative dispute resolution. She was co-author of Epstein and Madsen’s This Week in Family Law for five years and co-author of McLeod’s Ontario Family Law Rules from 2020 - 2024. Prior to her appointment to the Superior Court, Justice Madsen was the principal of Bluewater Mediation, based in London, Ontario, where she was a mediator, arbitrator, and trainer in the alternative dispute resolution field. Prior to founding Bluewater Mediation, she practiced family law at Epstein Cole, LLP. Justice Madsen has lived, worked, and studied internationally, including in Scandinavia, the former Yugoslavia, South Asia, and East Africa. Her prior professional engagement includes work in the international development and international human rights contexts.

The Sessions

This year’s conference will bring FDR professionals together in person to sharpen your skills through a variety of engaging sessions including: 

  • Motivation: Understanding Why and How People Change
  • Screening for Mental Capacity & Undue Influence in Elder Mediation 
  • “He’s Paying Me with My Own Money”: Challenges and Best Practices for Family Law Engagements with Jointly Held Business and Financial Assets
  • Mediation-Arbitration: Issues and Best Practices 
  • Enhancing Your Ability to Support Families with Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Children Through Separation and Divorce 

Keynote Address | Justice Gertrude Speigel : Her Settlement Secrets Revealed

Justice Gertrude Speigel, “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 through a Q&A moderated by Lorne Wolfson

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


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. 

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 

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

FDR professionals encounter people during one 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 look for reasons to escalate.  


Understanding the factors that drive intense conflict is essential for successful FDR practice. Whether driven by factors such as personality disorders, trauma, financial distress, unresolved grief, or a need for control, FDR professionals need a toolkit of strategies for de-escalation and managing an effective process.  


This panel will share their experience and expertise on the characteristics, thinking and behaviours that indicate a need for differentiated strategies for dispute resolution professionals. Speakers will explore the range of factors potentially driving high conflict behaviours, and their tips and strategies for responding to them in family mediation, parenting coordination and arbitration. 


The Location | The Ismaili Centre Toronto


*Please note that Zoom access will be made available for those unable to attend in person

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





Interested in becoming a sponsor for our 2024 Conference? Email info@fdrio.ca to find out more

Thank you to FDRIO’s 2024 Conference & Sponsorship Committee Members