In a meeting of Qualified Family Arbitration Screeners (QFAS) recently, my colleagues were discussing the current landscape of Family Law Arbitration and the changing face of it. As an FDR professional newer to arbitration, I thought it best to go to two of my fellow FDRIO Board members to get their insight. You will likely be much more familiar with the names Cheryl Goldhart and Clayton Spencer than you are with mine.
The Family Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario (FDRIO) is a federally-incorporated not-for-profit that provides certifications, networking and advocacy for Ontario family mediators, family arbitrators, parenting coordinators, financial professionals, coaches and others.
FDRIO actively supports those entering and working in the family dispute resolution profession while increasing public awareness about the many out-of-court choices they have.
FDRIO operates across Ontario with its headquarters in Toronto.
Most FDR professionals offer a variety of services, such as family mediation, parenting coordination and arbitration. At FDRIO you can earn all of your certifications without having to pay multiple memberships.
FDRIO’s certifications are:
- affordable ($300 for the first certification and only $100 for each thereafter).
- progressive, with all courses taught by leading FDR trainers and in accordance with current standards for adult education.
- designed for today’s professional realities, including flexible professional and educational backgrounds.
- accessible, with our approved courses accommodating multiple and contemporary learning formats such as e-learning.
- compatible, with harmonized certification criteria for different designations
- innovative, for example in our Advanced Family Mediation practicum/internship option.
FDRIO will recognize family mediation certifications from OAFM, ADRIO and FMC. If the standards of any other designation are equivalent to the FDRIO standards, they will be recognized as well. Applicants must provide proof of the existing designation along with FDRIO membership.
Exceptionally qualified and experienced professionals may be eligible, in FDRIO’s discretion, to receive a designation without meeting all the training and experience requirements. Please review the criteria set out for each designation on the appropriate website page.
All FDRP candidates must have a minimum of a university degree in a related field of study or equivalent (10 years) of relevant directly-related work experience in the human services field.
On our website we list the required courses for each designation and the courses or trainers that have been approved by FDRIO.
The administrative cost to apply for your first certification is $300. For every subsequent application the cost is $100. Those FDRIO members who hold one or more FDRP designations will then pay an annual membership fee of $225 compared to the regular membership fee of $175.
Members of our mediation, parenting coordination and arbitration sections, and all Certified FDRP Applicants, must carry professional liability insurance for all FDR services they offer with a minimum of $1,000,000 coverage per occurrence and $2,000,000 coverage in the aggregate. FDRIO has arranged extremely comprehensive coverage with competitive insurance coverage and rates through Lloyds of Canada; click here for the application form.
Members are responsible to arrange their own insurance and to ensure that it covers all their professional activities.
You must be a FDRIO member to apply. Please visit the Certification Application Page. The application forms can be accessed there. You will be asked to complete an application form, upload all supporting documents and pay the application fee. If your application is not accepted, we will refund 50% of the fee to you.
Please visit this page for full details of our internship/Mediator-In-Training (MIT).
Internships are provided by some family mediators, family arbitrators and parenting coordinators in private practice. Many court-connected family mediation services also offer internships/Mediator-In-Training programs. Costs vary. Read more here about the FDRIO standards for Internships.
On average, family mediation training programs and internships together can cost as much as $10,000. On average, it takes at least two years to complete all courses and experience requirements. It is important that you find the training program and internship/Mediator-In-Training opportunity that suits your schedule, budget and needs.
As courts become more clogged, and more people find legal services unaffordable, family mediation, family arbitration and parenting coordination are becoming better used.
The Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General funds free family mediation in Ontario family courts, and subsidizes it for those who are not in court. This funding has created growing demand for accredited mediators, particularly those who speak the languages and understand the communities of the clients they serve.
Private family mediation, family arbitration and parenting coordination services are also growing, as more separating couples seek the many advantages of settling their disputes agreeably and confidentially, out of court.
At the same time, more people are taking family mediation, family arbitration and parenting coordination training.
Before you begin your training to become an accredited family mediator, arbitrator or parenting coordinator, we recommend that you consider the following:
- Do you have the necessary qualifications, training and background for the certification(s) you seek?
- Are you willing to work hard to build and grow your practice?
The costs, both in dollars and in time, of achieving an FDRP designation are significant. Taking the training does not mean that you will find an internship; and achieving the internship requirements does not guarantee certification.
Speak with all the FDR organizations, colleagues and industry leaders. Learn as much as you can about the industry; what kinds of work is available and on what terms; and assess where you believe you can find an opportunity for your own skills and expertise.
We hope to see you here with us at FDRIO!