Family mediation lies at the heart of FDRIO’s work and mandate. Our mediation section is broad and diverse and welcomes new mediators. FDRP Med was our first professional designation and remains our most sought-after. Because our members are often mediators, arbitrators and/or parenting coordinators, our mediation section members benefit from discourse with other crucial areas of practice. Cross-networking, cross-learning and cross-training and certifications are among the many benefits of the FDRP Med.
We meet from time to time to update our standards of practice and certification for family mediation, whether as a stand-alone process or as part of a mediation-arbitration or parenting coordination process share knowledge and fellowship; promote the use of family mediation; and provide support for new and experienced family mediators. Advocacy for the process and supporting our members grow their mediation practices is a large part of our work.
Mediation is a voluntary, strategic, focused, fully informed and balanced process of negotiation. It is a ‘safe place to have difficult conversations’ with the help of a neutral and impartial third party facilitator. The mediator’s role is to design the process to ensure that each party is empowered to negotiate well in a process of self-determination. Mediations are confidential and without prejudice processes; parties are encouraged to discuss, negotiate and brainstorm freely in order to reach creative solutions to difficult problems. (Mediation confidentiality is subject always to exceptions relating to child protection issues and imminent risk to anyone.) A mediation can regard small issues or it can be used to negotiate all aspects of separation. Parties in a mediation are strongly advised to seek independent legal advice and with the help of a lawyer, negotiations and resolutions reached in mediation can be turned into legal contracts such as separations agreements or minutes of settlement.
To become a member of the Family Mediation Section, a family mediator must satisfy the following requirements:
- Mediators must be members in good standing of the Family Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario, “FDRIO”;
- Mediators must have completed a minimum 40-hour training course in family mediation and a minimum 14-hour training in screening for domestic violence and power imbalances; students in training to become mediators are eligible for membership;
- Mediators must comply with the continuing education requirements of their professional discipline and those prescribed by the Family Mediation Section;
- Mediators must commit to observing the Standards of Practice of FDRIO and the Family Mediation Section; and
- Mediators must have professional liability insurance for their mediation services, with a minimum of $1,000,000 coverage per occurrence and $2,000,000 coverage in the aggregate; this requirement applies to practitioners and interns but not to students.