What's on in January
FDRweek Recap
Meet & Greets in Toronto and Durham
FDRIO FDR Award of Excellence
Mediation in a Pluralistic Society
2nd Annual Trainers Forum
2nc Annual Access to Justice Forum
FDRIO in the Community in Newmarket
FDRweek Public Info Fair
Best Interest Of The Child Panel
#FDRWEEK in the Media
FDRP Certifications
What's Upcoming?


What’s on in January:

Don't miss Lorne Wolfson’s webinar on Effective Use of Mediation-Arbitration.

January 19, 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm

*Webinars are free for members.
Become a member today.

FDRWeek Recap

Thank you to everyone involved in this year’s incredible FDRweek. 
Here’s a recap of the week’s success:

The 2016 FDRIO Annual Conference, held on Monday, November 21, was a resounding success!   Arriving at Toronto’s Ismaili Centre with its uplifting natural light and sublime architecture, participants were immediately put in a contemplative place, together focused on bringing the #FDRevolution to life.

Lorne WolfsonFDRIO Chair Lorne Wolfson brought the conference to order, and Dr Barbara Landau introduced the 2016 FDRIO Award of Excellence recipient Chris Bentley, Director of the Ryerson University Legal Innovation Zone and former Attorney-General for Ontario. Mr. Bentley spoke from the heart about a more open and accessible future in family dispute resolution.

That acceptance speech dovetailed beautifully with the day’s first roundtable forum, at which Minister Bentley was joined by the Honourable Justices George Czutrin and Debra Paulseth, moderated by renowned FDR professional and reformer Alf Mamo, in a lively, progressive and inspiring panel on “Working Together – Public and Private FDR Processes”.

Brad HeckmanThen FDRIO had the great honour of introducing our first keynote speaker, Brad Heckman, Chief Executive Officer of the New York Peace Institute.

Mr. Heckman masterfully held the 170-strong crowd’s attention with his astounding mix of domestic and international dispute resolution and DR training experiences and inspirational artworks.

Baldev MuttaAfter the break and FDRIO’s 2016 Annual Meeting chaired by Mr. Wolfson, the second roundtable of the day was conducted, an open and interactive consideration of the role of cultural diversity and cultural understanding moderated by Baldev Mutta and Amandeep Kaur of Punjabi Community Health Services. This was followed by another lively discussion on the role of court-connected mediation, paralegals and the community, featuring lawyer and professor Omar Ha Red-Eye, Belleville’s mediation service provider Vicky Visca, and Sarah McCoubrey of CALIBRATE.

The day’s second keynote address was delivered by Karen BK Chan, noted Toronto education and diversity expert, who shared her insights into emotional intelligence and how it can be applied with success in the FDR context.

The 2016 Conference wrapped up with an open question-and-answer session featuring both of the day’s keynote speakers.

FDRIO wishes to thank our gracious hosts at the Ismaili Centre, our 2016 Platinum Sponsor Lexis-Nexis, all of our other FDRweek Sponsors and all of our great volunteers for helping make the 2016 FDRIO Annual Conference such a great event. A very special thank you to our wonderful friend Tricia Wong. See you all again next year!

Meet & Greets in Toronto and Durham

FDRweek began with a Toronto meet and greet. FDR professionals from all areas celebrated the unique services we provide. It was a wonderful way to connect with other professionals while spreading the word about our own practices. The Toronto event was well attended with a special drop in from conference keynote speaker Brad Heckman. Our event in Durham was well attended also, with police officers, Justices of the Peace, paralegals, lawyers, arbitrators, mediators and many others coming together to share and learn about FDRIO.

If you have an idea for a meet and greet in your part of the province we’d like to help.  Email for more information.

Chris Bentley inaugural recipient of the FDRIO FDR Award of Excellence sponsored by Crowe Soberman

Barbara Landau give Chris Bentley a zinger of a roast that beautifully summarized the incredible work Chris has done to transform FDR in Ontario.  Thank you Chris, you are an inspiration to us all!

In photo: Chris Bentley, FDRIO director Barbara Landau, and director Neil Maisel of Crowe Soberman

Mediation in a Pluralistic Society

Our joint FDRIO-ADRIO program inspired the full house in attendance to think about mediation, culture and meaning in a different way. Our diverse panel looked at mediation from the perspectives of those in First Nations, Jewish, Ismaili and Ahmadiyya Muslim, Punjabi and Christian communities. The passion in the room inspired the creation of a new LinkedIn group, (“Mediation in a Pluralistic Society).

For more read this post by FDR professional Kathryn Jankowski of Financial Divorce Services.

Second Annual Interdisciplinary Trainers Forum

This year we focused on how technology can help trainers (and FDR professionals) be better at what they do and enhance access to justice at the same time. Gina Alexandris (Director, LPP at Ryerson University) and Jennifer Ryan (Fresh Start Legal, Ottawa) took the participants through the many tools out there to help everyone from trainers to mediators offer their services more affordably and effectively. In the afternoon we were treated to a panel discussion featuring FDR professionals Marion Korn, Eva Sachs, Rick Shields, Barbara Anderson and Justice Bill Sullivan— focusing on advanced FDR that goes ‘beyond interest-based dispute resolution”.

Second Annual Access to Justice Forum

Our forum on Access to Justice in FDR was again a standing-room only event. Featuring a large panel of many agencies and leaders the FDR field, the event explored the services available in the courts and community to address access to family justice challenges, and the opportunities for improvement. Read this blog post by attendee Rhodes Thompson Chase for more.

FDRIO in the Community in Newmarket!

Laura Bradford (Summit Mediation) and Laura Stevenson (family mediation service provider Blue Hills) hosted two public information nights during FDR Week 2016, at the Magna Centre, November 22nd and at the Stronach Aurora Recreation Centre in Aurora on November 23rd. Parents had a chance to drop in while their children were playing hockey and swimming.

Parents learned that there are more FDR options than they thought, including those who were already engaged in one process. Our speakers took the parents through the many court-connected and private/community services available and answered their many, excellent questions. These two events confirmed that our mandate to bring FDR into the community is an important one. Thank you Laura and Laura!

FDRweek Public Info Fair at
St. Lawrence Market

The Fair brought mediate393, Fair Split, My Support Calculator, CLEO, and Side by Side Supervised Access Services together to engage with the public about the wide variety of services that they offer. The services provided by these organizations are critical in assisting parties going through separation by providing them with information needed about court processes, alternatives to court, and the supports and resources available to them, so that they may navigate through their separation as efficiently and cost effectively as possible.

Best Interest Of The Child
Panel Discussion

This FDRweek seminar saw the wonderful panel of Katherine Kavassalis (Office of the Children’s Lawyer Legal Director), Professor Shelley Kierstead (Osgoode Hall Law School), Cheryl Milne (Asper Centre, University of Toronto) be interviewed Linda Ennis, Martha Simmons, and Jennifer Leitch of the FDRIO Academic & Policy Section.

Everyone felt engaged with pertinent questions from the audience, in addition to our questions that we asked of them.

What came out of it is that there is a need to further explore “best interests of the child” and this was the start of such an important conversation.

Themes that came up were: how considering "best interests of the child" is not universal, individual needs to be taken into account, children are not property to be traded off for financial settlements, the attachment of the child to a primary caregiver needs to be considered in determining parenting arrangements, the ages and stages of the child need to be considered, and there was a suggestion that it is important for parents to have a balance between intensive parenting and teaching resilience in children. All of these comments were made (and more) in the context of the subtle nuances of best interests, which we framed in questions related to co-parenting, nesting, and the underlying dynamics related to choice of whether to send a child to a religious/private vs. public school. We certainly hope this conversation is a significant introduction to many more in this important area. It is critical to further explore this issue for the well-being of children and their families.

And of course, a warm thank you to the FDR Week chairs, Marty Klein and Laura Catone-Tarcea who ensured that #FDRWeek was the success that it was!

#FDRWEEK in the Media

In addition to proclamations from the mayors of Toronto, Richmond Hill, Aurora, and many more, #FDRWeek appeared in the Lawyers Weekly, National Post, Newstalk 1010, and Advocate Daily! Check out all the media attention here.

The FDRevolution caused a Twitterstorm of activity.

#FDRevolution  —   #FDRWeek

Certifications and Course Approvals
are HERE!

Be among the first to obtain the new FDRP designations.

Only FDRIO offers you all three designations — family mediation, arbitration, and parenting coordination — for one membership fee. Check out Certifications page to learn what you need to qualify.

For Trainers, check out our comprehensive pages that tell you exactly what you need to cover in your training in order to have your courses meet standard criteria. It is highly accessible, all on our website. Our course approval process is all online, easy and affordable.

If you have any questions, please contact

Early Bird Special!

If you have a mediation or arbitration designation from any of FMC, ADRIO or OAFM, we will waive the admin fee for your FDRIO certification! For a limited time only. Check out our Certifications page.

What's Upcoming?

February 2017

FDRIO Academic and Policy Section "Co-mediation & Collaboration: What's the Difference?"

Stay tuned for additional information and registration instructions closer to the date!

Special Thank You!

A special FDRIO thank you to our conference sponsors.
Our conference could not have happened with out you!
Special thanks to:

Copyright © 2016 Family Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario, All rights reserved.

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