June Newsletter: Sold-out UnConference, Member Benefits and FDRIO in the Community!
View this email in your browser

FDRweek is Coming!

Planning for our annual FDRweek is well underway. So far we have organized the following professional events:

Sunday, November, 20th 

Monday, November 21st 

Tuesday, November 22nd


Thursday, November 24th

Thursday, November 24th

Friday, November 25th

Public events during FDRweek include:

  1. Mobile Family Law Information Centres;
  2. Free public information events;
  3. Presentations at community centres, libraries and other public places. 

Organize an event!
If YOU would like to organize an event, join one of the events being planned, or contribute in some other way to the success of FDR week, contact

Sponsor Us!
We have many opportunities for sponsorship during FDRweek. Click here for our sponsorship grid.

FDRIO's Latest News, Updates and Initiatives!

Launching FDR Certifications ~ September 1st!

We will launch the FDRP Certified Specialist in Family Mediation, Family Arbitration and Parenting Coordination designations September 1. Stay tuned…..

Committee on Domestic Violence Screening Policy

On June 10, 2016, members of FDRIO’s Arbitration, Med-Arb, PC and Mediation Sections were invited to participate in a consensus building exercise to develop a policy on Screening for DV and Power Imbalance that protects both the families we serve and the professionals who are offering a valued service. We thank the approximately 20 professionals from diverse professional backgrounds, as well as a few clients, who attended and shared their experiences and wisdom. Thanks also to Neil Maisel who hosted us in the scenic Crowe Soberman Boardroom. 

We started the day with an excellent overview by Penny Krowitz, Executive Director of Act to End Violence Against Women, of the types of concerns faced by victims/survivors of violence – both women and men – from all cultural and socio-economic backgrounds.

Hilary Linton, Lorne Wolfson and Barbara Landau helped to establish a clear focus for the dialogue that followed; namely 

a.   Should there be a requirement that ONLY the Arbitrator or Med-Arbitrator conduct the screening separately with both parties? or 

b.   Should there be the option of permitting the separate screening of both parties to be conducted by the Arbitrator or Med-Arbitrator OR a (competent) 3rd party designated by the Arbitrator or Med-Arbitrator?

That is: screening by each lawyer of his/her client would no longer be adequate. 

If b. Is permitted, the question becomes: What information may be conveyed to the Arbitrator or Med-Arbitrator by the 3rd party screener? What protections need to be in place (in the legislation or our policies or in Retainer Contracts) to ensure that professionals are not subject to a s. 19 allegation of bias or other complaint based on the fact they had information about Screening for Safety, Competence or Voluntariness?  

All participants were actively engaged in a consensus building process, known as a Samoan Circle, as we invited everyone present to share their strongly held views on the issues. We were ably assisted by Penny Krowitz and Mary Jo Franchi-Rothecker who flip charted the many viewpoints expressed. Then Rick Shields summarized the major points that allowed the group to reach consensus on the FDRIO Screening policy for Family Arbitration, Med-Arb and PC going forward. Family Mediators have a requirement that every mediator must screen their own clients separately prior to mediation, and this was not changed.

While the majority believes that the best practice is for the Arbitrator, Med-Arbitrator or PC to do their own separate screening (as is required in B.C.), it was recognized that this represents a new approach in Ontario that still raises concerns about challenges to the arbitrator’s neutrality. In addition, many arbitrators are concerned about their lack of skill and comfort acting as screener. This is a serious issue and if not addressed competently could leave clients at risk. Finally, the field benefits from the participation of highly experienced and skilled arbitrators, who are unlikely to change their practice at this point in their successful careers. With the new proviso that the same person must separately screen both clients (therefore screening by each lawyer is not adequate), and that the Report to the arbitrator can provide more information about safety concerns and process changes, clients are better protected than in the past.  We agreed that any 3rd party screener must have met the requirements for DV and Power Imbalance Screening Training.         

FDRIO will be announcing detailed Reports about requirements for Certification of Family Arbitrators and Med-Arbitrators and PC’s including Screening Requirements in the very near future.  

Not already a FDRIO member?

FDRIO offers a discounted membership for all FDR professionals. By joining FDRIO, you have the benefit of networking with like-minded FDR professionals from all areas of practice. You can belong to as many sections as you wish for no added fee. By joining a section, you have the opportunity to shape the evolving standards of practice in your field, contribute to a growing bank of knowledge, attend fun, educational and innovative events, and promote the services that you offer to the family law field.

FDRIO will enable you to become certified as a FDR professional by a single organization in all areas in which you work. FDRIO provides its members with a powerful and united voice for progressive and accessible reform of the family law justice system.

Member Benefits

Our FREE webinars for members begin in the fall! Save the dates for the first two! More to come.  Registration details to follow. 

  • Sept. 15, 2016 @ 12:00pm-2:00pm:  
    Lorne Wolfson: Effective Use of Mediation-Arbitration
  • Oct. 12, 2016 @ 12:00pm-2:00pm:
    Hilary Linton: Top Ten Tips for Effective Screening for Power Imbalances in Mediation and Med-Arb
  • December - stay tuned for details!
    Our December webinar is presented by the FDRIO Academic and Policy Section called "Co-mediation & Collaboration: What's the Difference?"
Read more about the full benefits of joining our membership by clicking here
Ready to join FDRIO?  Please visit our website to complete a membership application To submit your application form and credit card payment, please email:

Upcoming FDR events

OCLF 2nd Annual Summer Sessions for Collaborative Professionals
July 28 - August 2, Charlottetown, PEI

OAFM Conference and AGM
Bias, Diversity & Cultural Competency: Cultivating Awareness
September 29, 30, Venue: Westin Hotel, Ottawa

AFCC-O's AGM & Eighth Annual Conference
October 20, Venue: Children's Aid Society of Toronto

New Ways for Families Training
October 21-22, Venue: Ottawa

FDRIO is proud to be collaborating with Bill Eddy of High Conflict Institute in sponsoring his New Ways for Families training in Ottawa. 

FDR News and Blogs

We recently posted and shared some great blogs about written by various professionals and some of our own members.....

Promoting Ontario's Subsidized Family Information and Mediation Services

Divorce and Separation: Where to Start

Family Law ADR requires a higher ethical standard, Part II
Copyright © 2016 Family Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

Email Marketing Powered by MailChimp