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Online Mediation FAQ

07.17.2020

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The goal of our blog is to provide you with information, resources, and support in navigating your family law matter. If you are interested in doing online mediation, here are some common questions clients have. Please take a look, and email us at info@mediate393.ca if you have any additional questions.

CAN I STILL DO OFF-SITE MEDIATION DURING SOCIAL DISTANCING?

Whether or not you have a court case, subsidized family mediation is available to everyone in the GTA. The one hour confidential intake meetings for each person are free and the fees for the mediation will depend on your income.  Our mediators include family lawyers, social workers, mental health professionals and financial professionals.

During Covid-19 and when it is appropriate we are offering off-site mediation online, using Zoom. (https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/206618765-Zoom-Video-Tutorials)

If you would like to do off-site mediation, please contact us at info@mediate393.ca for an Intake Form. Each party must complete an Intake Form and you will also be asked to sign a Technology Agreement. Your file will then be assigned to a mediator who will contact you to schedule intake meetings.

CAN I STILL DO ON-SITE MEDIATION WHILE THE COURTS ARE CLOSED?

Mediation is free for anyone “in court” for a motion, case conference, pre-trial, trial, or DRO appearance.

Currently, only certain cases are being heard in-person at court. Other matters are being heard on the phone. Whether your matter is heard on the phone, online, or in person, you are eligible for between 2 and 3 hours of free on-site mediation.

If you would like to do on-site mediation, please ask your judge at your court ‘appearance’  to refer you to on-site mediation services then email us at info@mediate393.ca.

HOW WILL THE MEDIATION TAKE PLACE?

Your mediation will take place using Zoom. This is a software program that uses the Internet and your laptop/phone/tablet’s built-in camera to allow people to meet “virtually”. You can see everyone (mediator, yourself, and the other party– and lawyers if you have them) on the same screen, and you can interact as if you were together in a room. You can also meet privately with the mediator on Zoom– this is done using “Breakout Rooms”. No one is allowed to record the Zoom mediation session.

To familiarize yourself with Zoom, please visit this website and watch the introductory tutorials: (https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/206618765-Zoom-Video-Tutorials)

HOW LONG WILL THE MEDIATION TAKE?

Right now we are limiting off-site mediation sessions to two hours per session (NOT including intake meetings, which you will do alone with the mediator on Zoom). Depending on the complexity of your matter, you may have one two-hour session or multiple sessions.

For on-site mediation, you will have one two-hour free session each time you are in court.

WILL I STILL BE ABLE TO SEE, HEAR, AND TALK TO THE OTHER PARTY IF WE USE ZOOM FOR OUR MEDIATION?

If your mediator has decided that s/he will conduct the mediation with both parties in the same “room” (on Zoom), then yes– you will be able to see, hear, and communicate with the other party. If your mediator has decided to do “shuttle” mediation, s/he will put you in separate “rooms” and you will not be able to speak to or hear the other party.

I DON’T HAVE A CAMERA ON MY LAPTOP. CAN I STILL DO ONLINE MEDIATION?

We will need to confirm your identity before the mediation (by comparing your face to a piece of photo ID). Therefore it is important that you have a working camera on your phone, laptop, tablet, or computer.

WHAT HAPPENS IF MY INTERNET CUTS OUT, OR IF WE ARE DISCONNECTED DURING THE MEDIATION?

Technological issues and interruptions sometimes happen. Your mediator will cover all of these issues with you prior to the mediation. Your mediator will also need your phone number and/or email address in order to communicate with you if the mediation is interrupted.

WHAT IF MY SPOUSE AND I ARE ISOLATING IN THE SAME HOUSE?

If you and your spouse are currently residing in the same household, we will need to make sure that you are in separate rooms/areas during the mediation so that, if you need to, you can speak privately with the mediator without being heard by the other party. Options may include separate bedrooms, one person in the garage / car, etc.

MY KIDS / IN-LAWS / ETC. ARE SAYING IN MY HOME DURING ISOLATION. IS IT OK IF THEY ARE IN THE ROOM DURING MY MEDIATION?

No. Due to the confidentiality restrictions in mediation, no one other than you, your spouse, the mediator, and your lawyers (if you have them) are allowed to hear or see the mediation. You will need to ensure that you are in a room by yourself during the mediation session.

Children cannot be with you when you are doing the mediation. You and your mediator will pick a time for the mediation when you are least likely to be disturbed. If you need to take a quick break during the mediation to check on your children in a separate room, that can be accommodated.

I STILL HAVE QUESTIONS. WHO CAN I ASK?

If you have questions, please email our Information Referral Coordinators at any time. We will respond to your email within 24 hours (M-F, 9-5). If you don’t know which court your file is at, or if you do not have a court file, email any one of the email addresses below and we will respond.

  • For 311 Jarvis St. (Ontario Court of Justice): mediate311@mediate393.ca OR 416-593-5393

Family Law Information Centres (FLIC)

You can learn much more about available services, mediation, court process, separation, divorce and the law by visiting us at one of our Family Law Information Centres (FLIC)

416-977-0718

361 University Ave, Suite 146, Toronto, ON M5G 1T3

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416-326-1694

311 Jarvis Street Toronto, Ontario, M5B 2C4(Between Gerrard and Dundas)

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416-250-6161

47 Sheppard Avenue East Toronto, Ontario M2N 5X5Main Floor (Just east of Yonge, south side of Sheppard)

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