1.) Agreement to Mediate
- We have been given this Contract electronically as we have decided to attempt to settle the issues between us through the process of family mediation using communication technology with the assistance of a mediator. This contract sets out the terms and conditions under which the mediation will proceed.
- This Contract shall be governed by the laws of the Province of Ontario and of Canada.
- We understand that the primary goal of mediation is to help separated or divorced parties (or third parties where applicable), arrive at a suitable agreement taking into account the interests of other members of our family.
- We understand the process of family mediation is voluntary.
- The Mediator is not a judge, arbitrator or assessor; he or she is an impartial facilitator whose role is to help us communicate and negotiate in an attempt to resolve our issues.
- We understand that the responsibility for resolving our issues rests with us, not the mediator.
2. Terms of Communication Technology
The Mediator and their clients will rely primarily upon communication technologies (example Zoom) to communicate, and to participate in the mediation process. The terms for use of this temporary means of participating in mediation are:
- Each client agrees not to have another person in the room or within hearing distance when using any communication technology to participate in the mediation. The Mediator will ensure that their communications will be confidential (no one else in hearing distance). Each client needs to recognize that they too, must ensure this.
- You agree to take all reasonable measures to ensure that you are not interrupted during your online mediation sessions. This includes arranging for appropriate childcare, notifying family and friends of your unavailability for social media, texting etc.
- If either client wishes to have another person in the room, they will obtain permission of the Mediator and the other client prior to the mediation session beginning. If all the clients agree that the other person will be privy to the mediation process, that person must sign the Agreement to Mediate and is bound by the terms of agreement.
- You will need a secure Wi-Fi or Ethernet (hard-wired) connection for your computer. You should NOT use a public access Wi-Fi connection, such as those available in public spaces and businesses as they are not secure, and your information may be at risk in that situation.
- You, or anyone on your behalf, may NOT audio or video record any mediation session or portion thereof. In the event that you learn of an audio or video recording of any session, you will take immediate measures to destroy the recording and will not disseminate the recording to any third parties. You further agree that you will not transmit a live or deferred video or audio relay of the online sessions to third parties.
- Each client commits to minimizing the chance of inappropriate disclosures, including protecting access to any e-mails, notes or other information relating to the mediation which may be stored in their computers or elsewhere, and to minimizing the consequences of any such disclosures should they occur.
- By acknowledging this Contract, each client specifically agrees to the Mediator using information and communication technologies in the context of the mediation and releases the Mediator from any liability in the event of any inadvertent disclosure.
**You will be asked to acknowledge and understand the above terms of Communication Technology at the end of the form
3. Independent Legal Advice/Representation
- We understand that that the Mediator will not offer legal advice to either of us, and that the Mediator has no duty to assert or protect our legal rights.
- We acknowledge that we have been advised to seek independent legal advice as it is in our best interest. We understand that this legal advice will help us to better appreciate our respective rights and obligations throughout the process in resolving outstanding issues. Advice also helps us understand whether any agreement we make is reasonable and fair. Advice can be from a number of different sources – Legal Aid, Unbundled Service or Independent Lawyer.
- When issues are resolved, the Mediator will prepare a written report for us. This is not a binding agreement. If we wish to make the mediator’s report into a legally binding agreement, we will need assistance from a lawyer or a court order.
4. Disclosure of Information
We understand that the mediator will not voluntarily disclose to anyone who is not a party of the mediation, any verbal or written communication that has taken place during the mediation process. The only exceptions will include disclosure of information for:
- Our lawyers;
- Where ordered to do so by law;
- Where required to do so by law (e.g. information about a potential child protection issue);
- Where information suggests an actual or potential threat to human life or safety;
- Research or education purposes (non-identifying information);
- On written consent of both (all) of us.
5. Closed Mediation
In closed mediation, the report will summarize only those issues resolved.
We understand that the mediation process will remain confidential. We acknowledge that our discussions in mediation are for the purpose of reaching an agreement regarding the issues between us. We agree not to summons the mediator(s) and/or the mediation records for any court or arbitration hearings.
6. Mediation Sessions
- As we will be mediating by communication technologies, if either of us feels intimidated in any way when speaking honestly and freely about relevant matters, we will immediately advise the mediator.
- We acknowledge that, generally the mediator will meet the parties in joint sessions through Zoom or other communication technologies. However, occasionally the mediator may wish to meet with one party individually. The mediator must obtain our consent before involving another person in the mediation process.
7. Disclosure of Information by the Parties
- We agree to make full and complete disclosure of all information, whether written or verbal, that is relevant to the issues being mediated, including but not limited to the disclosure of financial information.
- We understand and agree that if the mediator has reason to believe that full financial disclosure has not occurred, they may terminate the mediation process.
8. Cost of Mediation
We agree that it is our responsibility to pay The Mediation Centre the fee determined for sessions prior to commencing mediation. We understand that the fee is determined based on income from all sources. Fees will be collected by the Centre with either an email transfer or confidential call with credit card payment.
9. Termination of Mediation
We understand that either one of us or the mediator, has the right to withdraw from the mediation process at any time with notice given.
10. Undertakings and Acknowledgments
We agree that neither one of us nor our lawyers acting on our behalf will initiate, or take any new steps, in any legal proceedings while the mediation is in progress. The only exceptions to this are:
- we both consent in writing prior to any action being taken;
- a matter warrants an emergency ex parte order.
- We agree that during these negotiations neither of us nor our lawyer will:
- attempt to dispose of or mortgage any property;
- incur any significant debt;
- change beneficiaries of life insurance plans, death benefits or health insurance plans;
- without written consent of the other party.
We understand that the Mediation Service is being provided to the public under an arrangement with Her Majesty the Queen in right of Ontario as represented by the Attorney General (Ministry). We acknowledge that the Mediation Service Provider and the Mediators are not agents, joint venturers, partners or employees of the Ministry. We further acknowledge that the Ministry does not assume any responsibility for service, action, and inaction provided with respect to the Mediation Service. We will not jointly or separately hold the Ministry liable for any damages.
We would like to proceed with mediation in accordance with the terms set out above.