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Types of family mediation

Region: Ontario Answer # 0161

Family mediation takes two forms in Ontario, government funded and private.

1. Government funded family mediation

For parties in court, the government funds free mediation on the day they are in court. This is known as ‘onsite’ mediation and it is available in the Family Law Information Centres in the courts. It is provided by government-regulated service providers.

The government also subsidizes ‘off-site’ family mediation, which is available to everyone whether they are in court or not and is provided on a sliding fee scale by the same regulated service providers. Fees are as low as $5 an hour and can be waived, and many services offer mediation in languages other than English and French.

In both onsite and offsite mediation, the mediator will meet with each party individually before deciding whether the case is appropriate for mediation. It is not necessary to have a lawyer to use these services. Client survey results show very high rates of satisfaction with these services.

Government funded mediation services work closely with Legal Aid Ontario, domestic violence support workers, and many other agencies to help support couples seeking to mediate child custody, child access, child support, spousal support, property division, travel consents and more.

2. Private family mediation

Private family mediators are retained either by the couple or their lawyer/s. There are several professional organizations that certify family mediators and list them on their websites, including:

  • The Ontario Association for Family Mediation
  • The Family Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario
  • Family Mediation Canada

For more information on mediation, refer to our Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) section.

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