ODR tools for kids?

The use of technology is definitely increasing in the conflict resolution field. In BC, ODR (Online Dispute Resolution) is a key component of the Civil Resolution Tribunal, MyLawBC and the Mediate BC ODR Pilot (Robson Square small claims disputes). We expect that the younger generation will adopt these tools more readily than older folks (with some exceptions of course!) so a good question is:

How are we engaging with young people to assist them to engage with conflict in a healthy way using technology?

OTTER - Online Dispute Resolution for Kids

OTTER – Online Dispute Resolution for Kids

A new platform has been developed by Kelly Sorbera and Alec Go especially for kids. It is called OTTER, “an award-winning online dispute resolution (ODR) solution that includes an “automated mediator” and other dispute resolution tools to help kids resolve conflicts.” OTTER was originally presented at ODR2014 where it was awarded 1st place in the Tech For Justice Hackathon. Check out the description and information video here.

You will note that OTTER was seeking backing through Kickstarter, but did not achieve its funding goal. Mediate BC is not endorsing this product but we think it is definitely worth taking a look to see what the future might hold!

  • What do you think about OTTER?
  • Do you think early awareness and education for children about effective conflict engagement is important?
  • How do you think technology can assist?
  • What dispute resolution projects are you involved with for children and youth? Is technology playing a critical role?

Share in the comments below!

Volunteers Are a Big Part of Mediate BC’s Success

As April is Volunteer Recognition month, I would like to take this opportunity to thank those who have volunteered their time on behalf of Mediate BC in the past year. By participating in our public events and writing for our blog, volunteers have put in many hours to help educate the public about mediation as an option in a variety of contexts.

Volunteering is an enriching experience for everyone involved. Members of the public are learning about mediation as an option to help them effectively deal with the conflict that inevitably enters their lives and workplaces. Other organizations learn about resources to provide to their clients who experience conflict. Mediate BC benefits enormously as you help us provide a much broader public outreach than we could otherwise. Finally, volunteering helps the volunteers themselves to promote their practices, to connect with other mediators, and to provide a real value to the public.

We have had volunteer participation for many years and in the past year we stepped up our game significantly in providing volunteer opportunities tors at events to mark Conflict Resolution Week and Family Day.

I hope that we can provide even more opportunities in the coming year. Keep an eye out calls for volunteers in our newsletters if you would like to get involved, and if you have ideas for new avenues for Mediate BC and our Roster Mediators to support your organization or community through volunteering, please get in touch!

Thank you to our 2014/2015 volunteers! We appreciate your generosity and support.

Rahul Aggarwal
Rebecca Alleyne
Grace Baker
Nancy Baker
Audra Bayer
Sheila Begg
Kathleen Bellamano
Fazal Bhimji
Patsy Bourassa
George Brose
Catherine Brink
Colleen Cattell
Bev Churchill
Mike Collyer
Anouk Crawford
Jen Crawford
Julie Daum
Jamie Elrington
Jenn Errico
Jory Faibish
Gary Fitzpatrick
Brian Gibbard
Bob Groves
Neil Hain
Leanne Harder
Brenda Hooper
Darrin Hotte
Kyra Hudson
Doug Husband
Roy Johnson
Sandra Kahle
Darlene Kavka
Sharon Kelly
Vivian Kerenyi
Aurora Johannson
Wendy Lakusta
Michael Lomax
Yuki Matsuno
Sandy Milne
Ron Monk
Elaine McCormack
Julia Menard
Liza Miles
Dan Miller
Kevin Moye
Liana Murphy
Bill Murphy-Dyson
Leslie Palleson
Shelina Neallani
Viola Neufeld
Alex Ning
Chris Ortner
Emily Pos
Janko Predovic
John Radford
Karen Redmond
Amy Robertson
Christiaan Rothman
Marlene Russo
Elise Schopper-Brigel
Colleen Selby
Shamim Shivji
Ron Smith
Susan Smith
Donna Soules
Norm Smookler
Colin Spencer
Sharon Sutherland
Paul Taberner
Yannie Tai
Tammy Van Hinte
Lori Williams
Ben Ziegler

 

I would also like to recognize our Board of Directors and members of our Roster Committee, all of whom serve on a volunteer basis. Their guidance and oversight is invaluable to Mediate BC. These are time-consuming and intense volunteer roles that provide an enormous benefit to all of us in the mediation community.Thank you to all the current and past Directors and Roster Committee members who served Mediate BC over the past year:

Board of Directors
• Peter Behie, Board Chair
• Gail Bedard
• Judge Andrea Brownstone
• Ian Doddington
• Brian Gibbard
• Jean Greatbatch
• Bill Keen
• Michael Lomax
• Jane Morley
• Wayne Plenert
• Judge Donna Senniw
• Paul Taberner
Roster Committee
• Sheila Begg
• Nick de Domenico
• Arlene Henry
• Carol Hickman
• Michael Lomax
• Wayne Plenert

Thank you all!

Monique Steensma
CEO, Mediate BC

The New CEO of Mediate BC

Monique Steensma

Monique Steensma

I am very happy to be writing my first message to you as CEO of Mediate BC!

I have been part of this organization since 2005 when I completed the Court Mediation Practicum, and then went on to be a Small Claims Mediator, a member of the Civil Roster with a private mediation practice, and most recently, Manager of the Court Mediation and Roster Programs. Now, I look forward to continuing to build on our successes and find new opportunities.

Kari Boyle has done an extraordinary job of leading Mediate BC forward for the last nine years, and I only hope I can live up to the example she has set for leadership of this organization and in this community. I am very happy that she is staying on as the Director of Strategic Initiatives, as I know that I will continue to benefit from her wise guidance as I step into my new role.

I look forward to forging new relationships and reconnecting with our stakeholders, including people and organizations seeking ways to manage and resolve their disputes; mediators and those aspiring to become mediators; and representatives of the many other organizations with whom we collaborate and serve.

Please get in touch if you have any thoughts or questions that you would like to share, or just would like to say hello. You can reach me at 604-684-1300 ext. 200, or by email.

I also invite you to connect in the digital world if you have not done so already, you can find me on Twitter at @MoniqueSteensma or on LinkedIn at http://ca.linkedin.com/in/moniquesteensma.

Sincerely,

Monique Steensma
CEO, Mediate BC

The Law Society of BC, the “Unauthorized Practice of Law” and Mediation

If I am a mediator, but not a practicing lawyer in BC, when do I cross the line into the “practice of law”? What does that line look like? Is there a line at all? How does this affect how I practice mediation and serve my clients?

These are thorny questions. They are not new and mediators in BC and abroad have been struggling with them for decades.

Over the years, the Law Society of BC has received complaints that mediators have crossed the line and, in some cases, has sought ‘undertakings’ from these mediators that they will change their activities and in other cases has applied to the Supreme Court for an injunction prohibiting that mediator from engaging in the practice of law.

Mediate BC’s Rosters include mediators from a wide variety of backgrounds and we celebrate this diversity and the range of services that are available to BC citizens to resolve their disputes. Mediate BC wants to support Roster mediators by helping to clarify what the “practice of law” means to them and how to avoid a Law Society complaint.

We are pleased to advise that the Law Society of BC has recently released an “Information Bulletin” entitled the “Unauthorized practice of law” which tackles this issue directly.

LSBC Info Bulletin Unauthorized Practice of Law

The bulletin highlights the situations involving particular risk:

  • Advising mediation participants on the law or their legal rights
  • Drafting enforceable contracts (including advice on how to structure their agreement)

While this bulletin is helpful, we see it as only the first step of a dialogue, first with the BC mediation community, and then with the Law Society of BC. Mediation is a key part of an effective access to justice strategy and the Law Society of BC supports the creation of new categories of “legal service providers” (regulated by the Law Society). So an important additional question needs to be addressed: How, and to what extent, can BC mediators who are not practicing lawyers provide services to the public that would, under the current definition, be considered the “practice of law”?

Mediate BC is organizing a community dialogue process over the next several months to discuss the Information Bulletin and these other important questions. We are very keen to obtain your input and ideas. Please watch for more information about dates/times/locations for these sessions.

Thank you,

Kari D. Boyle
Executive Director, Mediate BC

Family Mediators are Available Across BC

AvailableMediate BC has a roster of family mediators who have met our stringent requirements in:

  • Training (mediation, family dynamics, safety screening, etc.)
  • Experience (experience as a family mediator)
  • Professionalism (adhering to our Standards of Conduct, ongoing professional development and more)

If you need a family mediator in BC, visit our Family Mediator Roster where you can search based on your location, the specific issues to your case, cost and other factors. Our Roster Program staff and Roster mediators would be happy to assist you in determining if mediation is right for you.


 

Mediate BC is hosting a panel discussion with family mediators in Surrey on February 17, 2015 and our LTIO Familyfamily mediators are in Provincial Courthouses across the province providing information about family mediation to those engaged in the process of separation and divorce.

For a full listing of information table locations, dates and times, please click here.

Categories: Access to justice, Family Mediation, MediateBC, Mediation, Separation and Divorce

Family Mediation is Timely

Time

Legal disputes in the court system can take months or even years to complete.  The longer a family dispute takes to resolve the higher the financial and emotional toll on the family.  This is where mediation can help.

A Department of Justice Canada study in 2007 found that cases which included mediation resolved about 5 months faster than those which did not. That’s 20 weeks, or 140 days of less stress and emotional turmoil a person would have to endure and time that could be spent moving forward.

Mediation is available any time – even before court action is started.


 

Mediate BC is hosting a panel discussion with family mediators in Surrey on February 17, 2015 and our family mediators are in Provincial Courthouses across the province providing information about family mediation to those engaged in the process of separation and divorce.

Today, family mediators are providing information in Provincial Courthouses in:LTIO Family

  • Richmond (7577 Elmbridge Way, 9:00am – 4:00pm)
  • Surrey (14340 – 57th Ave., 9:00am – 4:00pm)
  • Victoria (850 Burdett Ave., 9:00am – 12:00pm)

For a full listing of information table locations, dates and times, please click here.

Family Mediation is Affordable

Affordable

The Mediate BC Mediator Survey 2014 showed just how much more affordable family mediation can be on average when compared to litigation. The survey found that average total mediation fees were less than $2,000 ($1,784 to be precise).  Since parties usually share this total cost, the average cost to each party to a mediation would be less than $1,000.

The 2014 Canadian Lawyer magazine fee survey found that the average total legal fees for a family court case up to and including a two-day trial were $14,500 per party (or $29,000  total).

While not all court cases will end up in a two-day trial and mediation time can vary by the number and complexity of the issues, the difference is significant.  Mediation can be a much more affordable option for families.


 

Mediate BC is hosting a panel discussion with family mediators in Surrey on February 17, 2015 and our family mediators are in Provincial Courthouses across the province providing information about family mediation to those engaged in the process of separation and divorce.

Today, family mediators are providing information in Provincial Courthouses in:LTIO Family

  • Kamloops (455 Columbia St., 9:00am – 12:00pm)
  • Salmon Arm (550 – 2nd Ave., 9:00am – 12:00pm)

For a full listing of information table locations, dates and times, please click here.

Family Mediation is Effective

Effective

The Mediate BC Mediator Survey 2014 found that over 90% of mediations resolved all issues or helped the parties move towards resolution. These resolution rates were particularly high in family mediations where:

  • 81% Resolved all issues
  • 17% Did not resolve all issues, but assisted the parties to move towards resolution

The benefits of family mediation were also revealed in participant satisfaction rates:

  • 93%: Average satisfaction rate with the process*
  • 85%: Average satisfaction rate with the outcome*

*Includes mediation satisfaction of family, civil and workplace mediations.

Why is family mediation so successful in resolving issues and satisfying participants?  Reasons include:

  • Families are the ones in control of creating the solution. Mediators assist, or facilitate, the two parties to engage in productive dialogue and agree on what will work for them. The decisions are made by the parties (family members) not by the mediators.
  • Family mediation is affordable (more on this tomorrow).
  • Family mediation is timely (more on this later this week).
  • Family mediation is safe, confidential and can help to preserve good relationships.
  • Family mediation is flexible and can be conducted safely and effectively using technology tools in appropriate cases
  • Family mediation can result in creative solutions tailored to the family’s needs.

Mediate BC is hosting a panel discussion with family mediators in Surrey on February 17, 2015 and our family mediators are in Provincial Courthouses across the province providing information about family mediation to those engaged in the process of separation and divorce.

Today, family mediators are providing information in Provincial Courthouses in:LTIO Family

  • Kelowna (1355 Water St., 9:00am – 3:30pm)
  • Surrey (14340 – 57th Ave., 9:00am – 4:00pm)

For a full listing of information table locations, dates and times, please click here.

Categories: Access to justice, Communication, Family Mediation, MediateBC, Mediation, Separation and Divorce

Family Day is challenging for Those Facing Post-Holiday Separation or Divorce

FamDay Final w Border

Separation and divorce usually rates increase in the first month of each year, which can cause stress for families at the time BC celebrates Family Day.  To meet that need, Mediate BC is hosting a panel of experienced family mediators to provide information about how mediation can assist families to transition through separation and divorce without the need to go to court. Family Roster mediators Brenda Hooper and Kevin Moye, Family Justice Counselor Elissa Dehgan and Legal Advocate Ram Sidhu will be on hand to discuss options and the mediation process as well as to answer questions.

Other community resources will be participating to let families know about the additional resources and services available in their community.

Options        Sources         Diversecity         Pacific

This free public event will be interactive with lots of time for discussion and questions, so it is an ideal option for those who are trying to work through some difficult family issues.

For more information and to register please visit us here. You can download the event poster here.

Mediate BC’s experienced local family mediators will also be in Provincial Courthouses across the province to provide information to families engaged in the process of separation and divorce. For a listing of participating communities, dates and times please visit the Mediate BC website.

Generously funded by the Law Foundation of BC.