Certification as family mediator in Ontario, and Ministry of the Attorney General eligibility to provide court-connected services, requires applicants to have at least 100 hours of supervised mediation experience.
Historically, student mediators have achieved these hours in a number of ways, often as part of an ‘internship’ program offered by accredited/certified mediators for which the students paid a fee.
Three concerns have arisen with respect to such internships:
- Changes to the Ontario Employment Standards Act (ESA) have made it questionable whether these arrangements are compliant with the law unless they either (a) are provided pursuant to a program that is approved by a college or university or (b) include payment to the intern for work done.Our policy is designed to discourage the payment, by Mediators-In-Training who are providing any form of work, including co-mediating or mediating cases, to internship/practical experience supervisors unless that work is being provided as part of a training program approved by college or university.Payment to internship/practical experience supervisors for the opportunity to observe and receive feedback remains permissible under this Policy.
- As more students study family mediation and seek certification, the shortage of opportunities to obtain affordable, high quality supervised mediation experience has become acute, and
- The practice of requiring Mediators-In-Training to provide redacted copies of their Mediation Summary Reports and Agreements to Mediate possibly violates privacy laws and risks breaches of Mediation contracts promising client confidentiality.
FDRIO’s New Certification Standards for Mediators-in-Training:
- encourage compliance with the ESA while offering Mediators-In-Training meaningful opportunities to learn and develop their own practices;
- encourage the provision of accessible and affordable experiential learning hours required for Certification;
- encourage consistently high quality observation, co-mediation and mediation experiences for mediators-in-training who are working towards their FDRP Med. designation,
- promote the development of opportunities for Mediators-In-Training to mediate on their own files, for which they are paid, as part of their 100 hour experience and
- Protect client confidentiality by not requiring interns to provide copies of client documents as part of their Certification application process.
FDRIO’s NEW family mediation Internship/Mediator-In-Training procedures.
- A change of the terminology for students gaining the required 100 hours of practical experience from “intern” to “Mediator-In-Training” (though the term “intern” may still be used with reference to students in a program for supervised experience that is approved by a college or university);
- Mediators-In-Training will have to meet the following minimum requirements for certification:
- 100 hours of family mediation experience (including observation and debriefing) that has been supervised by a family mediator who meets the criteria set out below. Mediators-In-Training may be asked for payment for the opportunity to observe, de-brief and discuss files, but may not be asked for payment for any services or work that could be considered as work under the ESA, including but not limited to co-mediating and mediating cases, unless they are participating in an internship program approved by a college or university;
- Five family mediation cases completed (not necessarily resolved) as either mediator or co-mediator on the following terms:
- Redacted Mediation Summary Reports (MSRs) and Agreements to Mediate shall NOT be submitted unless they were done in the context of approved simulated learning (Practicum). Instead a report from the supervisor that addresses required criteria, and a written assignment are to be submitted to the Certification Committee;
- For cases involving clients, the supervising mediator will be required to certify that their program complies with the ESA;
- MITs with their own files or practice opportunities can be supervised “remotely” provided the MIT consults with the supervisor at each stage of the process including before and after intake meetings; before and after each mediation session and for the purpose of reviewing all draft documents, which shall be confirmed by their supervising mediator;
- An approved Practicum may contribute up to 40 hours (once such courses are in place) towards these requirements, and may account for all five cases if the MIT achieves a passing grade by their Practicum supervisor. If cases are mediated via a Practicum, there shall be no more than one case for each eight hours of training. Students will be required to submit their non-redacted Mediation Summary Reports for these cases;
- Observation may be either in person or by video-conference. In both cases, client consent is required, and
- The Agreements to Mediate for mediations involving a MIT in any capacity must be signed by the MIT as a participant who is bound by confidentiality.
- Supervisors are required to:
- Be Accredited or Certified for at least five years prior to supervision;
- Warrant that they have mediated an average of at least 10 cases per year over those years;
- Confirm that they are in compliance with the ESA, and
- Provide a written evaluation of the Mediator-In-Training, in the form required by FDRIO.
The FDRIO Practicum
FDRIO will structure its Practicum program as follows, and all approved Practicum Providers must do the same :
- There will be up to five one-day (eight hour) practicum modules with role-plays;
- To participate in a role-play module, Mediators-In-Training must have observed at least seven hours of mediation, or attended (in person or by video-conference) a seven-hour mediation demonstration prepared by FDRIO
- FDRPs will be encouraged to give back to the profession by coaching students in the Practicum;
- After FDR Week 2019, we will work on future modules that may be presented by other FDRPs outside of Toronto.