OUR SERVICES

What services do you offer?
Community Mediation Ottawa offers free mediation services to Ottawa residents. Our volunteer mediators offer confidential, impartial, conflict resolution services to two or more people who are having a disagreement in order to help them identify a satisfactory solution.

What is mediation?
Mediation is a process to try to resolve a conflict with the help of two trained, neutral, volunteer mediators. Mediation is a process that gives each person in a conflict a chance to tell their story, listen to the other person’s story and then, together, try to brainstorm solutions that meet both people’s needs. The people in conflict come up with the solution, not the mediators. An agreement is only reached when each person in the conflict is satisfied with the solution. Mediation is completely voluntary and can be stopped by any of the participants or mediators.

How is community mediation different from family mediation or judicial processes?
Community mediation processes take place outside of the court system. CMO does not handle family issues such as divorce, separation, custody or estates. CMO also does not handle commercial disputes if significant sums of money are involved.

Why use community mediation?
Seeking outside support to help with a difficult situation is never an easy step. Community Mediation Ottawa recognizes this and offers the community a safe, confidential, voluntary and no-cost process to help people work through disputes.

Who can use our services?
Anyone can request our services, including individuals, municipal services, housing groups, non-profits and community organizations. We will consider certain family issues, such as decisions around housing for aging parents, or couples that have already separated and need to make non-legal decisions, such as the choice of school their child is to attend. If you have any questions, please contact us.

How much do your services cost?
Community Mediation Ottawa does not charge for its mediation services and our volunteer mediators do not receive payment for their individual services. As a program of the Canadian Institute for Conflict Resolution, a registered charity, we do welcome donations. These can be made online at CanadaHelps.


THE MEDIATION PROCESS

Is mediation confidential?
Yes. Everything that is said within a mediation, including the initial contact, pre-mediation process, mediation itself and the outcomes, will remain confidential unless there is a threat of violence, self-harm or if a child has been harmed. If you were referred to CMO by a community partner or you represent an organization that has referred clients to us, note that these confidentiality provisions strictly limit what information CMO will share. In all circumstances, we will only communicate to a referring organisation whether a given situation did, or did not, go to mediation and whether or not the mediation occurred.

What happens when I contact Community Mediation Ottawa?
After you call or email and leave a message for us, a member of our intake team will contact you. Having this conversation does not mean anyone is obligated to pursue mediation. We will speak with you about the circumstances that prompted you to call. We will try to understand the situation at hand and we explain how the mediation process works. This will help us to determine whether mediation is an appropriate approach. We will then discuss whether to proceed and the next steps, including how to contact the person with whom you are in conflict.

Who are the mediators?
Our mediators are experienced, trained volunteers. CMO assigns two mediators to each case. The role of the mediators is to facilitate communication between the two parties and to help them come to a resolution. The mediators are not there to judge who is right or wrong or to decide on a solution.

How do I prepare for mediation?
The mediators will meet with each person individually (pre-mediation) where they will get more details of the conflict and help you to prepare for the mediation itself. Once the mediators think that everyone is ready for mediation, they will schedule a session at a convenient time and location for everyone. Mediations will take place in a neutral location that is agreed upon by the people in conflict and the mediators.

Who should be present at the mediation?
All persons directly involved in the conflict as well as the two co-mediators.

Can I bring someone else with me for moral support?
Sometimes people want to bring someone who is not involved in the conflict to the mediation. If everyone agrees, you can bring a support person, but that person cannot get involved in the discussions during the mediation.

I’m not 100% comfortable in English or French? Do you offer translation?
We want to ensure that everyone present can fully understand and communicate during the mediation. If you think a translator will help you to speak more easily with the other person, and if you both agree, then you can bring a translator to the mediation. If you don’t know someone who can translate for you, CMO will try to find a translator.

What happens during a mediation?
The mediation session typically lasts up to three hours, depending on complexity. During the mediation, everyone will have a chance to tell their story and to be listened to by other participants. The participants will then be guided to come up with possible solutions and to explore the best options. Agreement is only reached if all participants feel it satisfies their interests. Participants may decide to prepare a short, written agreement.

Will the mediators decide what I will have to do?
No. In community mediation the people in conflict come up with the solution, not the mediators. This is not the same as arbitration where it is agreed that a neutral person will make the decision after listening to the people in conflict. Community mediators are also neutral and they are not there to judge who is right or wrong or decide on a solution; they are there to assist the parties, through a facilitated conversation, to find a mutually agreeable solution (or resolution) to their conflict.

What happens when the participants reach an agreement?
If desired, the people in conflict, with the help of the mediators, can prepare and sign a written agreement that everyone involved will confirm. The agreement is not legally binding.

What happens when there is no agreement?
If the participants do not reach an agreement, we will ask them to take the time to think about the issues on their own. The mediators will follow up with them. If they have not changed their positions, then mediation will not continue.

In community mediation the people in conflict come up with the solution, not the mediators. This is not the same as arbitration where it is agreed that a neutral person will make the decision after listening to the people in conflict. Community mediators are also neutral and they are not there to judge who is right or wrong or decide on a solution; they are there to assist the parties, through a facilitated conversation, to find a mutually agreeable solution (or resolution) to their conflict.

How do I know things will work after we leave the room?
A few weeks after the mediation, we will follow up with each of the participants and ask if further help is wanted. We will also ask participants to fill out an anonymous evaluation form so we can improve our services.

I am interested in learning more about community mediation. Can you recommend some resources?
Yes. We have included links to some of our preferred resources in the Conflict Management: Resources and Tools section on our website.

VOLUNTEERING WITH COMMUNITY MEDIATION OTTAWA

I want to learn more about becoming a mediator. What should I do?
Mediation is an exciting field. Depending on your interests, there are several excellent programs available locally. The Canadian Institute for Conflict Resolution offers the Third Party Neutral program. Links to it, and other programs, are available in the Links section.

Do you offer any training?
Community Mediation Ottawa requires all mediators on its roster to attend a 21-hour training program, focusing on the community mediation model endorsed by the Ontario Community Mediation Coalition. Participation in the program is available by invitation only. Training has been offered annually. We hope to offer the training more frequently, as resources permit.

I have taken mediation training, and would like to volunteer with you to build some experience. How can I go about this?
We currently have a limited number of openings on our roster of mediators. We select mediators who are interested in contributing to the Ottawa community by volunteering their time in a variety of ways. We are developing a skills and administrative assessment process that will be used to place people on the roster. As the size of our roster is limited, Community Mediation Ottawa will only add people to the roster as needed.

Can I support you by sharing other skills and expertise?
We are an all-volunteer organization and welcome volunteers with proficiency in most activities related to operating a small, non-profit, conflict resolution organization. If you are interested in joining us, please contact us.

Do you offer paid internships or placements?
We are always willing to hear from energetic and talented people who would like to work with us. Community Mediation Ottawa is an all-volunteer organization. We will consider and welcome unpaid internships and placements for students in post-secondary education programs. Please contact us for details at communitymediation@cicr-icrc.ca or 613-235-5800 ext. 6455