19 Queen Street, St. Thomas, ON, Canada. N5R 3H9
Tel: (519) 633 - 4423
Fax: (519) 633 - 3240
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Conflict as a source for solutions
Traditionally, conflict has been viewed as something destructive and divisive. However, when managed effectively conflict can create an opportunity for growth. Conflict is a natural and unavoidable response to change. Every time we are asked to do something different, think of something differently, or encounter new situations we experience change and can experience conflict, associated with making necessary adjustments. Conflict encourages us to accept new roles and responsibilities. Individuals can learn to manage their way through turmoil while maintaining individual respect, integrity and team participation, in the process of embracing conflict. A neutral party can assist those experiencing conflict to reach a solution to their clearly defined problems.
The term Alternative Dispute Resolution applies to the creative problem solving process used to negotiate an agreement. This process does not include engaging in litigation through the courts. More and more frequently now courts are ordering disputing parties to engage in a process of Alternative Dispute Resolution before asking the court to resolve the situation by judicial judgment.
There are several forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) available at the Centre.
ADR services available
The Centre provides the following ADR services:
This service for organizations, businesses and families in conflict involves four steps:
Investigation and fact-finding concerning the nature, source and types of conflict present within the group.
Provides a detailed report concerning the findings in the assessment phase of the ADR process.
Provides detailed suggestions for interventions by which the group can identify the source of the conflict and act to resolve the conflict in a meaningful fashion.
Implementation Support for the group or organization with respect to putting interventions into place.
Education and Training in effective conflict management strategies and techniques can be provided for the group or organization.
Personal and/or Group Counselling when it is evident that personal issues are at the root of destructive conflict within a group.
When is the consultation process useful?
When there is generalized conflict or discord within a group,
Where there are multiple issues that cannot be clearly defined or identified,
When a business, not-for-profit organization or religious institution experience internal conflict that cannot be effectively resolved through existing procedures and mechanisms or
When all members of a family are committed to improving the family dynamics and relationships.
How do I start the consultation process?
The governing body, Executive Director or CEO contacts Elgin Counselling & Mediation Centre to request a presentation concerning the Consultation Process.
The governing body then contracts with Elgin Counselling & Mediation Centre to Assess, Analyze and make Recommendations concerning conflict within the group. The governing body then decides on how to implement the Consultation Report. The family consultation process is the same but is usually initiated by one or more adult members of the family.
This process prepares individuals and organizations to engage in conflict resolution. The conciliation process is the first step towards mediation.
This is a dispute resolution method in which a neutral mediator assists disputing parties to come to an agreement. Mediation does not find fault or blame.
There are four main reasons to choose mediation:
The cost is usually significantly less than taking the dispute to court.
The dispute is usually resolved faster.
The goal is a just and fair solution for all parties to the dispute.
A solution is reached by the parties in dispute in discussion/consultation with the mediator and is not forced upon them by an external party.
When is mediation useful?
Mediation is useful for clearly defined issues between clearly identified parties.
Consider Mediation in the following circumstances:
Volunteer Organization Disputes (Board-Employee or Member-Member)
Court Ordered Mediation
Most Domestic Issues
When is mediation not appropriate?
Mediation is not appropriate in the following circumstances:
For custody and access issues where there is a history of abuse, or failure to protect, by one or both adults towards the minor children.
When there is a history of abuse within the past twelve months from one partner towards the other partner.
When there is intimidation from one party towards the other party.
When one party, even with the presence of an advocate, does not feel equal in power and control with the other party.
This is a more formal process which places before a neutral arbitrator the facts and needs of the disputing parties. The arbitrator assesses all information and then makes a ruling or award. Arbitration is usually entered into by contractual agreement when issues cannot be resolved by mediation. Arbitration is usually faster, less formal and less costly than litigation. Arbitration Awards cannot usually be appealed by the parties, whereas, litigation decisions can be appealed to a higher court.
There are two main forms of Arbitration:
Mediation/Arbitration Same: This is a situation where the mediator is also chosen as the arbitrator. The decision to use the same professional in both capacities is determined at the beginning of the mediation process.
Mediation/Arbitration Different: This is a situation where a different person from the mediator is chosen as the arbitrator. This option may use an Arbitration Panel where the disputing parties each choose an arbitrator. Then the arbitrators, in turn, choose another arbitrator to chair the panel.
What are my legal rights?
Mediation is not the practice of law. Mediation is the art and science of bringing disputing parties to mutual agreement in resolving their personal or professional issues.
Our mediators and consultants do not provide legal advice. All parties to a dispute are encouraged to seek independent legal counsel before engaging in the mediation process and most certainly before signing any agreement.
What about confidentiality?
All contact with Elgin Counselling & Mediation Centre is strictly confidential except when disclosure is required by law, or when all parties agree to disclosure in writing.
What if I change my mind?
All parties involved in the Consultation, Conciliation, Mediation or Arbitration process may withdraw at any time.
How do I start the mediation process?
Any party to a dispute may contact Elgin Counselling & Mediation Centre.
The mediator then arranges for all the disputing parties to participate in the mediation process. Lawyers representing disputing parties may also initiate the mediation process.