Our firm provides Mediation, Mediation Training, Negotiation, Workplace Conflict Management Systems Design and Facilitation to First Nations, Industry and Government as well as the Private and Non Profit Sectors worldwide.
Our Mediation service is geared to First Nations and the private and non profit sector. I have successfully mediated contentious issues with First Nations on and off reserve and have mediated numerous organizational, landlord/tenant,community,neighbourhood disputes. We are also making our presence known in the extractive industry, nationally and inter-nationally.
Mediation is a voluntary way of resolving disputes and applies to many situations. i.e. Child Welfare, Family Mediations, Commercial Mediations. Mediation or ADR as it is commonly know is where a trained mediator helps parties resolve disputes about issues that are important to them. It attempts to address the underlying issues, the needs, wants and desires of each party making resolution more likely and transparent. It is about helping parties move forward on issues that would normally seem insurmountable. Even if an agreement is not reached at Mediation the likelihood of the issue/s being resolved are increased dramatically.
All parties considering mediation should speak to a lawyer before seeing a mediator. It is helpful to know the law and your rights and obligations before mediation starts. In closed mediation, all discussions between the parties and are confidential and cannot be used as evidence against either party, with very few exceptions (for example, where concerns arise over the welfare of a child). In addition, the mediator will not report to the lawyers or the court on the progress of the mediation or provide an opinion on the issues that have been discussed in mediation to anyone other than the parties themselves.
Open mediation means that the process is not confidential . With open mediation, the agreement to mediate or mediation contract may also authorize the mediator to prepare a report once the mediation finishes.
Parties should sign an agreement to mediate or mediation contract that sets out whether the mediation will be conducted on an open or closed basis. It is important for parties to review any agreement reached during mediation with their lawyers before it is signed.Mediation is not appropriate for everyone, particularly in cases where there has been violence or abuse. Where one party is afraid of, or intimidated by, their spouse, mediation may not be a good idea.The mediation process is voluntary and parties who are unhappy with the mediation process can leave it at any time.
Contact us if your organization or business needs help facilitating contentious issues within First Nations, First Nations and the Private Sector and Government. I bring extensive experience working with First Nations at the Local, Regional and National level for many years. Often parties in dispute require someone who is a not directly connected to either group to help facilitate dialogue. When a solution is found through a participatory process of common learning, it has the potential to increase the sustainability and legitimacy of the result, to create non-violent conflict-resolution mechanisms for the future, and lead to changes in attitudes towards “the other”, thereby improving the relationship between the parties. The purpose of facilitation is to contribute to the development of capacities which transform conflict by peaceful means. I remember reading a teaching from one of our elders, “our relationships are like silver, sometimes we need to polish them up again”.
Facilitation is used to break down communication barriers between parties to assist them to come to understandings about how they will communicate on their respective interests and their respective rights and responsibilities.
Original Dispute Resolution (ODR)
I am passionate about First Nations issues in particular the future generations of youth; a rapidly growing demographic in Canadian Society. The philosophy of thinking 7 generations ahead is paramount for my work in restoring peace and harmony to parties in dispute. Since time immemorial Indigenous people of Turtle Island (North America) developed very effective ways of resolving conflict in their communities. Some of the examples we are seeing more and more of, are family group conferencing and circle facilitation. I was instrumental in the implementation of the Family Community Council, an Aboriginal Dispute Resolution initiative at Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto. The program was the first of its kind in a Canadian urban setting and has proven to be very successful in addressing Aboriginal child welfare matters.
Traditional Circle processes that incorporate storytelling and traditional healing are offered. Using a talking piece that allows for deeper conversations and respect and also ensures a deeper quality of listening. The circle allows for community involvement and shared responsibility/shared outcomes that allow for the extended community to talk about, often allowing for something else to occur that may not have been possible… I am also very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with an impressive roster of traditional teachers throughout my extensive career in the non profit sector. Some of these healers and teachers have passed on to the spirit world but I will never forget some of the most incredible stories that were shared with me. I always incorporate these stories and traditional teachings and contemporary conflict resolution techniques in all aspects of my work.
First Nation Mediation Training
We offer comprehensive Mediation Training to First Nations in Ontario, as well as the non profit and private sectors. Adapted from the St.Stephens Transformative Mediation Model.The purpose of our training is to develop an understanding of mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution processes, as well as to develop practical skills in facilitating and negotiating. You will learn to recognize all five approaches to handling conflict, appreciate their impact on relationships, and choose the model that best fits the situation. Learn how to structure and conduct a mediation, as well as hone your skills and that will assist you to become a powerful negotiator. You will learn to facilitate interest based problem solving and assist parties in role play scenarios to find resolution. You will practice mediating a dispute from start to finish.
Some of the areas that we focus on are:
- Dynamics of Conflict Escalation
- The effects of Conflict Escalation
- Underlying causes or drivers of conflict
- Approaches to Conflict
- Underlying Interests
- Active Listening Techniques
- Indigenous Approaches to Conflict
- Overview of the Mediation Process
- Mediation role plays based on actual conflicts in First Nation communities
- Experiential learning in a safe place
Our mediation training is very comprehensive and can be delivered in a 3 Day format, but it is best delivered in a 4 day program to maximize the experiential learning.