November 21-26 is Family Dispute Resolution Week: What is it all about?

The idea of “FDRweek” originated in the very earliest days of FDRIO’s life as an organization.

We knew that family dispute resolution (FDR) in all its forms is growing exponentially across Ontario. At the same time, more people experiencing separation and divorce are doing it without the benefit of lawyers. Traditionally, lawyers were the gate-keepers who helped their clients make informed process choices. These included family mediation, arbitration, parenting coordination, collaborative practice and other non-litigious processes that often involved financial and child specialists to support the family.

The increasing complexity of FDR process options combined with fewer people having access to affordable legal advice has led to a growing need for what FDRIO can offer— information for the public and professionals about all FDR process options.

And so, with the support of Premier Kathleen Wynne, the Action Group on Access to Justice (TAG) and mayors across the province, FDRweek was launched in 2015. It is a week of public and professional events, celebrating the exciting growth in and diversity of FDR processes.

The first FDRweek featured free, public information events where family mediators, arbitrators, financial professionals, coaches, collaborative professionals and court-connected service providers spoke about what they do and the pros and cons of each process option. We sponsored free “Mobile Family Law Information Centres” in various locations, where the Information & Referral Coordinators and free mediators who work in the courts brought their expertise and resources directly to the public.

We also sponsored some incredible events for professionals, including an Interdisciplinary Trainers’ Forum, a standing-room only event organized by our Academic and Policy Section, and a sold-out our Access to Justice Forum. All three of these are now annual FDRweek events, graciously hosted by the Law Society of Upper Canada. We also hosted meet and greets across the province, including Barrie, Newmarket and Durham.

This year’s FDR week events are now being planned. We are hoping that more people— whether they are FDR professionals themselves, educators, clients, service providers or interested members of the public—will consider organizing and hosting FDR week events. We will support you however we can.

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Schedule of Events

Highlights of the week include:

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