Mediation is a voluntary process of cooperative problem solving in which a neutral third party, with special training and skills, helps individuals to work out mutually acceptable, solutions.
Mediation is really “a difficult conversation” or negotiation facilitated by the mediator. Mediation is confidential.
Parties choose the mediator by agreement. Not every mediator will mediate all types of disputes and many restrict their practices to specific areas or models of mediation so it is important to note that not one mediator fits all disputes.
The mediator does not impose a solution; the parties reach it themselves, with the mediator’s help.
Although conflict is difficult to deal with and emotions often run high, you should come to mediation with an honest desire to reach a settlement that is fair to all parties and workable in practice.
Participants in mediation must be prepared to be flexible in moving away from their initial positions to seek solutions that meet as many of their mutual interests as possible.
Mediation is voluntary, and either party is free to withdraw from mediation any time during the process.
Some Mediation Benefits:
- Can save time and money
- Is flexible and can be designed around the specific dispute
- Maintains party control
- Promotes joint problem solving
- May preserve relationships
- Brings closure to the dispute
Although the mediation process is voluntary, agreements reached through mediation are as valid as any other contract. In mediation held under Ontario’s Commercial Mediation Act, 2010 includes a process for court enforcement of mediated agreements.