What is mediation?
Mediation is an opportunity for you and the other party (parties) to meet in person with a mediator, to try to settle the conflict. Mediation is voluntary, free and confidential.
A settlement from the mediation is a voluntary agreement to resolve the matter on specified terms. Any settlement must be accepted by all parties. If any agreement is reached, you will sign a document called the Memorandum of Understanding setting out the terms of the agreement.
Mediation is confidential.
Mediation is confidential in order to encourage the parties to have full and frank discussions with a view to possible settlement. All matters (e.g. documents and statements) disclosed during mediation are confidential. This means the statements that you make at your mediation cannot be raised or used as evidence against you at the Landlord & Tenant Board or in another civil proceeding.
Further, the mediator will not communicate any information about the mediation and will not disclose any documents that are shared during the mediation.
All the parties and their representatives (if any) who participate in mediation must sign a Confidentiality Agreement before the mediation will commence.
After the mediation is over (whether it is successful or not), the mediator’s notes or record of the mediation will be destroyed.
If your mediation is successful, the contents of the Memorandum of Understanding should remain confidential. This means that the terms and conditions of the agreement cannot be disclosed.
The York Region Housing Mediation Services® will keep a copy of the signed Memorandum of Understanding for their records.
Do I need a lawyer or paralegal at mediation?
No. It is not necessary for you to have a lawyer or paralegal represent you at mediation. Mediation has been designed for people who do not have a lawyer. Many participate in mediation without a lawyer. This is known as “self-representation”.
Mediators cannot provide legal advice. It is each parties’ responsibility to obtain individual information and advice on their legal rights and responsibilities.
How can I get ready before my mediation?
Think about what you would like to achieve at mediation.
The purpose of the mediation is to resolve the case without the involvement of the Landlord & Tenant Board, where possible and where both parties are reasonable. In order to have a successful mediation, you will need to participate in good faith and have a good understanding of what range of outcomes you would be willing to accept.
You should think about what your “best case” and “worst case” scenarios would be. The best case is what you would be able to achieve by applying to the Landlord & Tenant Board. The worst case would be getting nothing after going through a hearing and losing at the Landlord & Tenant Board.
Each party has the option to end the mediation at any time. The mediators may also end the mediation if they decide it is not appropriate to continue.
Decide if you want to bring someone with you for support.
Whether or not you have a lawyer or paralegal, you can bring a family member, friend or anyone else for personal support. You should prepare that individual for the mediation. Tell that person exactly what you want him or her to do during the day. For example, you could say that you want him or her to signal to the mediator that you are really upset and need a break.
If you decide to bring someone for personal support, please inform our mediator(s) in advance of the mediation.
What can I expect on the day of mediation?
The mediator will begin by explaining the process to all of the parties.
The following matters will be explained:
- The role of the mediator is not a judge AND cannot help the parties decide on an agreement.
- That the process is confidential. The Confidentiality Agreement must be signed by all parties.
- That the process is voluntary.
- All parties are expected to be respectful towards one another.
- Refrain from interrupting each other, even if you disagree OR do not like what is being said.
- Understand and appreciate that each of you has decided to participate with the intention of working together to resolve the conflict.
- Answer questions as needed.
If mediation is successful, the Mediator may assist to prepare a written agreement based on the parties’ settlement. Mediators may involve themselves to the extent of assisting the parties to draft their agreement. This helps to ensure that the parties understand their respective rights and responsibilities and promotes clear and objective wording of agreements between parties, especially in instances where one or both parties are not legally represented.