What is Mediation?

Mediation is a voluntary and confidential process that promotes open and respectful communication with the assistance of a neutral and impartial third party: the mediator. Mediation allows the parties in a dispute to examine their interests and concerns, explore a variety of creative options, and develop mutually satisfactory solutions to problems in a timely and cost-effective manner. With the mediator’s help, the parties determine the outcome and are more likely to be satisfied with the process and the results.

The Benefits of Mediation

Mediator’s role

  • be impartial;
  • deal respectfully with all mediation participants;
  • meet with the parties and their representatives separately, in person or by phone, prior to mediation to discuss their perspectives (pre-mediation);
  • answer any questions at pre-mediation that the participants may have about mediation;
  • explain the mediation process;
  • ensure that the Agreement to Mediate is signed by all participants prior to the commencement of mediation;
  • establish, in consultation with the parties, the ground rules for mediation;
  • help everyone listen, communicate and stay focused on the mediation process;
  • help the parties to focus on the future, rather than the past, and on interests, rather than on positions;
  • encourage the parties to consider each other's perspective;
  • help the parties to identify the important issues;
  • guide the parties in exploring their respective interests and needs;
  • support the parties in their development of viable options and assessing the various options in light of objective criteria (laws, precedents, etc.);
  • protect the confidentiality of the mediation process, subject to any applicable law;
  • help the parties in doing a “reality check” concerning the respective strengths and weaknesses of their case.

The Role of the Mediator is NOT to :

  • take sides;
  • act as a lawyer or advocate for either party;
  • tell the parties what the issues are between them;
  • take responsibility for the issues;
  • solve the issues;
  • make decisions for the parties;
  • offer his or her opinion on the likely outcome if the case is not settled in mediation and proceeds to hearing;
  • give advice on the legal implications of any settlement reached by the parties;
  • draft the Terms of Settlement;
  • give advice on the legal implications of the Terms of Settlement.
Parties' role

Before mediation

  • think about the key issues as you see them and as the other party may see them;
  • consider your interests (concerns, hopes, fears, desires, expectations, etc.) and needs and what the other party’s interests and needs may be;
  • identify possible solutions that might satisfy your interests and those of the other party;
  • ensure that you have the necessary authority to settle;
  • prepare opening remarks explaining your perspective on the issues and your general objectives for mediation;
  • consider your alternatives should mediation not result in an agreement; and
  • try to understand the other party’s perspective.

During mediation

  • review and sign the “Agreement to Mediate”;
  • ensure that you have the necessary authority to settle;
  • participate in good faith;
  • communicate openly and honestly;
  • if in doubt, ask questions;
  • contribute actively to generating options;
  • assess the options, to make an informed decision; and
  • when a settlement is reached, draft the “Terms of Settlement” and sign them.

After the mediation

  • implement the Terms of Settlement.
Mediation has a greater chance of success when the parties

  • prepare and participate actively in the process;
  • genuinely listen in an effort to understand the other's point of view;
  • express themselves openly yet respectfully;
  • are more concerned with resolving the issue than with laying blame or winning; and,
  • are fully authorized to settle or have ready access to the necessary authority.

How to access grievance and complaint mediation

  • When a grievance or complaint is referred to the FPSLREB, a letter is sent to the parties to ask if they wish to participate in mediation.

  • If the parties agree to mediation, they forward their contact persons’ information to the FPSLREB Secretariat, and the file is referred to the Mediation and Dispute Resolution Services (MDRS) team.

  • A mediator is appointed.

  • The mediator contacts the parties to identify mediation dates and start preparing for the mediation.

  • Once mediation dates are identified, the FPSLREB Secretariat takes care of logistics, such as reserving mediation rooms.

  • It is important to note that in the context of a staffing complaint, participation in mediation does not suspend the time frames stipulated in the Public Service Staffing Complaints Regulations for the formal hearing process.

  • In exceptional circumstances, the MDRS team offers preventative mediation services for cases that have not yet been referred to adjudication at the Board. Inquiries should be directed to the MDRS team.
How to access mediation during collective bargaining

  • When the parties reach a point in their face-to-face negotiations at which it is increasingly difficult to make progress, either party (or both) may choose to request the services of a mediator. Representatives of parties wishing to request mediation services for collective bargaining should consult the Director of MDRS. For more information, please visit our collective bargaining section.

For more information, refer to the mediation fact sheet and video.

The MDRS team is dedicated
to providing impartial third-party assistance
to help parties resolve disputes to their mutual satisfaction.