In order to keep your family and our family safe, Families First Mediation is only meeting virtually at this time.

We are still here for your Family Mediation needs by email, telephone and mostly by Zoom. We can electronically meet face to face, e-sign documents and complete and exchange forms online.
You can still get all of the help you need to move forward. Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions that you have.
Mediation Mediation-Arbitration Arbitration Coaching
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We know that every family is different, and that means every journey of dispute resolution is different as well.

Families First Mediation is unique because we offer different processes to sort through your family challenges. We’ve found that by offering not only coaching, mediation and arbitration but also a hybrid of mediation and arbitration, you can select the best process for you without having to go elsewhere.

  • Can you or do you want to communicate with the other party directly while keeping the decision making within your family? Ask us about Mediation.
  • Can’t work together but don’t want to go to court to have decisions made in the public eye? Ask us about Arbitration.
  • Do you want to try mediation but have a back-up plan in case you can’t settle all of your issues? Ask us about Mediation-Arbitration.


Our staff is always looking for additional ways that we can help.

Julie is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) and that designation helps ensure that the financial side of your dispute is understood and handled professionally.

Julie is one of a handful of Advanced Certified Elder Mediators in Canada through Family Mediation Canada. This program revolves around understanding the special requirements in mediating care, age related and elder law issues. She also holds an International Advanced Certified Elder Mediator designation.

As well, the staff has been trained in Wills and Estates Law and procedures and offer a deep and growing knowledge in those areas.

We’re focused on being able to help families with any of your dispute resolution needs from pre-marriage mediation through separation/divorce, family business transitions, and elder mediation. We’re here to help every step of the way by providing the services your family needs all under one roof.


A great place to start to learn about your options. 1.5 hours of personalized information. Ask questions, bring the other party, your friends, family or other support person.

A family conflict has come up, and with all the stress that generates, where do you start? Where do you turn to get a resolution, agreement or settlement? Often the default for people is a lawyer and to start a court proceeding. This process is expensive and can take a long time to complete. Due to COVID-19, the wait time for “your day in court” has only gotten longer.  While that route may produce the outcome you’re hoping for, you lose the ability to have your voice heard in the process.

A Families First Forum is the place to start. It gives you a chance to discuss your family challenges with a trained professional, they’ll listen to you, ask questions, provide information to help you decide what other ways you can settle the issues most important to you. These other ways are respectful of you, allow you to maintain influence over the direction of the resolution, are less expensive, and are much quicker.

Contact us now to learn more about alternative to court processes are available to you.

Knowledge Centre

While alternative family dispute resolution might seem like something complicated, it means solving your family disputes outside of the court system. The courts create winners and losers in how they approach solving any dispute, but alternative dispute resolution offers more potential outcomes than simply winning and losing.

This approach includes negotiation, mediation, mediation-arbitration, and arbitration.

Some of the benefits of dispute resolution include:

  • It’s a faster process than waiting for your day in court.
  • It’s much more cost effective.
  • The process is confidential.
  • You have a voice and influence over both the process and the outcome.

There are so many decisions to make and the choice of process is an important one.

While you may not have had a choice in the conflict you now find yourself in, you do have choices going forward. Getting information is the foundation of good decision making.

Often people think that going to a lawyer is the place to start, and for you that might be true. Family lawyers have an obligation to let you know about other processes as well.

From one cost extreme to the other your options are:

  • litigation (going to court)
  • lawyer to lawyer negotiation(your lawyers negotiate with your input but not your presence)
  • collaborative law (you sign an agreement to negotiate and not to go to court and use lawyers and third parties to help)
  • arbitration (you agree to a private decision made by an arbitrator)
  • mediation-arbitration (you mediate the issues you can and then an arbitrator makes decisions on the outstanding issues – private)
  • mediation (you and the other party(ies) make the decisions in a private setting with the mediator as a guide)
  • kitchen table (you come to decisions and settlements on your own)

The right process for you is the one that is the right fit for your family, for your situation, for the level of control you want and the engagement of the other party(ies).

Start with getting as much information as you can, talk to different service providers, and see if you can agree on a process that is appropriate and feels right to you.

Why Families First Mediation?

We know there is anxiety and fear of the unknown. Starting any of these processes is no different.

While the process and the issues in dispute will be different for each family, some things should always stay the same:

  • You should feel comfortable with the professional you chose; and
  • Share your concerns and ensure they are addressed; and
  • Timelines; including around meetings, should be defined by you; and
  • You should feel safe and respected; and
  • Understand the process to the best of your ability; and
  • Ensure you have the proper supports; and
  • You should always get responses within a reasonable timeframe; and
  • Understand the costs involved.

Ask questions to ensure that you are comfortable with the process you are about to participate in. It may be too late to ask questions after the process is completed.

Why Families First Mediation?

We work with H.E.A.R.T.

We understand families. We know that many of these disputes are not all about the law but fairness, family dynamics, unmet expectations and communication challenges.

Our approach; regardless of the process chosen, acknowledges that as a family you have History, Emotions, a desire for Autonomy in your decisions, and the expectation that you will be Respected and that you are provided with the opportunity to both Talk to share your stories and positions and well as listen to the other sides.

We believe that settlement can occur with any process however resolution is a bigger ask and is often better met in an alternative, creative and more respectful manner.

Together, let’s design a process that works for your family’s needs.

Families First Mediation associates are proud members with designations from Family Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario (FDRIO), Family Mediation Canada (FMC) and ADR Institute of Ontario (ADRIO)

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