Overview of the mediation process
The mediation process has several steps. The steps outlined here may vary slightly in practice, depending on the approach applied.
1 – Pre-mediation
The mediator may contact the parties, individually, to explain the mediation process. This step may take place by telephone.
A mediation agreement, setting out the mediation process and the duties of the mediator, should be drawn up. The mediator may do this at the request of the parties. The agreement must then be signed by the parties before or at the first mediation session.
2 - Mediation
In general, a mediation process* under the direction of a mediator has four main steps.
2.1 Introduction to the mediation process and timeline of events
The parties to the dispute discuss the problem and their own perceptions. They relate the events they have experienced.
2.2 Exploration of interests and needs
The parties to the dispute seek to understand the underlying interests at the source of the problem. They determine the needs that must be met.
2.3 Review of options and negotiation of a solution
The parties to the dispute seek ways to meet their respective needs. They agree on a solution or solutions that would be fair and satisfactory to all parties.
2.4 Conclusion of mediation and settlement
The parties to the dispute undertake to implement the solutions chosen to settle the current problem and prevent any further problems in the future.
* The information on the mediation process presented here is based on the diagram Survol du processus de médiation by Bériault, Marois and Roberge, 2013.
3 - Settlement
The mediator prepares a mediation report or a summary that includes the terms of the settlement, in other words the way or ways in which the parties have agreed to resolve their dispute.
The parties may consider that this document is sufficient. However, it has no legal value if one of the parties fails to comply with the terms of the settlement.
To give the settlement legal force and effect, in other words to make it binding, the parties must apply to the court to have it homologated. The application must include a draft agreement or settlement.
Since this new document is not identical to the mediation report, the services of a lawyer or notary may be needed to draft it.