1. 2023 Conference

2023 Conference

Children’s Voices!

2023 Virtual Annual General Meeting & Conference
Thursday, November 16, 2023

All times are given in Eastern time. Please plan accordingly.

11:30am 2023 Annual General Meeting

12:25pm Opening of conference online
12:30pm Welcome to Conference

  • Judy M. Beranger, President FMC (bio below)
  • Rhoda Dobler, Vice President FMC, Conference Chair (bio below)
12:45-1:15pm Honourable Bob Rae, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations.  Keynote delivered in French and English.  Subject:  The Rights of the Children
1:15-1:30pm Sarah Kriekle – The Aboriginal community’s perception of family and how their laws may differ in relation to children’s rights/voices. This ties in with the TRC Call to Action #50 which calls for the “development, use and understanding of Indigenous laws.”

Bio: Sarah Kriekle is legal counsel with the Wahkohtowin Law & Governance Lodge (WLGL) at the University of Alberta and maintains a limited child welfare practice representing families and children involved with children’s services, with a focus on public interest and Indigenous child welfare matters. Sarah is an advocate for equity issues and has written or co-written articles and reports on the topics of access to justice, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action, child support in Indigenous families, health information laws and OCAP® principles, and the rights of youth aging out of government care. In 2020-2021, Sarah was co-lead of the award-winning ReconciliAction YEG blog run by students of the University of Alberta Faculty of Law.

1:30-1:45pm Break
1:45-2:15pm Dr. Michael Saini: Creating Space for Children’s Voice: Overview of Family Mediation Canada’s Training Child Protection Mediation

This brief presentation will introduce participants to Family Mediation Canada’s Training for Child Protection Mediation by focusing on the training that specifically addresses the involvement of children in child protection mediation. The purpose is to raise awareness about the importance of safely and effectively including children in the mediation process to promote children’s rights and well-being. Practical strategies from the 40-hour training will be reviewed, including assessing safety and well-being, providing age-appropriate support, ensuring voluntary and neutral participation, protecting confidentiality and obtaining informed consent, providing emotional support, and ensuring professionalism and training of mediators. The presentation will emphasize the importance of regularly reviewing and monitoring the child’s participation in mediation to ensure their best interests are prioritized throughout the process and encourage adopting child-inclusive practices in child protection mediation to promote more effective and child-centered outcomes.

Bio: Dr. Michael Saini is a Professor at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work and cross-appointed with the Faculty of Law (Associate Professor) at the University of Toronto, Canada. Dr. Saini holds the endowed Factor-Inwentash Chair in Law and Social Work and is the Co-Director of the Combined J.D. and M.S.W. program. Dr. Saini is a Board Member of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, an Associate Fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers, a Lifetime Member of Family Mediation Canada, an Associate Member of the Ontario Association of Family Mediation and an Editorial Board Member of the Family Court Review. Dr. Saini has over 200 publications, including books, book chapters, government reports, systematic reviews and peer-reviewed journal articles. In 2019, Dr. Saini was awarded the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts’ Stanley Cohen Distinguished Research Award, sponsored by the Oregon Family Institute.

2:15-2:45pm Gabrielle Lévesque, B. Crim.: Quebec’s Youth Mediation Pilot Project

La présentation a pour but de fournir de l’information sur le contexte dans lequel le projet pilote a été mis sur pied, sur son fonctionnement ainsi que sur ses visées. Vous serez à même de constater que l’enfant et la considération de ses droits et de son intérêt occupent une place centrale dans la création et la mise en place du projet pilote de médiation en protection de la jeunesse.

The purpose of the presentation is to provide information on the context in which the pilot project has been established, on its operation as well as on its aims. You will be able to note that the child and the consideration of his rights and his interest occupy a central place in the creation and implementation of the Youth mediation pilot project.

Bio: Gabrielle Lévesque est conseillère à la Direction des programmes d’adaptabilité et de justice réparatrice au Ministère de la justice du Québec. Détentrice d’un baccalauréat en criminologie et d’expérience en intervention au sein de la Direction de la protection de la jeunesse, elle est chargée de projet pour le Projet pilote de médiation en protection de la jeunesse.
Gabrielle Lévesque is advisor to the Directorate of adaptability and restorative justice Programs at the Ministry of Justice of Quebec. Holding a baccalaureate in criminology and experience in intervention within the Directorate of Youth Protection, she is project manager for the Youth protection mediation pilot project.

Gabrielle Lévesque is advisor to the Directorate of adaptability and restorative justice Programs at the Ministry of Justice of Quebec. Holding a baccalaureate in criminology and experience in intervention within the Directorate of Youth Protection, she is project manager for the Youth protection mediation pilot project.

2:45-3:00pm Break
3:00-3:30pm Tod Augusta Scott: The Safety and Repair approach to addressing gender based violence

This presentation will explain the Safety and Repair approach to addressing gender based violence. This approach involves three phases: Phase 1 focuses on establishing safety, Phase 2 prepares people how to repair harm, and Phase 3 involves supporting people to repair harm with people they have hurt and/ or have hurt them. The approach is guided by the principle of repairing harm without creating more harm. The approach addresses how ideas that stem from trauma and gender expectations can impair people’s ability to repair harm when they are hurt and when they hurt others.

Bio: Tod Augusta Scott is internationally renowned for his expertise in gender-based violence, narrative therapy, and restorative justice. Since 1993, he has held the role of lead therapist and Executive Director at Bridges, a domestic violence counseling agency. He is the architect of the Safety and Repair approach, designed to combat gender-based violence within community and workplace settings. His extensive portfolio includes global presentations, comprehensive publications, and authorship of two highly acclaimed books. His impactful contributions were showcased in the documentary “A Better Man” (NFB, 2017). In recognition of his fieldwork, he has received prestigious awards from the Canadian Social Work Association and the Department of National Defence in Canada.

3:30-4:00pm Elise Lavigne, Child Protection Mediation – What Needs to Happen for a Successful Mediation

A successful child protection mediation requires careful preparation by the various parties involved. These parties include: the parents, their counsel if they are represented, the child welfare worker(s) and their counsel, counsel for the child(ren) if one has been appointed, and the mediator. This presentation will discuss the knowledge and skills needed by the various parties, the planning steps to be taken prior to attending mediation, the follow up steps, and pitfalls that can prevent a successful mediation.

Bio: Elise Lavigne attended law school in 1997 as a second career having first worked in community consultation and impact assessment in the Energy Industry after moving to Alberta in 1977. She obtained her first mediation certification through the Alberta Mediation and Arbitration Society in 1993 when working with communities to address development issues.

Elise has been practising Family Law for 22 years. She has continued her training in mediation including trauma informed mediation and working with high conflict clients and works with a range of mental health practitioners to provide coordinated services to clients. Her practice is focussed on mediation, arbitration, and collaborative family law. Elise is also a Parenting Coordinator and works assisting high conflict parents and parents experiencing communication challenges, implement their parenting plans post separation.

4pm Rhoda Dobler, KC, Final remarks and wrap up

Bio: Rhoda I. Dobler’s practice spans three decades and includes mediation, arbitration and litigation. Her positive attitude, compassion and creativity guide her conflict resolution approach, making her a valued mediator and arbitrator.
Called to the bar in 1993, Rhoda received both her B.A and LL.B. from the University of Calgary and is with the firm WK Family Lawyers in Calgary. Outside of the office Rhoda serves as a director on the Board of Family Mediation Canada. She has previously served on the board of WINK Calgary, a not-for-profit association that empowers women in financial literacy and independence.

Rhoda received her King’s Counsel designation in 2016. Rhoda’s skills in the legal community have been repeatedly recognized by the Best Lawyers in Canada since the initial edition (2006) in Family Law and has expanded to include recognition in the areas of Family Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution. She was named Lawyer of the Year in Family Mediation in 2018 and 2021.

Bio: Judy M. Beranger is an international trainer, bestselling author, guest lecturer and certified FMC Family Comprehensive Advanced Mediator and Certified Advanced Elder Mediator. Judy pioneered training for Elder Mediators and was hired to lead the development of the EM certification program and the Code of Ethics. Judy is Chair of Summits for the Elder Mediation International Network and has led 11 World Summits on Elder Mediation. She is the President of Family Mediation Canada and a Past Chair of the Elder Mediation International Network. Judy has been involved in several research initiatives on Elder Mediation and led a community-based research initiative to inform the practice of Elder Mediation.

To register, either fill out the form below download the registration form, and email it to us at [email protected].

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BC Government Employee Members

British Columbia’s Family Justice Services Division (FJSD) is part of the Ministry of Attorney General and has a long-standing relationship with Family Mediation Canada. In 1997, FJSD partnered with Family Mediation Canada to develop the certification process for family mediators which is now a requirement for all family justice counsellors providing family dispute resolution services . Once family justice counsellors have completed a six-month training program through the Justice Institute of British Columbia (which includes courses and a practicum), they must pass the Family Mediation Canada written exam and skills assessment required to be appointed as a family justice counsellor. The Province maintains certification for over 80 family justice counsellors which requires 21 hours of professional development annually.

The Family Mediation Canada affiliation and accreditation is highly valued and greatly supports public confidence in the province’s family mediators.