Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the questions we get asked a lot. To help you make an informed decision about mediation, some Roster mediator answers to these common questions have also been included. 



The total price of a mediation process can vary depending on:
the mediator’s hourly rate
the complexity of your conflict
and the number of people involved (i.e. lawyers, appraisers, etc.)

On average in BC, an entire mediation process might cost around $2,000. Usually, that’s split 50/50 between participants.

To some people this might seem like a lot, but compared to the cost of NOT resolving your conflict or resolving it in court, it's relatively small. 

A badly handled conflict can take a toll on your health, relationships, the wellbeing of people around you (i.e. children or employees), and on finances. 

A conflict handled in court will cost at least $12,000, if not much more. 

Hiring a mediator is often the most affordable option. 

The length of time and number of sessions a mediation requires can vary based on a large number of factors: some mediations are quite simple while others are more complex.

Your mediation process can vary based on the type of issue you are mediating. For example mediating a separation or divorce agreement will include a pre-meeting to screen for violence and power imbalances. Civil mediations do not require pre-meetings. Your mediator will clarifying the process for your mediation before beginning mediation.

Your mediation may be a single session with a mediator or multiple sessions. For mediations completed in 2016:

  • Civil: 70% completed in 1 session
  • Family: 78% completed in 3 or fewer sessions
  • Workplace: 80% completed in 2 or fewer sessions

The average duration for a civil or family mediation process in 2016 was eight weeks. The average duration of a workplace mediation process in 2016 was six weeks. This reflects the amount of time from the first conversation with a mediator until reaching an agreement.

Mediation is usually a voluntary process. This means that all the people involved in the conflict need to agree to attend mediation. It also means that if during the mediation process a person involved in the conflict does not feel like mediation is the right fit, they have the option to leave the mediation after speaking to the mediator about it.

Mediation is most effective when all the parties are willing to participate.

If a claim has been filed with the Supreme Court you can file a Notice to Mediate. This requires the people involved in conflict to attend mediation. If the other party does not attend mediation, you can file an Allegation of Default or Declaration of Default with the court. Notice to Mediate regulations can be found on the government website.

In most cases mediation is voluntary. Mediation tends to work best when both parties are willing to participate. As this video suggests:

  • have a conversation or write an email acknowledging you have a dispute that could use some help;
  • let them know you would like to try mediation;
  • tell them mediation is quick, we will control the outcomes, it is cost effective, and it is private;
  • remind them that you are commited to working with them to find a resolution

If you have started a case with the Supreme Court you can serve the other person with a Notice to Mediate. The Notice to Mediate requires the people involved in the conflict to attend mediation. If the other party does not attend mediation, you can file an Allegation of Default or Declaration of Default with the court.

People go to mediation when they have a dispute that needs resolving, and other strategies they have tried haven’t worked. You may not wish to talk to the other person but the other options for dealing with your conflict, (such as ignoring it, talking with the other person(s) directly, changing jobs, hiring a lawyer to fully represent your interests, going to court) are even less appealing.

Mediation is less adversarial than many other approaches to resolving your conflict, and can preserve or improve the relationship between the parties. This doesn’t mean that you have to be on friendly terms, but there are numerous advantages to you in maintaining a civil, respectful relationship even when you’re in a dispute.

The benefits of preventing damage to the relationship are fairly obvious when you have a conflict with someone you may want or need to have an ongoing relationship with: wills and estate issues, parent/teen mediation, child protection mediation, disputes between neighbours or strata issues, conflict in the workplace, and separation or divorce when there are children involved.

Even if you have do not need to have an ongoing relationship with the other party how you resolve your dispute can be impactful. Relationships with suppliers or clients have the possibility of being salvaged once the dispute is resolved. Impacts to personal or professional reputation, or the reputation of a business or organization, from handling a dispute well or poorly are a common consideration. In this regard, mediation can be especially desirable.

You will want to look for a mediator who is qualified, who is in a convenient location or will work remotely, and whose fees will fit in your budget.

You may wish to ask for referrals from friends, family members, co-workers, or your lawyer. You may also wish to review the mediator’s website, profile or testimonials to see if their background, approach, and personality would be a good fit for you and your conflict.

Some qualifications you might want to consider include:

  • What kind of training they have taken, and if it is from a reputable organization.
  • What kind of experience they have.
  • If they carry appropriate professional insurance.
  • Whether they belong to any professional organizations who have assessed their training, experience, and require them to follow a code of conduct.

Applicants to Mediate BC’s civil and family rosters must meet our requirements for training, experience, have appropriate insurance, and follow our professional standards to be admitted to the roster.

If you are mediating a family law issue the mediator must be qualified under the Family Law Act. All Mediate BC Family Roster mediators are qualified.

There are options available, such as shuttle and remote mediation, which do not require you to be in the same room.

Mediation can also improve the dynamic between the parties so that joint mediation becomes possible at some point in the dispute.

If you are entering into family mediation your mediator is required by law to screen for power imbalances, domestic violence, and abuse, and to ensure the safety of the participants has been considered.

The mediator will arrange a pre-mediation discussion with you separate from the other party to identify the issues and help set up a successful mediation. You may wish to get an independent legal opinion, collect any relevant documents and spend some time reflecting on the issues you are about to mediate. What is important to you and why, what would a fair deal look like to you?

The core people attending mediation are the people in conflict and the mediator. If the people involved have lawyers, sometimes they attend as well. In some circumstances, other people impacted by the conflict, or support people for those in the conflict may also attend such as grandparents, counsellors, accountants, etc.

While mediation is highly effective it doesn’t always resolve every issue. You can still go to arbitration or court for any remaining issues. What was discussed during mediation is confidential and cannot be used as evidence in court.

Even if you are unable to resolve all your issues mediation typically makes arbitration or court faster and less expensive by narrowing the focus and number of issues that need to be resolved.

Mediation may not be the right solution for everyone. However mediation is highly effective: in 2016 it resolved issues in over 90% of family, workplace and civil disputes. Having a neutral third party can change the tone of the conversation to be more respectful and forward focused. Mediators are trained to create a productive conversation and manage strong emotions and high conflict behavior. All family mediators on our roster have training in screening for family violence and power imbalances.

The mediation process can be modified to help provide safety. Part of the mediator’s role is to maintain a safe and respectful space to have a constructive dialogue.

Mediators on our Family Roster all have training to screen for family violence. Arrangements can be made to ensure you feel physically and emotionally safe to negotiate. Online or shuttle mediation may be good options if you do not feel comfortable in the same room as the other party. For more information, visit the FAQ: "I don’t think I can have a conversation with the other person. Is mediation a waste of time?"

Mediators are available across the province. If you do not live close to one, or you and the other person live in different areas, then distance or online mediation is an excellent option to resolve your conflict that is not location dependent.

Agreements or Memorandums of Understanding made in mediation are done by mutual consent of the people involved. The mediator helps the participants make resolutions that are fair and durable.

Mediation participants may want to seek out independent legal advice throughout the mediation process. A lawyer can help you make sure that you understand your rights and responsibilities and provide some support and advice in coming to a fair resolution.

If you still have some questions, send us an email or give us a call at 604-684-1300 (toll-free 1-877-656-1300).

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