His Highness Prince Aga Khan Shia Imami Ismaili
Conciliation and Arbitration Board for Canada

FAQs

1. What is mediation?

2. What are the benefits of using Conciliation and Arbitration Board (CAB) mediation services?

3. How much do CAB’s services cost?

4. When can I initiate mediation?

5. Is the mediation confidential?

6. What is the role of the mediator?

7. Does the mediator provide you with legal or financial advice?

8. What are the roles of the parties?

9. What happens if the parties reach an agreement during mediation?

10. What is Independent Legal Advice (ILA) and why is it important?

11. Is Independent Legal Advice a legal requirement?

12. Does each party have to meet with a lawyer?

13. What happens if one of the parties does not abide by the agreement after it is finalized?

14. What if the mediation process is not satisfactory?

15. What happens if the parties cannot reach an agreement during mediation?

16. Can the mediator represent you or be a witness?

17. What services does CAB not provide?

 

1. What is mediation?

Mediation is a collaborative, confidential process where a trained, neutral person – the mediator – helps the parties themselves explore the issues and a reach a settlement that is voluntary and mutually satisfactory to all the parties.

2. What are the benefits of using Conciliation and Arbitration Board (CAB) mediation services?

  • It is strictly confidential, less costly and faster than traditional litigation.
  • The services are provided free of charge.
  • This process is voluntary, complies with Canadian laws and reflects our ethical principles of justice, respect, compassion, generosity and integrity.
  • CAB members come from diverse backgrounds and are aware of the cultural sensitives of the Jamat.
  • It is designed to focus on ‘win-win’ solutions as parties themselves control the outcome and therefore they are more likely to abide by agreements they sign.
  • It allows parties to emerge from the dispute with their dignity and self-respect intact.
  • It creates an opportunity for parties to clear up any misunderstandings and assumptions.
  • It enables parties to plan and deal with the future rather than dwell on the past or assess blame.
  • It improves communication between the parties which can lead to a better future relationship.
  • Can reduce stress which can arise from ongoing conflict situations.
  • CAB is able to refer parties (with their consent and under strict confidentiality conditions) to bodies within our institutional framework such as the Social Welfare Board, the Economic Planning Board, the Educational Board and the Youth and Sports Board, etc.

3. How much do CAB’s services cost?

The services are provided free of charge. The parties themselves may incur additional costs such as those for obtaining legal or financial advice or for preparation of documents or financial statements.

4. When can I initiate mediation?

Any party can initiate mediation by contacting the Regional CAB Chair. The Regional CAB Chair will then contact the other party or parties and if the other party/parties agree to mediate, a mediation session is scheduled.

5. Is the mediation confidential?

Mediations are completely private – unlike court trials, which happen in courtrooms open to the public. Parties coming to CAB have to agree that all discussions during a mediation will be confidential as a prerequisite to proceed and the mediator is also bound by confidentiality.

6. What is the role of the mediator?

The mediator is trained to be impartial and neutral. He or she will facilitate and manage the process to ensure that:

  • Strict confidentiality is maintained throughout the process.
  • There is open communication and the process encourages cooperation and collaboration.
  • Each party is given an equal opportunity to share their story and express their views so that the parties can hear and understand their interests.
  • The parties identify and narrow the issues and areas of interest that matter to them so that they can focus only on the matters that need to be resolved.
  • The parties can develop, explore and consider viable alternatives and options which can often lead to creative solutions that are mutually beneficial.
  • The parties can negotiate their own settlement without pressure, in an objective and non-adversarial environment.
  • The settlement is properly documented through Minutes of Settlement or a Memorandum of Understanding.
  • There is full and complete disclosure of all relevant financial and other information by all parties. The confidentiality of the process helps ensure such disclosure.
  • The parties have obtained all necessary information about their legal rights and obligations.

7. Does the mediator provide legal or financial advice?

No. Even mediators who may be lawyers will not provide legal advice. However, the mediator can direct parties to websites where necessary information can be found, or referral services, or a directory of professionals that can be of help.

8. What are the roles of the parties?

The parties will determine the issues that need to be addressed. Participants will engage in discussion and conversation and have opportunities to thoroughly dissect individual issues. The parties themselves will make any decisions voluntarily. Mediation will only succeed if all the parties come to the process in good faith and want the process to work. There must be a willingness to fully disclose all relevant matters. The process must not be an excuse to investigate or collect information for legal processes.

9. What happens when the parties reach an agreement during mediation?

If the parties are able to resolve their dispute in mediation, the terms of the agreement are written down and the parties are asked to sign a formal agreement based on the settlement. The parties enter into any agreement freely and voluntarily.  Parties are requested to seek Independent Legal Advice (ILA) on the terms agreed upon. Once signed in front of a witness, the agreement then becomes a legal contract and can be upheld in a court of law.

10. What is Independent Legal Advice (ILA) and why is it important?

ILA ensures that parties get advice, outside of the mediation process about:

  • what exactly the agreement means; and
  • how the agreement affects their rights and responsibilities towards one another.

Obtaining independent legal advice strengthens the agreement by preventing one spouse from claiming they did not fully understand the terms of the agreement if the agreement is challenged at a later date.

11. Is Independent Legal Advice (ILA) a legal requirement?

The law regarding the requirement for obtaining ILA prior to finalizing the terms of a settlement agreement varies from province to province in Canada.

12. Does each party have to meet with a lawyer?

Each party is strongly advised to meet with a lawyer and obtain Independent Legal Advice. With the assistance of a lawyer, a party can review and discuss the agreement to gain and understanding of their rights and obligations prior to signing the agreement. Most lawyers will work with you on an hourly basis and only charge for the actual time needed to explain to you the implications of the settlement, to provide you with feedback about your decision and in some instances draft the final agreement.

13. What happens if one of the parties does not abide by the agreement after it is finalized?

The parties can agree to include a provision in the final agreement for mediation of future disputes that may arise from the agreement, whether they relate to implementation issues or modification because of changed circumstances. Alternatively, the parties could go to a court of law to uphold the agreement.

14. What if the mediation process is not satisfactory?

If you are not satisfied with the mediation process, you can contact the Regional CAB Chair and discuss your concerns. You can also choose to withdraw from the process at any time.

15. What happens if the parties cannot reach an agreement during mediation?

If the parties are unable to resolve the matter in mediation, the parties can continue with the traditional litigation process.

16. Can the mediator represent you or be a witness?

No. The mediator must remain neutral at all times and cannot provide advice to any party during or after the mediation process. The process is bound by strict confidentiality and the mediator cannot be asked to provide any information to the courts or others in any subsequent legal proceedings. Information provided at the mediation cannot be used in legal proceedings.

17. What services does CAB not provide?

  • CAB does not provide marriage counseling or therapy sessions (please contact the 24hr Social Services hotline 1-888-722-5555 for more information on these services).
  • CAB does not provide legal advice. Parties must obtain legal advice from their own lawyers.
  • CAB does not deal with criminal matters.
  • CAB cannot offer services if one party behaves in a threatening manner to anyone.
  • CAB does not offer a forum for complaints against other Jamati or AKDN institutions.
  • CAB does not deal with issues related to liability matters with public institutions or government institutions and agencies.

 

Resources

Contact Us

For more information, please contact your Regional Conciliation and Arbitration Board:

Ontario (including Ottawa)

416-751-4001 ext. 607

Quebec and Maritimes

514-738-8866 ext. 300

British Columbia

604-438-4010 ext. 631

Prairies

403-215-6200 ext. 7321

Edmonton

780-461-2000 ext. 7