40-Hour Basic Mediation Training – Co-hosted with the Alberta Family Mediation Society

Evening Online Workshops

4 hours each Tuesday, Thursday evening session: 6pm to 10pm Mountain Standard Time (8pm to midnight Eastern)

March 23, 25, 30, 2021

April 1, 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, 22, 2021


In the last two decades, there has been a growing emphasis on alternative dispute resolution services to complement the court process and to assist families in resolving family law conflict after separation and divorce.  The demand for family mediation is expected to increase with the upcoming changes to the Divorce Act.  Expanding family mediation within family courts has the potential of increasing settlement options for families and helping families move more efficiently through the court process.

Basic Mediation Training is a generic resolution course, totaling 40-hours of training that includes, lectures, discussions, activities, role plays, video demonstrations and readings.  The course will introduce participants to the basic skills, knowledge and competencies required to be an effective mediator.  Topics will include the basics of conflict theory and conflict resolution, negotiation, communication, and basic mediation skills. The purpose of the workshop is to provide an introductory overview of conflict resolution principles, negotiation skills and mediation framework to provide participants with the foundation for effective mediation services.

This workshop will identify a range of conflict resolution approaches, but will focus primarily on interest-based negotiations, techniques to resolve conflict, working with power imbalances and alternative dispute resolution strategies within the context of family law. Participants will also be introduced to several models of mediation that have been developed to engage with families (strategic, trauma-informed, therapeutic, solutions, narrative, and online approaches).

This course will include a minimum of five (5) hours in each of the following categories:

  1. Conflict intervention models and theories
  2. Psychological issues in separation, divorce, family dynamics, and power imbalances
  3. Issues and needs of children in separation and divorce
  4. Mediation process and techniques
  5. A minimum of 30% role play
  6. An overview of Family Law including custody, support, asset evaluation and distribution, equalization of net family properties, and taxation as it relates to separation and divorce.

Learning Goals

By the end of the workshops, participants will have achieved the following objectives:

  • Ability to articulate the basic principles of negotiation and mediation;
  • Increased awareness of conflict from the different perspectives of those who have various levels of power and resources;
  • Increased awareness of theoretical models that can be employed when working with those experiencing conflict;
  • Ability to critically analyze the use of dispute resolution approaches, strategies, and skills – linking theory, research, values, skills, and self-reflection;
  • Identify a range of conflict resolution methods, approaches, strategies, and skills for work with individuals, families, organizations, communities, and social policy within the family law context;
  • Ability to consider negotiation skills in a variety of contexts, including work with diverse and vulnerable populations;
  • Explore ethical dilemmas as they relate to conflict.

Course Format

The format of this online workshop includes presentation of theory, group discussion, recorded scenarios, case application, and a variety of role-play activities. This workshop will be intellectually stimulating and directly relevant to the context of family law and focused on assisting families resolve their court-based disputes.

The workshop is divided into ten modules offered in the evening.  Each module is four hours in duration to provide participants with both the foundational knowledge of conflict resolution and an introduction to the practical application of strategies to work with families within the context of family law.

Evaluation of Participants

There is no evaluation of participants.  At the completion of the modules, participants will receive a certificate of attendance.

Pathways to Co-Parenting is a consultation service that offers parent education and coaching, parenting plan evaluations, legal consultation and program evaluation services.


Dr. Michael Saini is an Associate Professor at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto Canada and holds the endowed Factor-Inwentash Chair in Law and Social Work.  He is the Co-Director of the Combined J.D. and M.S.W. program and with the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto.  Dr. Saini’s scholarship addresses the intersections of law and social work and the advancement of children and families’ wellbeing in systems governed by law. Dr. Saini has generating new knowledge regarding the assessment of coparenting; the complexity of strained parent-child relationships; the impact of interparental conflict; the use of technology to support parent-child relationships; the crossover cases of child protection and child custody disputes; and social-work perspectives on law as socially embedded phenomena. Dr. Saini is a Board Member of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, an Associate Fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers, Lifetime Member of Family Mediation Canada, Associate Member of Ontario Association of Family Mediation and an Editorial Board Member for the Family Court Review and the Journal of Divorce and Remarriage. 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.

Agenda (all evenings are 6pm-10pm Mountain time; 8pm-12pm Eastern)

Module Dates Topic Description
1 Tuesday, March 23, 2021 Theories of Conflict


-Introduction & overview of course outline
Conflict as metaphors
Working definitions of conflictContraindications of conflict
The wheel of conflict
Positions and interests: The iceberg metaphor
2 Thursday, March 25, 2021


Conflict Styles


Building an awareness for conflict

Conflict styles

Basic skills needed to address conflict

3 Tuesday, March 30, 2021


Conflict in Families


– Typologies of conflict within families

– Relationship between attachment and conflict

– Couple conflict

-Impact of conflict on children

4 Thursday, April 1, 2021


Working with Families Experiencing Domestic Violence – DV and Custody Disputes
– General Principles for Risk Assessment Myths
– Proper Assessment
– High Risk Case Counselling
– Promising Practices
5 Tuesday,   April 6, 2021


Diversity & Conflict


Definitions of culture

Cultural Iceberg

Multiplicity of Cultural Identities

Perceptions and Conflict Resolution

6 Thursday, April 8, 2021


Negotiation and Communication Skills -Negotiation –skills and techniques

Engagement in the midrange

Overcoming avoidance

Ending escalation

Effective communication

7 Tuesday,   April 13, 2021 Introduction to Mediation


The intervention continuum
When an outsider decidesMediation: Settings
Mediation: Process and skills
8 Thursday, April 15, 2021


Models of Mediation Part A


Structural Mediation
– Interest Based Mediation-Therapeutic Mediation-Insight Mediation
9 Tuesday,   April 20, 2021


Models of Mediation Part B


–Trauma-Informed Mediation

-Solutions Focused Mediation

-Narrative Mediation

10 Thursday, April 22, 2021 Parenting Plans and Family Law -Overview of parenting plans, support, asset evaluation and distribution, equalization of net family properties, and taxation as it relates to separation and divorce.

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Saini 2021 Basic Mediation Training Outline Reg form fillable