This 40-hour course is provided by videoconference, using software that allows for a high degree of interaction and provides breakout rooms. This course is not taught as a passive webinar. Participants are expected to actively engage in class discussions, individual exercises and group exercises.

Each instructional day runs from 10:30am to 5:30pm eastern standard time, with short breaks in the morning and afternoon, and a slightly longer break for lunch. The schedule for the 2024 course is provided below. Download the 2022 course syllabus to see the day-by-day breakdown of subject matter and learning activities.

Certificates of completion are provided to participants who attend all instructional days and successfully accomplish the course requirements, including demonstrating their understanding of the arbitration legislation of their jurisdiction and writing an arbitration award.

Discounts are available for members of the ADR Institute of Canada (ADRIC), Family Mediation Canada (FMC), the Family Arbitration and Mediation Law Institute (FAMLI), MediateBC rosters, the Family Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario (FDRIO), and the Ontario Association for Family Mediation (OAFM).


The 2022 National Family Law Arbitration Course was approved for continuing professional development credits by the Law Society of British Columbia, the Law Society of Ontario and the Law Society of Saskatchewan, and we expect the 2024 course to be similarly approved. Law society pre-approval or accreditation is not required for members of the law societies of Alberta, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

Law Society of British Columbia

The course is accredited as providing 40 hours of training in family law arbitration. The pre-course program on the basics of psychology for family law lawyers is accredited for 6 hours of parenting coordination training and 1 hour of family violence training.

Law Society of Ontario

The course is accredited as providing 1.25 hours of professionalism education and 0.5 hours of EDI professionalism education. The pre-course program on the basics of psychology for family law lawyers is accredited as providing 0.5 hours of professionalism education. The law society does not pre-approve or accredit general CPD hours.

Law Society of Saskatchewan

The course is accredited as providing 31.5 hours of CPD credits and 5 hours of ethics credits. The pre-course program on the basics of psychology for family law lawyers is accredited for 6 hours of CPD credits.

The course is also approved by the Family Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario as satisfying the educational requirements for their FDRIO FDRP-Arb certification.

The pre-course programs

Two optional pre-course programs are provided for family law lawyers and mental health professionals interested in working as parenting coordinators.

26 January 2024: The basics of psychology for family law lawyers

This program provides a general overview of attachment theory, family systems theory, child developmental psychology, separation and the grieving process, and the short- and long-term impact of parental conflict on the wellbeing of children. It is intended for family law lawyers and individuals other than mental health professionals.

The faculty for this program has included Dr. Rachel Birnbaum of King’s University College at Western, Alyson Jones of Alyson Jones & Associates, and Dr. Lorri Yasenik of Dr. Lorri Yasenik Specialized Services. Download the syllabus for the 2022 program.

27 January 2024: The basics of family law for mental health professionals

This program provides an introduction to the rule of law and the principles of fundamental justice for mental health professionals and individuals other than lawyers. It discusses the primary family law concepts relevant to parenting coordination, including the best-interests factors and tests, developing parenting plans, and legal remedies for the breach of orders and agreements.

The faculty for this program are John-Paul Boyd KC, Lawrence Pinsky KC and Lorne Wolfson. Download the syllabus for the 2022 program.

The course

The faculty for the 2024 course will include Wayne Barkauskas KC, Dr. Rachel Birnbaum, John-Paul Boyd KC, Dr. Barbara Fidler, Herschel Fogelman, Aaron Franks, Cheryl Goldhart, Arlene Henry KC, Alf Mamo, Danny Melamed, Krysta Ostwald KC, Lawrence Pinsky KC, Brahm Siegel, Senator Murray Sinclair and Lorne Wolfson. Download the syllabus for the 2022 course.

9 February 2024: Introduction to family law arbitration

The first day of the course covers out-of-court dispute resolution options, the defining characteristics of arbitration and its advantages over litigation for the resolution of family law cases. We will discuss issues involved in mediation-arbitration and parenting coordination processes, and the different ways arbitration processes can be designed to reflect the complexity, value and importance of the issues in a dispute. We will discuss the arbitrator’s fundamental duties of neutrality, fairness and lack of bias and review Canada’s arbitration legislation in detail.

10 February 2024: Arbitration agreements and the role of the court in arbitration processes

We will address arbitration clauses and arbitration agreements, the negotiation of arbitration agreements and how arbitrators are appointed and removed. We will discuss the role of the court in conducting judicial reviews and appeals of arbitrators’ decisions and the other ways in which the court may be involved in arbitration processes.

23 February 2024: Domestic violence, pre-hearing conferences and interim applications

The second pair of instructional dates starts with a discussion of the impact of family violence and power imbalances in the resolution of family law cases and mechanisms for screening for family violence and power imbalances. We will talk about pre-hearing planning conferences, discuss the management of interim applications and review options for hearing the views of children

24 February 2024: Rules of procedure, evidence and running hearings

We will discuss rules of procedure for family law arbitrations, including the basic rules governing the admission of evidence in arbitrations. We will then discuss options for hearing the views of children before moving into a pre-hearing conference in the mock arbitration. We will also begin to review the key issues involved in the effective management of hearings.

8 March 2024: Parenting coordination, managing remote arbitrations and mock arbitration hearing

The third and final pair of dates will begin with a presentation on current issues in parenting coordination before moving into a discussion on distance arbitration. Participants will then watch a mock arbitration which will form the basis for arbitration awards they will prepare before the course resumes on Day Six.

9 March 2024: Drafting awards, issues arising after the award and managing an arbitration practice

On the last day of the course, we will discuss the drafting of arbitration awards and the legal obligations and considerations impacting the writing and delivery of awards. We review the issues commonly arising after the delivery of awards and talk about the effective management of arbitration practices.

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