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, which short breaks in the morning and afternoon, and a slightly longer break for lunch. Download the 2021 course syllabus, which provides a 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, the Family Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario (FDRIO), and the Ontario Association for Family Mediation (OAFM).


The 2021 National Family Law Arbitration Course was accredited by the Law Society of British Columbia as providing 40 hours of training in family law arbitration, and the pre-course program on the basics of psychology for family law lawyers is accredited for six hours of parenting coordination training.

The 2021 course was approved by the Family Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario and satisfies the course requirements for those seeking their FDRIO FDRP-Arb certification.

The 2021 pre-course programs

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

15 January 2021: Basics of psychology for family law lawyers

This program provided 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 was intended for family law lawyers and individuals other than mental health professionals.

The faculty for this program were Dr. Rachel Birnbaum and Dr. Lorri Yasenik. Download the syllabus for this program.

16 January 2021: Basics of family law for mental health professionals

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

The faculty for this program were John-Paul Boyd QC, Lawrence Pinsky and Lorne Wolfson. Download the syllabus for this program.

The 2021 course

The faculty for the course were Wayne Barkauskas QC, Dr. Rachel Birnbaum, John-Paul Boyd QC, Tom Dart, Dr. Barbara Fidler, Herschel Fogelman, Aaron Franks, Cheryl Goldhart, Stephen Grant, Arlene Henry QC, Alf Mamo, Danny Melamed, Tracy Morrow, Krysta Ostwald QC, Lawrence Pinsky, Eugene Raponi QC, Rick Shields, Brahm Siegel, Senator Murray Sinclair, Bryan Smith and Lorne Wolfson.

5 February 2021: Introduction to family law arbitration

The first day of the course will cover 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 discuss 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.

6 February 2021: 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.

26 February 2021: Domestic violence, pre-hearing conferences and interim applications

The second pair of instructional dates will start 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 talk about pre-hearing planning conferences and discuss the management of interim applications. Participants will be introduced to the fact pattern behind a mock arbitration.

27 February 2021: Rules of procedure, evidence and the nuts and bolts of 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 discuss options for hearing the views of children before moving into a pre-hearing conference in the mock arbitration. We will also begin reviewing the key issues involved in the effective management of hearings.

19 March 2021: Arbitration Act test and mock arbitration exercises

The third and final pair of dates will begin with a test on participants’ understanding of the arbitration legislation in their legislation, before moving into a mock hearing that will occupy the remainder of the day.

20 March 2021: 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, prepare and critique mock awards, and discuss legal obligations and considerations impacting on the writing and delivery of awards. We will review the issues arising after the delivery of awards and talk about the effective management of arbitration practices.

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