When employers and employees have grievances that fall under legislation for Canadian employment law, either party may decide to launch a litigation suit by filing a claim for damages. Each province establishes its own rules and guidelines for handling such claims. In Toronto, however, such claims are not permitted to go directly to trial before a court and judge. A mandatory step in the litigation process is a mediation session.
A mediator is an independent third party, but not necessarily a lawyer, who meets with both parties and their lawyers in an attempt to reach an agreement. The two parties may agree on the selection of a mediator, or the Mediation Coordinator’s Office may appoint a mediator to the case. The mediator does not rule on the situation, but rather provides assistance that can help the parties find common ground and, ultimately, a mutual resolution.
Why Go Through Mediation First?
Though many feel that their employment grievance is too far advanced or complicated to be resolved through mediation, in actual fact, less than 2% of cases in Canada actually go to trial in a court of law. The overwhelming majority of cases are settled before, during or after mediation.
The mandatory mediation requirement in Toronto exists for a number of reasons that directly benefit the aggrieved parties:
- Mediation reduces the time needed to settle the dispute, thus avoiding the lengthy process and emotional toll of going to trial;
- A shortened litigation process often results in fewer legal costs, thus making it more feasible for parties to legally address their employment grievances;
- Mediation can settle disputes without associated public disclosure of a trial that could negatively impact both employers and employees;
- Mediation places less strain on the court system, thus reducing backlog and allowing more cases to proceed to trial with less delay.
“Ron, I want to thank you for the excellent job that you did as a mediator in our recent case. Your neutral but effective approach assisted with defusing the tension in the litigation and assisted the parties in appraising the case realistically and practically. It is precisely what I want in a mediator – and too seldom experience.”
– Howard Levitt, Levitt LLP
“I wanted to thank you for your efforts in our recent mediation. I was impressed with your professionalism, understanding of the issues and efforts to help the parties move toward a compromise, which we were ultimately successful in reaching. I would not hesitate to recommend you to a colleague and I look forward to working with you in the future. Thank you again for your excellent work.”
– Samil Chagpar, SBMB LAW
“Ron is a very experienced and knowledgeable employment lawyer. He does not shy away from drawing upon his knowledge and experience during the mediation process to encourage and facilitate resolution. In my experience, Ron is always well prepared and very pleasant to deal with. He does not intimidate clients and communicates in a clear and effective manner, free of jargon. I appreciate that Ron has always been willing to travel to our offices to conduct the mediation and, moreover, his fess are, in my experience, reasonable. I have no hesitation in recommending Ron as a mediator for any private employment law dispute.”
– Paul H. Veugelers, SBMB Law