April 27, 2019



Justice Minister to speak in Ottawa on Divorce Act


Ottawa, ON – Federal Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, the Honourable David Lametti PC MP will speak about Bill C-78, an Act to amend the Divorce Act. A special joint conference of two unique organizations, the Ontario Collaborative Family Law Federation and the Ontario Association for Family Mediation (OAFM), will be held on May 2, 2019, in Ottawa, at the Brookstreet Hotel. 


With a promise of a new, more family-centred approach to separation and divorce, the timing for this joint conference of mediators and collaborative family lawyers is excellent. Dispute-resolution experts in mediation and collaborative family law will hone their craft of helping separating couples to avoid the costs and acrimony of high-conflict divorce.


Bill C-78 is important to families going through separation. This bill brings a new approach to parenting after separation that has been in the planning for over 20 years, by getting rid of outdated words like “custody” and “access”. It requires parents and their lawyers to think about the harm of conflict on children during separation and encourages parents to try reaching their own agreements by using mediation and collaborative family law, rather than court wherever possible. 


Experts agree that exposure to unresolved, high conflict situations increases risk factors in children’s long-term development. Because of the benefits to the children of lower conflict, a special joint committee first recommended in 1998 that divorcing parents be encouraged to use a trained mediator to help them develop their own parenting plan. (For the sake of the children: Report of the Special Joint Committee on Child Custody and Access). 


The cost of divorce can escalate very quickly in court. According to a 2016 survey in Canadian Lawyer magazine, a contested divorce could cost up to $47,389 per person.   


“This joint conference addresses a badly needed change in policy and culture in the family justice system. In most cases, it is less expensive and faster to make a private agreement rather than go to court.” says Christopher Deeble, President of the Ottawa Chapter of the OAFM. 


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Media contact:

Christopher Deeble,

President, Ontario Association for Family Mediation (Ottawa Chapter)

Tel: 613-830-4445


Official Conference Web Site:


Backgrounder on Ontario Association for Family Mediation (OAFM):  


Family mediation is a process where a neutral facilitator meets with a family, with or without the presence of legal counsel, to help identify and then resolve issues relating to parenting, support, and property division at the time of their separation.


The OAFM has been promoting family mediation and supporting families in Ontario since 1982 and their Accredited Family Mediator (AccFM) designation has been the gold standard for family mediators in Ontario.  


Family mediators come from many different professional backgrounds including law, psychology, social work and finance. While each profession brings a unique understanding and approach to mediation, accreditation serves to standardize practice and develop skills and insights that are specific to family mediation.


OAFM’s Accredited Family Mediator designation has become the standard in Ontario, recognized by The Ministry of the Attorney General and in the Family Court system.  The designation shows that a family mediator has proven experience in human services, has completed specific education and training, and upholds OAFM’s Standards of Practice. Accredited Family Mediators are specially trained in the facilitation of negotiation skills, communication, conflict resolution and styles, family dynamics, parenting principles, family law, and the facilitation of discussion.