How Do I Find a Properly
Qualified Mediator or Arbitrator?
step is to check for mediators or arbitrators in your
area. ADR organizations such as the ADR Institute of
Alberta (ADRIA), the Alberta Family Mediation Society (AFMS),
the Mediation &Restorative Justice Centre (MRJC) and
community mediation centres will have rosters of ADR
practitioners, usually identifying where they are
more arbitrators and mediators in larger cities; but
most areas have at least a few. Also, many arbitration
and mediation professionals will travel to rural areas
for a modest increase in fees.
find a few possible alternatives, do not hesitate to
call them and ask about their qualifications and
experience. If they say they are “certified”, ask what
that means, who certified them and what they are
took a 30 or 40 hour training course, they are not
certified… even if they can show you a certificate.
Professional, experienced arbitrators and mediators will
have taken hundreds of hours of training, been examined
in intense role plays, passed an examination, gone
through a practicum, and been mentored by senior
colleges and universities such as the University of
Alberta, the University of Calgary and Mount Royal
College have full ADR programs. Many are trained through
the ADR Institute of Alberta (ADRIA) which also examines
mediation and arbitration students wanting a formal
Designations can only be awarded by the ADR Institute of
Canada through its provincial affiliates. The
designations in Canada are:
Qualified Mediator ( Q.Med
) Qualified Arbitrator ( Q.Arb
Chartered Mediator ( C.Med
) Chartered Arbitrator ( C.Arb
“Qualified” designation is the first level of
certification in Canada. It denotes an acceptable level
of knowledge and proficiency to credibly practice
mediation or arbitration.
“Chartered” designation denotes the most senior and
experienced arbitrators and mediators. In order to be
able to teach, assess or mentor others, one must first
obtain the “Chartered” designation.
of practitioners come from other countries where they
have been already been certified. Equivalencies in
training and experience are considered, and many are
qualified to practice in Canada.
there are still good mediators and arbitrators without
their designations. They may be gaining experience or
doing a practicum or waiting for their equivalency
review. These people usually charge less, and very often
will ask a more senior mediator or arbitrator to
accompany them when doing an arbitration or mediation.
When this happens, there is generally no additional
charge to the clients.
who has only taken on-line training is not considered
sufficiently qualified to practice.
will sometimes say they are qualified to arbitrate or
mediate simply because they are lawyers, and that they
need very little formal ADR training. That is simply not
true. In the case of mediation, it is a collaborative
and non-legal process, whereas our legal system is
confrontational. Some lawyers who have taken the proper
training make outstanding mediators. Some have more
difficulty wearing a neutral hat, when they are so used
to representing one party or another.
arbitrators, however, are usually lawyers. Arbitration
is more similarly to a judicial hearing and the rules of
evidence generally apply. Sometimes in arbitration a
subject matter expert is required, such as in
construction, or labor law, or medicine. That is why
many arbitrations are adjudicated by an “arbitration
panel” usually comprised of three. In such cases, a
lawyer is usually the Chief Arbitrator.
your needs, never hesitate to ask about their
designations, their experience and their expertise. If
you are still having trouble or are not sure what best
suits you, you can always contact us at AAMS. We’re glad