4 Steps to Become a Mediator in Canada

Find out how an intending mediator in Canada might work their way through the ranks to the top of the business.

Mediation practitioners come from different walks of life and professional backgrounds. Lawyers aren’t the only ones who become mediators. Anyone with a penchant for ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution), good communication skills, and keen problem-solving abilities may flourish in this field. If you’re thinking about becoming a mediator in Canada, this article is for you. Stay with us!

In this article

Who is a Mediator?

A mediator is a third party who acts as a neutral third party to help conflicting parties settle a dispute. They employ professional skills and negotiation strategies to help the parties reach an agreement.

A mediator, unlike a judge, just analyzes issues and applicable standards and does not offer advice or suggestions on the grounds of the disagreement. The mediator also does not decide what the parties’ settlement should be.

Role of a mediator

A mediator guides and helps the parties in reaching their own conclusion. They provide unique methods and novel solutions while being objective. A mediator’s role is not to propose a solution for the parties. Instead, the parties reach an agreement on a solution.

The mediator’s role is simply to listen to their conflict, look for a solution that meets both parties’ requirements, and work toward a fair, practical settlement. Outlined below is how mediators carry out their duties;

  • A mediator’s primary job is to facilitate dialogue between both sides.
  • After an appointment, therefore, the mediator needs to set up a meeting on a day that is convenient for both parties.
  • During the first meeting, the mediator asks the parties to sign a form outlining the norms and structure of the proceeding. Then they go on to describe how the mediation processes will take place.
  • Next, they interview witnesses and other involved parties to gather information.
  • They also invite the parties to provide a brief explanation of the facts from their respective points of view.
  • A mediator assists in building a reasonable and realistic settlement acceptable to both sides
  • Finally, they draft non-binding agreements for both parties.

Mediator Rules in Canada

A mediator in Canada must observe the following rules:

  • Code of Conduct: Mediators must observe the Code of Conduct for any professional organization they work for when performing their duties as mediators.
  • Impartiality: A mediator should only mediate in cases where they can stay objective. If the mediator is unable to conduct the process impartially at any stage, or if any of the parties expresses doubt about the mediator’s impartiality in any circumstance, they should step down and be replaced by another mediator.
  • Conflict of Interest: A mediator has the responsibility and obligation to declare any actual or suspected conflict of interest to the parties as soon as they become aware of it, whether before consenting to act or at any point thereafter in the mediation process

Why Should You Become a Mediator in Canada?

Over the last several years, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) has grown in popularity across the country, and mediation is an important element of that process. In certain cases, provinces such as Ontario and Alberta have made mediation mandatory. The following are more reasons to become a mediator in Canada:

A welcome alternative to litigation:

Litigation is stressful and time-consuming, and it does not always result in favourable conclusions for all sides. Mediation, on the other hand, is typically voluntary, less expensive, more private, and yields more satisfactory results. As a result, businesses and organizations are increasingly inclined to engage mediators in order to avoid the costs, time, and negative publicity associated with pursuing disputes through the courts.

Aid Conflict Resolution:

There are few things more agonizing than protracted confrontations in which parties are unable to reach an agreement. Mediators, however, may cajole individuals out of their own ruts. They enable individuals to go from stalemate confrontation to fruitful negotiation and significant solutions. Hence, the parties are free of the conflict, as well as the tension and fury that comes with it.

Variety of Specialisation:

Mediators have numerous work opportunities and specialties. They can work with community organizations, businesses, non-profits, schools and universities, legal service providers, insurance companies, and so on. Additionally, mediators can specialize in adoption, business, civil, environmental, commercial, employment, real estate, and divorce disputes among others.

Versatility of Educational Requirements:

Contrary to the norm in most professions, you do not need a bachelor’s degree in mediation to become a mediator. People with various educational backgrounds, such as law, health care, education, and social service, can apply their preexisting skills and experience to improve their practice as mediators.

Develop Oneself:

Communication is a skill that competent mediators possess. You learn how to understand people, relieve tension, and enable open dialogue as a mediator. They possess several talents, such as critical thinking, objectivity, problem-solving, emotional and mental discipline, which have become increasingly useful in many areas of career and life.

Four (4) Steps to Becoming a Mediator in Canada

If you’re interested in becoming a mediator and you want to understand how the process works in Canada, here is a complete guideline on how to play the career path;

#1. Earn a bachelor’s degree

The first step to becoming a mediator in Canada is getting an undergraduate degree in a related field. Mediation degree programs are available at some colleges. However, a certificate in mediation can be earned alongside a bachelor’s degree in another discipline.

#2. Enrol in courses in mediation theory

Before beginning a career as a mediator in Canada, enrol in courses on mediation theory and conflict resolution. To qualify for ADR Institute Certification in Canada, you must have completed at least 80 hours of mediation training and 100 hours of non-mediation education in subjects such as psychology, sociology, and business administration.

It is also critical to select an ADRIC-approved and acknowledged mediation training. Your application for entry-level ADRIC certification will be expedited if you graduate from an authorized program.

#3. Apply for internships

Learning to properly apply the skills taught in training in real-world circumstances is a critical step toward becoming a mediator in Canada. Hence, internships and volunteering with family centres, student health centres, and other places where mediation may be necessary will help you get to experience as an aspiring mediator.

This can assist you to improve the skills learned during training. To establish competence, certifying organizations such as the ADR Institute of Canada require chartered mediators to complete at least 10 mediations.

#4. Become certified or licensed

Because mediation is not a regulated profession in Canada, there is no legally mandated training or licensing process for mediators. However, Canada has an organization that sets clear guidelines and standards for mediator training and professional practice.

This organization is called the Alternative Dispute Resolution Institute of Canada (ADRIC). In addition, you’ll need to earn a designation from the ADRIC to be recognized as a professional mediator.

Mediation Certification in Canada: Rules and Steps

We’ve previously talked about the ADRIC as the association that accredits training programs and awards designations to qualified professional mediators. The ADRIC, therefore, offers two levels of designation for mediators in Canada:

Entry-level Mediation Certification

The first credential awarded by the ADRIC is called the Qualified Mediator (Q.Med.) designation. The requirements for this entry-level certification are:

  • 40 hours of basic mediation training
  • 40 hours of specialized mediation and related training
  • Completion of at least 2 mediations
  • Pledge to comply with the ADRIC’s Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct
  • Commit to continuing education
  • Provide proof of Errors and Omissions Insurance with at least $1 million aggregate

Advanced Mediation Certification

The Chartered Mediator (C.Med.) credential is the most advanced qualification offered by ADRIC. To be eligible for this certification, candidates must have professional mediation experience. Practice mediations are not accepted.

Therefore, you must complete a certain number of paid mediations and pass a skills evaluation by a panel of examiners. Requirements for this advanced mediation certification include:

  • 80 hours of mediation theory and skills training
  • 100 hours of specialized training and related training
  • Completion of a minimum of 15 paid mediations as the sole mediator
  • Completion of a skills assessment overseen by 3 approved Chartered Mediators
  • Pledge to comply with ADRIC’s Code of Conduct and Code of Ethics
  • Commit to continuing education
  • Provide proof of Errors and Omissions Insurance with a limit of at least $1 million aggregate

ADRIC Accredited Courses for Mediators in Canada

The ADRIC have accredited the following course programs;

  • Common Sense Mediation Academy (Online)
  • Compass Professional Development (Online)
  • ADR Learning Institute, Alberta

Job Outlook

Mediator employment is expected to grow 10% from 2020 to 2030, about as fast as the average for all occupations. This is not surprising since mediation tends to be much quicker and more affordable, mediators are in demand in Canada, especially in provinces like Alberta and Ontario.

Typically, mediators in Canada earn between $42,000 and $107,000 per year. The average salary is around $65,000.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have to be a lawyer to mediate in Canada?

Individuals can practice mediation without any credentials. However, a post-secondary degree/training would come in handy.

How much does a family mediator make in Canada?

A family mediator with 1 to 4 years of experience earns an average salary of CAD 61,762. However, those with 5 to 9 years of experience earn an average compensation of CAD 68,986.

How long does it take to become a mediator?

The time it takes to become a mediator depends on the state requirements and your educational background. Mediators typically need at least a bachelor’s degree, which takes four years to complete.

#Is a mediator a lawyer?

Not necessarily. While some mediators are also lawyers, you don’t have to become a lawyer to be a mediator in Canada.


In Canada, the road to becoming a mediator varies, but often requires completing a bachelor’s degree program and professional mediation training. Learning to be a competent mediator is a continual process. You can locate decent online courses to develop your skills and give yourself an advantage in the employment market. We hope that this article helps you on your path to becoming a successful mediator in Canada.