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Certificate in Family Mediation

Posted By SCS School of Continuing Studies On September 16, 2014 @ 4:55 pm

The choices you help your clients make can change their lives forever 


The Certificate in Family Mediation gives you the skills and experience you need to confidently mediate conflict and assess for family violence, while completing the training requirements for the AccFM designation of the Ontario Association for Family Mediation—the largest accreditor of Ontario family mediators. The AccFM is formally recognized by the Ministry of the Attorney General, opening the door for you to work within the Ontario court system.

This program offers you enhanced mediation skills to work in:

Ontario family court appointed mediation

Family mediation and negotiation

Social work

Health care services

Ontario’s only university-level family mediation program

Graduating from our Certificate in Family Mediation gives you an edge over other mediators in the field, allowing you to add a credible university credential to your resume. You also enjoy the benefits of learning from expert instructors, hand selected for their real-world experience and AccFM certification. Program content is supplemented by their firsthand knowledge in dealing with the types of challenging situations you’re going to face as an accredited family mediator, as well as the opportunity for you to network with likeminded peers in your program. You’ll also participate in dynamic role-playing sessions facilitated by seasoned coaches, allowing you to put your mediation skills to the test and improve your confidence.

Secure your internship with  York supports

The AccFM designation requires you to complete an internship with an accredited family mediator. Our certificate is one of the only programs in the field that sets you up for success in finding a placement by providing you with grades from skills-based assessment and evaluation, so you can provide tangible proof of your abilities to potential internship providers. The program also consists of many role-plays that take you end-to-end through family mediation, affording you many opportunities to develop and fine-tune the skills you need in an internship. We also connect you with support in finding an internship for up to four months after you graduate.


Program Format

As of March 16, 2020, all our Continuing Education programs will be delivered 100% online for the foreseeable future. Please see details in the online delivery [1] section.

The Certificate in Family Mediation is offered in two different formats:

  • Format: Full-time Summer Intensive
  • Program Length: 5 weeks
  • Delivery:  online coursework + live online mediation sessions daily
  • Format: Part-Time Fall Blended
  • Program Length: 5 Months
  • Delivery: online coursework + live, online mediation sessions on weekends

Online Delivery

In Ontario, Canada, gatherings are restricted and no university is offering classes in person for the foreseeable future. The School of Continuing Studies has been successfully delivering many programs online for years, so please know that you will not be compromising on your learning experience. The Certificate in Family Mediation  will begin as scheduled in the upcoming term, with the required live class sessions being offered virtually for the duration of the program, meaning you will not be required to come to campus. 


 Who should take this program?

The Certificate in Family Mediation is for anyone who is currently or prospectively involved in family dispute resolution, and especially those who want to gain formal certification. While many students in this program are lawyers and social workers, others work in healthcare, education, personal support services and trust management.

Taking into account the specific existing expertise of lawyers and social workers, these two groups are exempt from one course each, reducing the course load to four.

 Hear from a graduate

Courses [2]

This Certificate Program consists of five courses, listed below.  Each course combines lecture, interactive teaching models, exercises, and role-plays (where applicable), specifically designed for our Certificate.

Family Mediation (40 hours)

This introductory course exposes students to fundamental theory of conflict and its corresponding nature, causes and cycle. Students will also become acquainted with the history of Alternative Dispute Resolution, the dispute resolution spectrum, and the principle of informed consent. From there, students will engage in more nuanced learning as it relates to the nature of negotiation and related strategies, tactics and skills, as well as appropriate alternatives.

Screening for Family Violence, Abuse and Power Imbalances (21 hours)

Relationship separation is a critical juncture in people’s lives leaving some vulnerable to intimidation, pressure, emotional harm, abuse, neglect, serious injury or death.  Family Mediators must understand domestic violence and power imbalances within the context of family dynamics and family mediation services. Participants shall learn how to adequately screen for domestic violence and power imbalances; learn about the kind of cases appropriate for mediation and those that are not; how to support a client with a referral to other services;  how to safely terminate mediation; and, how to add safety measures to provide a safe environment for mediation.  Participants shall learn about domestic violence, power imbalances and abuse, and have the opportunity to practice what they learn through case study and role playing as a mediator.

 Family Law (21 hours)

This course examines marriage and divorce as it relates to the law-making systems in effect in Canada and Ontario. Students will go in-depth into the about principal issues in family proceedings (i.e. parenting, child support, spousal support, property) for the purposes of informing students on legal implications for mediated settlements for divorcing partners.

 Family Relations (21 hours)

This course explores through a theoretical framework of family systems theory the various considerations of child development, attachment, causes of conflict, and extension of the original family in the context of separation and divorce. Students will also deconstruct the politics of separation, examine historical traditions, and utilize various narrative and therapeutic approaches to facilitate processes of grieving and separation recovering.

 Advanced Family Mediation (20 hours)

This course focuses on the application of mediation skills and knowledge in a variety of contexts and primarily through experiential learning. Students will focus on demonstrating skills related to a variety of advanced topics such as high conflict families, conflict resolution models, advanced communication techniques, step-parenting and multi-party mediation, cultural diversity, mediation with persons with disabilities, and trauma informed practices.


Instructors [3]

Anisa Ali, M.S.W., R.S.W., Acc. FM (OAFM), Acc. CPM (OAFM)

An Accredited Family Mediator, Anisa holds a Masters of Social Work degree and brings over 20 years of experience in the field of conflict resolution, mediation, negotiation and training. Anisa has particular expertise in dispute and conflict resolution, intimate partner violence, family justice, custody assessment, mental health and parent-child relations. Anisa serves as the Family Mediator and Settlement Conference Facilitator for Legal Aid Ontario, Peel and York Regions. Previously, she worked for Blue Hills Child and Family Services; a registered Ministry of the Attorney General Family Mediation Services Provider, and at the Superior Court of Justice in Newmarket as a Family Mediator and Information Referral Coordinator.

Anisa serves as a Board Member with the Association of Family & Conciliation Courts – Ontario (AFCC-O) and served as Chair and long-time Board Member with Peel Family Mediation Services. She co-founded and spearheaded the Peel Family Mediation Annual Domestic Violence Symposium (2011-2017). Anisa has been a guest lecturer at York University in the Faculty of Social Work at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, a course developer and trainer in family mediation, domestic violence and power imbalance at Humber College, and conducts training for articling students and new staff lawyers on court-based family mediation, intimate partner violence and access to justice. She has also provided internship training through Peel Family Mediation Services and Legal Aid Ontario.

Anisa is an active member of the Ontario Association of Family Mediation, Ontario College of Social Workers, Ontario Association of Social Worker and Social Service Workers, Association of Family & Conciliation Courts – Ontario and Academy of Professional Family Mediators.

Mary-Anne Popescu, B.A.Sc., AccFM, AccEM, CPMed

Mary-Anne has served as the Executive Director of the Ontario Association for Family Mediation (OAFM) since 2015. As an OAFM Accredited Family and Elder Mediator, and Child Protection Mediator in private practice, she works to bring peaceful resolutions that have helped hundreds of families adapt to challenges and changes across the life cycle. Mary-Anne is a roster mediator for the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) and the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services. She also serves as an Assistant Trainer in the Elder Mediation program at OAFM. In 2020, in response to the global pandemic, Mary-Anne became a Certified Online Mediator.

Mary-Anne is passionate about promoting public access to justice, and has been a facilitator for the Home Court Advantage Summit, as well as the Legal Innovation Zone’s technology initiative to expand equitable access to alternative and non-adversarial services for families. Mary-Anne is a regular guest on the Mediation Station radio program and presenter at various institutions, including Elder Abuse Prevention Ontario, Canadian Domestic Homicide Prevention Initiative, Osgoode Hall Law School and the International Federation on Ageing. In 2020, Mary-Anne was a contributing author to the book, Living Together, Separating, Divorcing: Surviving During a Pandemic.

In 2014, Mary-Anne received the Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship in recognition of her volunteer contributions to St. Joseph’s Maternal Health Support Program. Mary-Anne supports diversity and equality as an ally always, and as a volunteer for Toronto PFLAG. She served as a Panel Member on the City of Toronto Committee of Adjustment, is the past Chair of the ADR Institute of Ontario’s Family Section and past Board Member of the OAFM from 2009 – 2014.

Neeraj Goel, B.A., LL.B., Acc.FM, Family Mediator / Family Lawyer

In practice since 2000, Neeraj practices in Toronto as a family lawyer and family mediator, helping couples who are cohabiting or separating to come to their own durable legal agreements through collaborative negotiation. Neeraj has mediated a wide variety of cases from the very simple to the very complex in all aspects of family law including property division, spousal/child support, parenting plans, prenuptial agreements and cohabitation agreements.

In his first five years of practice, Neeraj practiced law with Legal Aid Ontario, West Scarborough Community Legal Services, and the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General. In 2005, he made the decision to become a sole practitioner focusing exclusively on collaborative family law and family mediation. In addition to maintaining a busy practice, he has sat on the Board of Collaborative Practice Toronto and has served as a Roster Mediator with Mediate393, which provides government-funded family mediation services. Neeraj has spoken on family dispute resolution in various mediation and professional development programs in Ontario, including Collaborative Practice Toronto, the Ontario Association for Family Mediation and now, with York University’s School of Continuing Education. A graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School, Neeraj has volunteered as a coach with Riverdale Mediation and the Law Society of Ontario. He currently Co-Chair of the Mentor Program for the Family Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario.


Cindy has over 30 years of experience assisting individuals, families and groups struggling with conflict to create lasting and viable resolutions. An Accredited Family Mediator, Cindy brings expertise in a wide range of specializations, providing services in family mediation, child protection mediation, openness in adoption mediation, elder mediation, parent coordination, conflict management coaching, counselling, civil mediation and workplace mediation.

Cindy sits on the Alternative Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario (ADRIO) roster as an Independent Complaints Facilitator for the Local Health Integration Network (LHINS) and serves as Chair of ADRIO’s Family Special Interest Section. Cindy is on the roster of several Ontario court-based family mediation services as a Mediator, Internship Supervisor, Information Referral Coordinator (IRC), and Mandatory Information Program (MIP) Presenter.

Prior to commencing her mediation practice, Cindy was a senior manager with the Ontario Public Service focusing on workplace and labour relations disputes. She also has extensive experience working with individuals and families in the areas of developing a parenting plan, domestic violence and substance abuse. Cindy has designed and implemented various mental health-related programs and taught in other degree and diploma programs relating to the community social justice service sector. Cindy also teaches in York University’s Dispute Resolution Certificate Program and provides coaching for the Osgoode Hall Law School Mediation Clinic and Mediation Intensive Program.

DEBRA RODRIGUES Hons. BA/BSW, RSW, Acc./Cert. Family Mediator (OAFM/FDRIO), CP. Mediator (OAFM), Cert./Acc. Elder Mediator (FMC/OAFM), VOC Specialist & Trainer, CRP

A Registered Social Worker and Accredited Mediator, Debra has more than 34 years’ experience working with families, individuals, couples and groups. She has presented at numerous conferences including the Ontario Courts of Justice, the Ontario Association of Family Mediation, Family Mediation Canada and the Family Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario, in addition to being professionally quoted and featured in magazines, newspapers, radio and television shows.

As a qualified expert in family dynamics, abuse, child development, separation/divorce and parenting, Debra brings specialized expertise on the topics of domestic violence and power imbalances within family dispute resolution. Debra delivers training entitled “We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know: Important Safety Considerations in Mediation” and “Learn How to Meet and Interview Children for FDR: 12 Step Voice of the Child Reports.”

Debra is trained in Parenting Capacity Assessments, Arbitration and Capacity Assessments and she has served as a Parenting Coordinator, Parenting Plan Assessor, and Clinical Investigator with the Office of the Children’s Lawyer. Her experience in child protection extends from front-line work to conducting Clinical Audits of Child Protection agencies, leading permanency planning meetings and acting as a Personnel Trainer and Family Group Conference Coordinator. Debra was President of Distress Line Peel and a Child Welfare Trainer for the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies and IPCA. She is presently the Director of PCCS Mediators & Counsellors, which specializes in training, mediation and counselling services.

Jennifer Suzor, LL.B., AccFM, CPMed, AccEM

Jennifer Suzor is an experienced Family Law lawyer, mediator and trainer based in Windsor, Ontario. Having practiced in all levels of the Court for thirty years, Jennifer now focuses on neutral consultation and non-court dispute resolution, primarily mediation. Jennifer was certified by the Law Society of Upper Canada as a Specialist in Family Law in 2004 and has been accredited in family mediation, child protection mediation and elder mediation by the Ontario Association for Family Mediation (OAFM). Jennifer has served as President of OAFM since 2013.

In 2016, Jennifer received the President’s Award from the Association for Family and Conciliation Courts, Ontario Chapter, in recognition of her volunteer work as Co-Chair of the Walsh Family Negotiation Competition and her vision of creating a series of events in Windsor called “Changing the Culture of Conflict Resolution in Family Breakdown Roundtable Dinner Series” for the Judiciary, Counsel, Psychologists, Social Workers and other family professionals. She is the President of Bridging Family Conflict, the service provider in Windsor for the Ministry of Attorney General subsidized mediation and information services.

Admission Requirements [4]

  • an undergraduate degree; or
  • related college diploma with experience in human services.

Professional Associations [5]

The Certificate in Family Mediation is aligned to each of the five training standards of the Ontario Association for Family Mediation (OAFM), Ontario’s largest accrediting body of family mediators. There are education, training and work-experience requirements that must be satisfied for certification as an AccFM (Accredited Family Mediator), and these include additional costs for membership in the organization and completion of an internship.

For all details on how to secure AccFM accreditation after program completion, please consult the OAFM page How to Become a Family Mediator [6].

Partner Accreditor

Ontario Association for Family Mediation

www.oafm.on.ca [7]

Other Associations

ADR Institute of Canada
www.adrcanada.ca  [8]

ADR Institute of Ontario
www.adr-ontario.ca [9]

Association of Family and Conciliation Courts – Ontario Chapter
www.afccontario.ca [10]

Academy of Professional Family Mediators
www.professionalfamilymediators.org [11]

Association of Family and Conciliation Courts
www.afccnet.org [12]

Family Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario
www.fdrio.ca [13]

Family Mediation Canada
www.fmc.ca [14]

Program Policies [15]


If you would like more information or have a question about the Certificate in Family Mediation, please Contact us [20]

Article printed from School of Continuing Studies: http://continue.yorku.ca

URL to article: http://continue.yorku.ca/certificates/family-mediation/

URLs in this post:

[1] online delivery: #online-delivery

[2] Courses: #squelch-taas-accordion-shortcode-content-0

[3] Instructors: #squelch-taas-accordion-shortcode-content-1

[4] Admission Requirements: #squelch-taas-accordion-shortcode-content-2

[5] Professional Associations: #squelch-taas-accordion-shortcode-content-3

[6] How to Become a Family Mediator: https://www.oafm.on.ca/family-mediation/becoming-an-accredited-family-mediator/

[7] www.oafm.on.ca: http://www.oafm.on.ca

[8] www.adrcanada.ca : http://www.adrcanada.ca/

[9] www.adr-ontario.ca: http://adr-ontario.ca/

[10] www.afccontario.ca: http://www.afccontario.ca

[11] www.professionalfamilymediators.org: http://www.professionalfamilymediators.org

[12] www.afccnet.org: http://www.afccnet.org

[13] www.fdrio.ca: http://www.fdrio.ca

[14] www.fmc.ca: http://www.fmc.ca

[15] Program Policies: #squelch-taas-accordion-shortcode-content-4

[16] Certificate in Family Mediation – Program Policies: http://continue.yorku.ca/certificates/family-mediation/policies/

[17] Certificate in Dispute Resolution: http://continue.yorku.ca/certificates/dispute-resolution/certificate/

[18] Certificate in Human Resources Management (Online): http://continue.yorku.ca/certificates/human-resources-management/part-time-online-hrm-certificate/

[19] Post-degree Certificate in Human Resources Management: http://continue.yorku.ca/human-resources-management/overview/

[20] Contact us: http://continue.yorku.ca/certificates/post-graduate-certificate-in-accounting-part-time/?tab=1

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