Ontario Rules of Civil Procedure No Longer Presume that Mediations are in Person :

In Davies v Marks Supply ( no Canli listing yet ) Associate Justice Brown, in a case conference to determine whether a mediation would take place in person or on ZOOM, had this to say about the new provincial Guidelines To Determine Mode of Proceeding that came into force on February 1, 2024.

[6] Contrary to the defendants’ submission, the provincial Guidelines To Determine Mode of Proceeding in Civil Matters no longer provide that discoveries and mediation are presumptively in person. The Guidelines were revised effective February 1, 2024 to remove any presumption for out-of-court proceedings.

A.J. Brown then determined that because the Plaintiff resided in New Brunswick both the discoveries and the mediation would take place virtually.

My Comments:

The previous Guidelines made mediations presumptively to be in person and only a Court could order otherwise. This led to the situation where one party could effectively force the other party into an in person mediation because the delay and cost of going to Court to try to overcome the presumption was neither cost effective nor time effective.

Now that we have no such presumption, what happens when the parties cannot agree? It looks like the parties would have to convene a Case Conference before an Associate Justice to determine the matter.

In my opinion this is a waste of money, time and scarce judicial resources.

I have two suggestions :

1. Make virtual mediation the presumption. Over 95% of the mediations that I and other employment law mediators conduct are virtual. This is the overwhelming client preference.


2. Empower the meditator to make the decision. Mediators already largely determine the manner in which a mediation is conducted so why not give them this power. Moreover, by using their mediation skills, I suspect in most cases they can work out a mediated solution to this issue.

If you would  like a copy of this case, email me at barry@barryfisher.ca

If you would like to book a mediation or an arbitration, go to www.barryfisher.ca

For access to the Wrongful Dismissal Database, go to www.wddonline.ca