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Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is a set of methods and processes to resolve legal disputes outside traditional court proceedings. In Ontario, Canada, ADR is a widely recognized and encouraged approach for resolving conflicts efficiently and cost-effectively. It provides parties with an opportunity to resolve their disputes in a collaborative and less adversarial manner.

Types of Alternative Dispute Resolution

  1. Negotiation: This involves direct discussions between the parties in order to reach an agreement, without any involvement of outside forces (i.e. mediator, arbitrator, judge).

  2. Mediation: The mediator, a neutral third party in the proceedings, will facilitate communications and assist the parties in reaching a voluntary agreement during a mediation. Mediation is non-binding, and the parties have control over the outcome.

  3. Arbitration: Parties present their case to an impartial third party, the arbitrator,  who makes a binding decision. Arbitration can be chosen as an alternative to court litigation, and the process is more flexible and less formal.

  4. Collaborative Law: Each party has their own collaboratively trained lawyer and all parties have mutually agreed to commit to resolving the dispute without court involvement. The lawyers, parties and professional neutrals (financial professional and family professional) work together as a team to find a solution that meets everyone's needs.  A Participation Agreement is executed which binds the clients to the collaborative process.

Benefits of ADR


  1. Cost-effectiveness: ADR processes are less expensive than going to court, as they often require less time and fewer formalities.

  2. Speed and efficiency: ADR can often resolve disputes more quickly than court proceedings, which can be time-consuming and subject to delays.

  3. Confidentiality: ADR processes offer greater privacy and confidentiality than court  hearings.

  4. Control and flexibility: Parties have more control over the outcome and can tailor the process to meet their specific needs.

Are Alternative Dispute Resolution decisions enforceable? 


Yes. In Ontario, mediated settlement agreements which are turned into separation agreements and arbitration awards are enforceable under the law. The Arbitration Act 1991 provides mechanisms for how arbitration agreements are enforced as well as the recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards.

Is an Alternative Dispute Resolution method right for you?


It is important to note that while ADR is widely used and supported in Ontario, it may only be suitable for some types of disputes. In some cases, court litigation may be necessary or preferred. It is advisable that you consult with a legal professional to determine the most appropriate approach for your specific situation.

We are here to help

INB Family Law is here to provide the guidance, support, and expertise you need to protect your rights and achieve fair outcomes. Our team of experienced family lawyers can help you through every step of the process, whether through alternative dispute resolution methods or court representation. If you need legal assistance with your family law matter, do not hesitate to contact us at 905-215-1905 for a consultation.

How can we help?

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